Citizen service training

November 26, 2018

Israel, Singapore, and South Korea.

What do these countries have in common?

All have continuing military training and combat readiness courses for all their respective eligible or qualified citizens.

And this constant readiness of both reserve and standing defense forces have made the three nations secure against external aggression or threat thereof.

The mere knowledge that they all have in place such defensive constant readiness posture poses a tremendous psychological deterrence to all potential external aggressors.

Considering the clockwork regularity of foreign intrusion into Philippine maritime territories, it is time to follow the lead of the three countries in beefing up our own military strength and defensive capabilities.

And we can begin with reservists in campuses.

Wanting to foster patriotism and nationalism among the youth, Senator Richard J. Gordon has filed a bill proposing to require all college students and those of technical vocational courses to undergo basic citizen service training.

Gordon's Senate Bill No. 1417, or the Citizen Service Act of 2017, which had been referred to the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture as primary committee and the Committees on Youth and Finance as secondary committees in May last year, practically called for the revival of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

"The Constitution recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building and seeks to promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It also seeks to inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs," he said.

Likewise noting that the country faces a buffet of disasters, both natural and man-made, Gordon stressed the importance of having an army of reserved officers who could be called upon and mobilized to assist in matters of external and territorial defense, internal security and peace and order, and disaster risk reduction and management.

SBN 1417 proposes to require basic citizen service training, establish the citizen service corps, and create the citizen service commission to create a pool of trained members of the Corps who can render personal military or civil service in times of war, lawlessness, and calamities and disasters.

The bill provides that full time basic citizen service training (Basic Training) for at least six weeks will be encouraged of all Filipino citizens and mandatory for all Filipino students, male and female, enrolled in baccalaureate degree courses or technical vocational courses.