DND, AFP hail passage of mandatory ROTC bill for senior high

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday lauded lawmakers for approving on third and final reading House Bill 8961, which makes the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for senior high school students.

“The DND welcomes the approval of House Bill 8961 at the House of Representatives on the third and final reading today, 20 May 2019. The reinstatement of mandatory ROTC in Grades 11 and 12 will help instill love of country, good citizenship, respect for human rights, and adherence to the rule of law,” he said in a message to reporters.

The House of Representatives voted 167-4-0 to approve House Bill 8961 on third and final reading.

“We thank our legislators for making the youth their priority. Now more than ever, we need the strength of an empowered Filipino youth with leadership, sense of duty and service, discipline, and leadership to sustain our nation’s growth and momentum,” Lorenzana stressed.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said they strongly welcome this development.

“The AFP is a consistent advocate of a military training program that shall form part of the curriculum because that will help nurture nationalism and patriotism to the youth in schools,” he added.

Also, ROTC enrollment among Grade 11 and 12 students envisions to instill discipline and sense of purpose; respect for the laws and the authorities; and obedience to rules and regulations.

“Today’s young generation needs to be exposed to the rudiments of basic soldiery no matter brief to help develop and hone their leadership potentials,” Arevalo emphasized.

House Bill 8961 seeks to amend for the purpose Republic Act 7077 or the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act.

Under the proposed measure, ROTC training would apply to “all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions.”

The bill also states that ROTC training shall be a requirement for graduation.

As provided for in the bill, students who are physically or psychologically unfit; those who have undergone or are undergoing similar military training; those who are chosen by their school to serve as the school’s varsity players in sports competition are exempted and others those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons, as approved by the Department of National Defense upon recommendation by an educational institution where the concerned student is enrolled.

The proposed measure also strictly prohibits the use of ROTC training for “political” objective and for teaching and instilling a particular political ideology on students.

House Bill 8961 also specifically bans hazing and other forms of physical or mental abuse. PNA