THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will push for the revival of the mandatory military training program for college students despite strong opposition from militant students and youth groups.
CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the commission will create a technical working group to review the existing law of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and recommend possible options for strengthening the program to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The way the President responded on our presentation during our Cabinet meeting on Monday was we’re going to move forward on it [mandatory ROTC],” Licuanan told reporters.
“Whatever the President asks us to do, at certain point, we feel that it’s very logical. Also, we have no qualms about saying let the CHED work on the technical panel of the Criminology and Maritime [courses]to see whether we can put it as a requirement for those courses,” she added.
“People will have different motivations but the reservist force is also a valid concern certainly,” Licuanan said.
The CHED chief said the University of the Philippines (UP) Vanguard is also aggressive in pushing the reimposition of the ROTC program.
“But we will do the study first. We were a little bit more cautious in that regard. But I can say inevitably it’s going to move forward. The President is very clear,” Licuanan said.
The commanding general of the Philippine Army (PA), Lt. General Eduardo Año, has also welcomed proposals to revive and again make mandatory the Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for college students.
“We welcome that development because it is the duty of every citizen to defend our country in times of war or in emergency,” Año told reporters on Thursday.
He explained that a law should be passed to make the ROTC a mandatory course in college.
“[A college student] has a choice like the National Training Service Program, ROTC, and the third is social services, so there’s a choice,” the Army chief said.
He added that there are some universities and colleges that are not even offering an ROTC program.
“That is why some freshmen who are willing to enroll in an ROTC program do not know that they have a choice,” Año said.
He stressed that ROTC helps develop character and instill patriotism to citizens.
“In times of need, I believe all Filipinos will really volunteer to serve our country in times of war or in times of need, but the question here is [whether]they [are]prepared. It will make the country better and more prepared for any eventuality. At the same time, it will also help the government’s program to fight corruption and contribute to peace and order,” Año noted.