THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday welcomed the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will strengthen the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) as service components of the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address, stressed the need to make ROTC mandatory again among college students apparently in a move to strengthen the country’s military capability in light of China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea.
“That’s a very positive development,” CHED executive director Julito Vitriolo told The Manila Times.
“The other components should also be enhanced,” he added.
Vitriolo said the Commission en banc and its management committee will discuss “how to approach the issue.”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian earlier called on the President to endorse a pending bill in Congress that seeks to revive ROTC.
The revival of the ROTC, Gatchalian said, will help drive the point that although the Philippines is a small nation in economic and military terms, it will never back down from its fight for sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.
The neophyte senator from Valenzuela City is the author of House Bill No. 2338, which seeks to make ROTC part of the curriculum of all college degree courses as well as technical or vocational courses, and a pre-requisite for graduation.
Under the measure, male students will be required to undergo military training while female students will have courses on basic rescue operations and health services.
Gatchalian has said that the number of reserved officers dwindled since Congress abolished the mandatory basic ROTC in 2002.