Senate bill addresses abuse, corrupt ROTC practices

MANILA — The controversies involving abuse and corrupt practices that have marred the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in the past will be addressed in a Senate bill that seeks to reintroduce the defunct program in universities and colleges.

Under Senate Bill No. 1322, Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III seeks to institute a Citizen Service Training Course (CSTC), establishing a Citizen Service Corps (CSC) and creating a Citizen Service Mobilization Commission (CSMC).

The proposed measure is designed “to establish a comprehensive framework for the training and mobilization of the youth in order to instill a sense of patriotism and develop their love for country.”

The CSTC mandates a Basic Citizen Training Course for all tertiary-level students enrolled in baccalaureate degree courses or technical vocational courses in all public and private colleges, universities and similar learning institutions.

Pimentel assured that his measure will include the institution of safeguards to prevent abuse and corrupt practices.

The CSMC will audit the utilization of fees collected for the CSTC and investigate cases of corruption, graft, hazing, sexual harassment, and other abuses in the program.

His measure would also retain external and territorial defense training as a foundational component, akin to envisioned goal on the creation of the ROTC under Republic Act 7077, as amended.

Moreover, the course would be expanded to include trainings in internal security, law and order and disaster risk reduction and management similar to the NSTP under RA 9163.

He filed the measure to support the plan of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to reintroduce ROTC noting it has become indispensable for the government to mobilize the youth in the service of the country due to growing calamities and security threats that have confronted the people. Azer Parrocha/