July 25, 2022 was a read-letter, marking the 1st State of the Nation Address of the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr., held at the Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City.
One of PBBM’s priority legislative measures is the restoration of the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the National Service Training Program, which will serve as mandatory courses for senior high school students.
During the SONA, PBBM said, “This seeks to reinstitute the ROTC program as the mandatory component of senior high school programs, particularly for the Grade 11 and 12 students, in all public and private tertiary level institutions. The aim is to motivate, train, organize, and mobilize students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations.”
Back then, ROTC commenced in 1912, the first ROTC unit in the country established on July 3, 1922, known as the University of the Philippines Reserve Officers Training Corps.
The National Defense Act of 1935 or the Commonwealth Act 1, is an executive order signed by former President Manuel L Quezon, obliging all students in colleges and universities to undergo ROTC. It was reinforced in 1967 through Executive No 59 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos, mandating at least 250 students to undergo the same.
The full implementation of the said program was halted when one of the controversial ROTC students from the University of Santo Tomas named, Mark Welson Chua who was found dead floating in Pasig River on March 18, 2001, after exposing the anomalies inside the training. This is article published in the UST’s student Journal, the Varsitarian.
ROTC became optional to the students when the Republic Act 9163, otherwise known as the “National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, was promulgated in 2002.
Two decades passed, and President “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. called for its revival, instilling patriotism and nationalism to the, youth to bring future great leaders to this country not only to help them with national defense preparedness but will also benefit them in molding their confidence and character building.
Despite hesitations and negative feedbacks, the ROTC program is not only for defense preparedness but the best foundation in addressing cases of catastrophes, and emergencies in saving lives.
Natural calamities, such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes, landslides, etc., that hit most of our homes always leave scars and bring trauma to many families who once became victims.
Disaster preparedness played a significant role in surviving and reducing the impacts and fears of these calamities.
All these are covered under the ROTC program, also referred to as emergency preparedness, as it is also a beneficial training in helping anyone who is injured and needs first aid.
In response to insurgency, where there were proofs that students/the youth were the most affected, becoming involved in encounters with the police or in military operations, this program will definitely be a deterrent or may assist unsuspecting individuals to fall prey to the Communist Terrorist Group’s deception or propaganda.
Some may oppose the program but some may instinctively agree and approve the reinstatement of ROTC, which is to inculcate the youth with the discipline necessary to instill patriotism and nationalism for a great nation.
PNP supports the re-establishment of this program. It builds the character of our youngsters inhibiting discipline, pump priming progress and development.