DND ready to impose mandatory ROTC in senior high schools

MANILA — An official of the Department of National Defense (DND) expressed on Wednesday the readiness of the agency to implement the mandatory Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in Grades 11 and 12 nationwide once the bill is signed into law.

During the subcommittee hearing of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture on the revival of mandatory ROTC, DND Undersecretary Cesar Yano said the department is “essentially ready” to operationalize the organization, training, and administration of the program in Grades 11 to 12.

Yano noted that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines Major Services to continuously undertake the necessary preparation and initiatives, such as constant engagement with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, including the updating of relevant data, and preparing the training staff.

“This is to ensure the AFP’s readiness to implement the program as soon as the bill is signed into law,” Yano said.

Yano said the DND chief has also instructed that all reserve commands of the AFP would be promoted to be two-star generals.

He said the DND backed the proposal to require mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12 rather than in college to “capture a bigger clientele”, citing data that there are only 2 out of 10 high school students who go to college.

“We want to get a bigger portion so we want to bring it to Grades 11 and 12. Because if we are going to retain the practice of doing it in college, we will be missing a bigger portion of our youth,” Yano said.

Yano said the mandatory ROTC bill is not “military-centric” but focused on values formation.

He said the measure has three major aspects in the program of instruction:

-enhancing students’ consciousness “in the ethics of service, patriotism and nationalism, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop personal discipline and leadership, and to encourage creative thinking for scientific and technological development”;

-basic military training to “motivate, train, organize, and utilize for national defense preparedness or civil-military operations”;

-and civic training for the “development of and improvement of health, education, ecology and environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and management, human and civil rights awareness, and law enforcement. Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA – northboundasia.com