The humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities of the Reserve Officers Training Corps were highlighted during the 2nd National ROTC Summit on Saturday.
There is more to ROTC than military drills and formations under the scorching sun, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief, said, citing ROTC units can act as force multipliers during calamities and provide initial HADR efforts.
The summit, held at the AFP parade grounds in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City (Metro Manila), is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to re-institutionalize the ROTC program.
Some 600 ROTC cadets and cadettes participated in Saturday’s activities.
“The key initiative of the summit is to re-institutionalize the ROTC Program in response to President Duterte’s pronouncement and the military’s own desire to revive one of its sources of qualified, disciplined, and nation-loving leaders of the country,” Arevalo said.
This year’s theme is “Paghubog sa Kabataang Pilipino Tungo sa Makatao, Makabayan at Makabansang Mamamayan,” he added.
ROTC training was introduced to the Philippines in 1912, when the Philippine Constabulary commenced with military instruction at the University of the Philippines.
It has been the main source of reservists in the Armed Forces. The number of ROTC enrollees, however, significantly declined in 2002-2003, following the implementation of Republic Act No. 9163 on the establishment the National Service Training Program, which made the ROTC optional as one of its components.
“We aim to showcase the advantages of the ROTC program,” AFP chief Lt. General Eduardo Año said. “The program will develop the youth’s leadership skills, discipline and love for the country.”
“The nation needs prepared citizen soldiers to defend and serve the country. We have to show the youth that the ROTC program is the best means to train them as they rise up to the occasion to serve and defend our country when needed,” he added.