ROTC bill gets more senators’ support

A SENATE panel has resumed hearings on proposals seeking to make Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory, with several senators expressing support for the initiative.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presided over the continuation of the hybrid hearing of the Higher Education, Technical, and Vocational Education Sub-committee on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

At the outset, Sen. Dela Rosa said the committee intends to focus on various areas of the proposals including the coverage, curriculum, registration and incentives. “As the Chair of this Sub-committee, I am again looking forward to everyone’s positions, comments, and suggestions on the bills to be considered, so that this sub-committee may create a consolidated bill that will make this nation great as we invest in our youth through the reinstitution of the ROTC Program,” says Dela Rosa.

In turn, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian thanked Dela Rosa for accepting his proposal to make the ROTC mandatory for the first two years of schooling. “That is the whole essence. To train our students with military discipline, with military training..embedded in that military training are basic survival skills as well as basic disaster preparedness skills as well as other skills,” Gatchalian said.

Once the proposals are passed into law, Gatchalian said the military will be assigned to impart discipline and training to Filipino students.

At the same time, Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito also backed the Dela Rosa initiative. He credited his experiences as a young cadet in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program that developed him to the kind of person that he is today.

During the public hearing, Ejercito reiterated his full support to reinstate the ROTC program in tertiary schools in the Philippines to instill patriotism, discipline and respect for authorities to the Filipino youth.

“I am a proud ROTC graduate. I did not apply for exemption even when it was available. I went through the rigorous training. Instead of hanging out on those Fridays and Saturdays, I endured the heat of the sun and learned much from the ROTC. I’m proud to say that it has helped hone me to the person I am today,” Sen. Ejercito said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Image credits: Roy Domingo