The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday said it is seeking to recruit two million more reservists annually once the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) becomes mandatory again.
“Every year, if ROTC becomes mandatory, we expect an additional two million students from all of the universities,” said Army Maj. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservists and Retiree Affairs of the AFP.
Nacnac said the ROTC recruits will be classified as standby reservists, which is mobilized only in times of national emergency or war.
Standby reservists are different from the “ready reservists” who can be called at any time to add up to the regular forces of the AFP.
According to Philippine Naval Reserve Command head Maj. Gen. Joseph Ferrous Cuison, there are more volunteers who are willing to join the reserve force not only in the Philippine Navy but also in the Philippine Air Force, Marines and Army.
The AFP reserve forces is composed of over 71,000 “ready reservists,” more than 15,000 affiliated units from other organizations and institutions, and 1.1 million standby reservists.
“Many volunteers sign up, without us telling them the benefits of being a reservist, just for the sake maybe of patriotism why they volunteer to join,” Cuison said. Vince Lopez
He said even members of the maritime industry in the West Philippine Sea were mobilized to monitor and report on the situation in the area.
“We also have what we call the Philippine Navy affiliated reserve units (PNARU). These are private companies that volunteer to be part of the reserve force. Those companies are from the maritime industry and these are all also fishermen who have fishing vessels,” Cuison said.
“Right now, we cannot confront head-on the maritime militia of China, so what we do right now is just monitor. They report to us on what is happening there so those environmental degradation [reports] actually came from our fisherfolks,” he added.