THERE’S now a snowballing move in Congress to revive the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program as part of government efforts to instill patriotism among the youth.
It will be recalled that the program was stopped years ago because of hazing, which drew the ire of many sectors of society, including students, parents, educators and lawmakers.
Leading the move in the Upper House of Congress is Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, who filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1417, otherwise known as the “Citizen Service Act of 2017.”
The bill, which was referred to three Senate committees, provides that full-time basic citizen service training for at least six weeks will be voluntary for all Filipino male and female students.
Under the proposed legislation, the training is mandatory for all students enrolled in baccalaureate degree courses and technical-vocational (tech-voc) courses.
SB No. 1417 was referred to the committee on education, youth and finance way back in May last year. It was also referred to the committees on youth and finance, according to Gordon.
Although he sees nothing wrong in the revival of the ROTC program, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara cautioned concerned government authorities against hazing and other possible abuses.
Angara added: “Wala akong nakikitang masama… kung ang layunin nito ay paigtingin ang military reserve force ng bansa at bigyang kasanayan ang mga mag-aaral na magamit nila hindi lamang sa panahon ng digmaan kundi panahon din ng sakuna.”
In the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of Batangas called for the swift passage into law of his House Bill (HB) No. 5113.
Abu said that his proposed measure is in line with President Duterte’s desire to revive the mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools throughout the country.
Like Abu, we believe that the revival of the ROTC program will awaken the fire in the younger generation of Filipinos to serve and protect peace and democracy in this developing nation.
It’s a move in the right direction.