“There are other ways to love and serve our country besides fighting wars,” Senator Imee R. Marcos said Thursday, responding to President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) urging lawmakers to revive the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for students in grades 11 and 12.
Marcos filed Senate Bill 413 to push for a “Citizen Service Program” in grade school to college, stressing that “civic involvement and not just mandatory military training can enhance discipline and patriotism among the youth.”
The Citizen Service Program “still accommodates President Duterte’s call for military training for the youth but allows college students the choice of training instead in community service, disaster preparedness, and environmental protection to develop a sense of ‘bayanihan’, which is embodied in Filipino culture and history,” Marcos clarified.
Calling ROTC “explicitly military,” Marcos said that making military training an option for college-level students instead of a requirement for those in grade 11 and 12 respects United Nations Resolution 1261 and other declarations on the rights of a child and children in armed conflict.
The Marcos bill also ensures free health insurance and medical services to students who opt for ROTC training, while officers will earn stipends.
“This has been my position even during the time my father was president,” Marcos explained. “The YCAP (Youth Civic Action Program) and YDT (Youth Development Training) of which students in the 70’s are familiar was borne out of that father-and-daughter argument.” SENATE.GOV.PH