President Rodrigo R. Duterte is keen to have mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps for Grades 11 and 12 as soon as possible, a spokesperson of the Department of National Defense said Wednesday.
“We can recall that reviving mandatory ROTC was one of PRRD’s thrusts during his first SONA (State of the Nation Address) and he made it a priority of his administration. The intention of the President is to put mandatory ROTC back at the soonest possible time,” Arsenio Andolong said.
In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III dated June 3, Duterte urged the Senate to certify the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 2232, which institutionalizes ROTC in senior high school.
“Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 2232,” Duterte said in his letter to Sotto.
The President said the measure is expected to “restore basic military and leadership trainings for the youth in order to invigorate their sense of nationalism and patriotism necessary in defending the State and to further promote their vital role in nation-building.”
On May 20, the House of Representatives voted 167-4-0 to approve on third and final reading its version of the ROTC measure, House Bill 8961.
Under House Bill 8961, ROTC training would apply to “all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions” and shall be a requirement for graduation.
The following students may, however, be exempted: those who are physically or psychologically unfit; those who have undergone or are undergoing similar military training; those who are chosen by their school to serve as varsity players in sports competition; and those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons as approved by the DND, upon recommendation by an educational institution where the student is enrolled.
The proposed measure also strictly prohibits the use of ROTC training for “political” objective and for teaching and instilling a particular political ideology on students.
House Bill 8961 also bans hazing and other forms of physical or mental abuse.