By Martin Sadongdong
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana praised all the Filipinos who paid the ultimate price just to defend the country’s sovereignty from foreign invaders in time for the nationwide observance of the 2019 National Heroes’ Day on Monday.
“Let this day remind us all that love of country is the foundation upon which our country was built. The act of defiance against foreign domination by our forefathers despite overwhelming odds planted the seed of Filipino nationhood that evolved to become what we are now,” Lorenzana said in a statement Sunday.
“Today, we continue to defend and protect what they won for us by addressing any and all threats to our safety and security. Our brave soldiers valiantly put their lives in the line of fire twenty-four hours a day so our people can live in peace,” he added.
The defense chief also enjoined Filipinos, with emphasis on the youth, to heed the call to serve the country by participating in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
“To perpetuate the culture of patriotism and heroism, it is our responsibility to teach the youths love of country and service to our people,” he said.
Administration-allied lawmakers in the Senate are pushing for the revival of the mandatory ROTC program for Grades 11 and 12, but it was met with resistance from the opposition.
The ROTC program was made optional in 2002 after a university student was allegedly killed by his senior officers following his supposed expose on the corruption within the school’s military training system.
But Lorenzana believes that the mandatory ROTC program is much needed now more than ever with the threats emanating from different sectors of the society.
“I believe that ROTC can teach our youths leadership, discipline, respect for authority and service to country,” he stressed.
“The highest tribute we can give our heroes is to perpetuate their legacy by ensuring that their good deeds are not forgotten but instead perpetuated and emulated,” he concluded.