DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday backed President Rodrigo’s proposal to arm graduates and reservists of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) if terrorism in the Philippines would worsen as he eyes the creation of a regional unit.
“That is very possible. Other countries do it like Switzerland [and]Israel. They have a small standing Armed Forces backed by a huge Reserve Force that continually train with the active force,” Lorenzana told reporters in a text message.
Duterte made the proposal during a speech in Davao City on Monday, saying he will also want to arm civilians if the terror threat persists.
He said the Philippines was looking at Israel and Switzerland, which have a regional reserve unit consisting of retired military and ROTC graduates.
“Their cadres—[military]officers and EP (enlisted personnel)—will be active military,” Lorenzana said.
“They will have their regional headquarters with armories where they will keep their individual firearms. They can use these firearms during training,” he added, noting that the firearms can also be used by the reserve force during their training.
The Defense chief also said that the reservists from ROTC would have “official orders” coming from the military leadership for limited active duty.
“[This is] like we did with the Lanao del Norte reserve Battalion during the Marawi siege,” he said. DEMPSEY REYES