PHL wants reservists capable of quick activation

The country plans to have reservist units that can be activated in a moment’s notice if needed, the spokesperson of the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.

“It is this state of readiness that we would like to achieve through the revival of mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) along with the instilling of discipline, patriotism and love of country in our current youth and the other generations to come,” Undersecretary Arsenio Andolong said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when asked about the possible role of ROTC graduates in combat and disaster relief missions.

Since ROTC graduates are part and parcel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Reserve Force, along with the Ready and Standby Reserves, Andolong said the former can be directed to report to their respective reserve units, which may be tasked to do any or all of the following when a contingency arises:

1. Serve as a base for expansion of the Regular Force in the event of war, invasion or rebellion;
2. Assist the government in relief and rescue operations in the event of calamities or disasters;
3. Assist the government in socioeconomic development and environmental concerns; and
4. Assist in the operation and maintenance of essential government and private utilities (e.g. power, telecommunications, water)

“When analysts profile and examine the military strength of adversary nations, they pay special attention to the quality and quantity of their reserve forces. Israel and Singapore, for instance, maintain a relatively small regular force to maintain the armed forces but they have a large and very capable number of reservists who can be activated in a moment’s notice,” the DND spokesperson said.

House of Representatives Bill No. 8961 seeks to amend for the purpose Republic Act No. 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, the following students may be exempted: those 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 competitions; and those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons, as approved by the DND 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