The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) law is still in the making, but the Department of National Defense (DND) and the military, along with the Department of Education (DepEd) are already keen on implementing the proposed military training program.
In a statement on Saturday, Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. expressed his appreciation to legislators, led by Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who are pushing the passage of the ROTC bill.
“We commit to take an active part in the legislative process through our full cooperation and inputs, whenever and wherever they are needed,” Galvez said.
Galvez added that the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), along with the Commission on Higher Education and other supporting agencies, have already proposed a concept on how the ROTC program would be enforced.
“We can implement it using a phased approach wherein we will have pilot and simulation runs in selected universities, while preparing our personnel, logistical and budgetary requirements for its full implementation,” Galvez said.
Implementation of the ROTC will consist of preparation; curriculum development; selection and training of implementers; personnel, logistics and budget planning; selection of pilot volunteer schools based on results of evaluation of their facilities and capacities; pilot programs and simulation in volunteer schools; expansion to regions; progressive implementation; evaluation and further fine-tuning; and full implementation in all schools.
The projected timeline from the enactment of the law to initial implementation will be two to three years while full implementation can be done in five years.
The DND and the AFP eye the expertise of the Regional Community Defense Groups of the Philippine Army, the Air Reserve Centers of the Philippine Air Force, and the Naval Reserve Centers of the Philippine Navy in managing the ROTC program.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. favored the revival of the mandatory ROTC to help bolster the country’s capability in dealing with disasters.
The President said while Filipinos are always ready to help in times of disasters, those who respond must be properly trained and equipped with knowledge and skills in disaster response.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian assured the military and DND of budgetary and logistical support while Dela Rosa and Senator Francis Tolentino said reservists can be tapped as ROTC instructors.
In December last year, the House of Representatives approved a measure that would establish a two-year mandatory National Citizens Service Training program and an optional four-year ROTC program.