By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago is pushing for the passage of a bill seeking to make the Reserved Officers’ Training Corp. (ROTC) program mandatory for senior high school students.
She said the ROTC program would give life to the avowed State policy as expressed in Section 13, Article II of the Constitution that “the State shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civil affairs.”
“Without the ROTC course becoming a mandatory requirement for students in Grades 11 and 12, the declared State principle enunciated in Section 4, Article II of the Constitution that “the government may call upon the people to defend the State and in the fulfilment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service”, would be put to naught and rendered meaningless,” Violago said.
“Restoring the mandatory military training for senior high school students in public and private schools nationwide would instill discipline among the youth, develop leadership and establish a standby force for mobilisation during national emergencies, calamities and other instances where they could be called up and mobilise to assist in matters of external and territorial defense,” she stressed.
She said a mandatory ROTC program will provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the support of well-trained reservist and potential commissioned officers.
House Bill 8651 provides that the conduct of military training under the ROTC shall apply to all male students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions. Female students shall undergo civic training under the ROTC on basic rescue operations and the delivery of health services.
Under the bill, students shall be required to complete the ROTC for an academic period of two years.
The ROTC shall form part of the curriculum of all senior high schools, and shall be a pre-requisite for graduation.
HB 8651 mandates the Secretary of Education, in coordination with the Department of National Defense (DND) to issue the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the objectives of the proposed Act.