LIEUTENANT General Eduardo Año, the Philippine Army commander, on Friday called for an invigorated Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, saying it would make the government more prepared in times of war.
Año made the statement as the Army welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to strengthen the ROTC as a component of the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
“At the same time it (ROTC program) will contribute to [solve]the country’s peace and order problem,” he said.
It is the duty of every citizen to defend the country in times of war or emergency thus, it is important that all citizens of the country are well trained or at least trained by the military, said the Army commander.
“It is stipulated in the National Defense Act that we can mobilize our citizens to defend the country,” Año explained.
“I believe that all Filipinos will really volunteer to serve our country in times of war or in times of need but the question is, are they prepared?” he asked.
Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address last month, cited the need to strengthen the ROTC to instill “love of country” and “good citizenship.”
In a press briefing on Friday, Commission on Higher Education Chairwoman Patricia Licuanan said a technical working group would review the NSTP law to recommend options for making the ROTC mandatory.
The NSTP Law made ROTC optional in 2002 following the death of a University of Santo Tomas cadet who exposed corruption in the military training program.
ROTC was made one of three components of the NSTP. The two others are the Literacy Training Service and the Civic Welfare Training Service.
“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.
Also on Friday, the “Duterte Youth” group called on Congress to fast-track the passage of a “new and better ROTC law.”
“We also urge Congress to include the mandatory Citizens Army Training or Preparatory Military Training in high schools and mandatory Scouting (leadership and survival lessons) in elementary schools,” it said.