MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte urged lawmakers to pass a law that will make training under the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps mandatory among senior high school students.
If Congress cannot do it, he will resort to issuing an executive order on the matter instead, barring prohibitions, the President said.
“I … encourage Congress to enact a law that will require mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12,” Duterte said in a speech at Camp General Mariano Riego de Dios in Tanza, Cavite on the evening of Nov. 22.
The President wanted the legislative branch to reinstate via a law the ROTC as a required course “so we can instill patriotism, love of country among our youth.”
Grades 11 and 12 were the additional two years in high school – the senior high school level – that were made part of the basic education curriculum under the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.
“Ewan ko kung madala ito ng EO (executive order),” Duterte said of making the ROTC mandatory among senior high school students.
“’Pag madala ng EO siguro, executive order, baka mapilitan ako if they (lawmakers) do not act on it,” he said. “I said that this is a constitutional requirement that you must prepare to defend your country.”
Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2002 signed Republic Act 9163, or the National Service Training Program Act, which made ROTC an optional course among college students.
Under RA 9163, the ROTC was just one of three components of the NSTP aside from the Literacy Training Service and the Civic Welfare Training Service.
“Bringing back the military program would be for the benefit of young Filipinos,” Duterte stressed.
“You have a duty to perform to your country when you grow up. It is your duty to defend the identity and the preservation of the Republic,” he added.
Duterte cited Israel, where civilians were required to undergo military training.
“Ang mga anak natin, kung hindi mo gawin, walang alam kung magka-upakan. Hindi nga marunong magkasa ng baril. What will happen?” he said./PN