Bato pushes for two-year mandatory ROTC among high school students

Former Police Chief and Neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is pushing for the reinstatement of a two-year mandatory Basic Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in private and public schools nationwide.

Dela Rosa said the military training would instill discipline, moral virtues and patriotism among the Grades 11 and 12 students. He said the training would also promote the spirit of love of country among the youth.

According to Dela Rosa, the reservists who completed the military training under the ROTC programs would not only be called upon in the event of war, invasion or rebellion but would also be mandated to assist in relief and rescue operations during disasters or calamities.

Under Senate Bill No. 227, otherwise known as an Act Mandating the Institutionalization, Development, Training, Organization and Administration of Basic Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in Grades 11 and 12 in Public and Private Educational Institutions, students who fail to undergo the mandatory Basic ROTC shall not be qualified for graduation.

In addition, the non-taking of ROTC shall be grounds for all males between the ages of 18 and 25, who are not reservists, to take the Compulsory Military Training under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Reservist Act of 1991.

Any educational institution that fails to institute and implement the Basic ROTC program face disciplinary and administrative sanctions to be determined by the Department of Education (DepEd).

“The object is to produce a group of well-trained and prepared reservists for military and civil service,” Dela Rosa said.

He said other countries require their male citizens to serve in the military for two years when they reach the age of 18.

Dela Rosa said students who completed the Basic ROTC program shall be eligible for lateral entry and enlistment in the AFP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

He said students undergoing Basic ROTC and those enrolled in advance ROTC program shall be provided with free hospitalization in any government hospital in case of an accident or injury during training. Mandatory insurance for students undergoing ROTC shall be provided by the school where the students are enrolled.

The proposed measure also provides for the establishment of an ROTC Grievance Board to be composed by a representative of the Department of National Defense (DND), a district school supervisor and a legal officer from the DepEd.

Dela Rosa said enrollment in ROTC programs drastically declined since the implementation of Republic Act No. 9163, otherwise known as the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, which made ROTC voluntary.

He cited data from the DND which showed that around 800,000 students enrolled annually in the military training programs when ROTC was mandatory. The number dropped to 14 percent after the passage of RA 9163.

“The number of reservists that can fulfill the Citizen Armed Force mission reduced as well. As of July 2018, there are only 398,988 total AFP reserve force,” Dela Rosa said. SENATE.GOV.PH