The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday called on Filipinos to rally behind the reinstatement of mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students, as the country observes the 158th birth anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
“In the spirit of Dr. (Jose) Rizal’s birthday, I call on every Filipino to rally behind the reinstatement of the mandatory ROTC program in our school system to instill in our youth the values of patriotism, sense of duty and service, discipline and leadership. It will better prepare them to take on challenges that are bigger than themselves, just as Rizal did,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.
Aside from this, Lorenzana said the entire DND joins the nation in commemorating the hero’s 158th birth anniversary.
“As a nation, we should celebrate the birth of our national hero who dazzled the world with his wisdom and love for learning, brought great pride to the Malay race and uplifted the dignity of the Filipino. May his example of love for God, country and humanity inspire us, especially our youth, to courageously protect our country and our identity, serve our fellow Filipinos and sacrifice for the greater good,” the DND chief concluded.
On May 20, the House of Representatives voted 167-4-0 to approve on third and final reading their version of the ROTC Bill, the House Bill 8961.
Under House Bill 8961, ROTC training would apply to “all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions” and shall be a requirement for graduation.
The following students may, however, 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 varsity players in sports competition; and those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons as approved by the DND, upon recommendation by an educational institution where the 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 bans hazing and other forms of physical or mental abuse. PNA