MANILA The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said the return of a mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) will further nurture patriotism and nationalism among the Filipino youth.
This, as it welcomes the passage of a bill at the House of Representative seeking the program's compulsory inclusion in grade 11 and 12.
"The AFP welcomes this development that would pave the way in making ROTC mandatory for Grades 11 and 12. And we thank the House of Representatives for that. Hopefully, the Senate follows suit," AFP Spokesperson, Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, said in a statement.
He said ROTC envisions to instill discipline and sense of purpose among youth and respect for the laws and the authorities.
Should the proposed measure push through, Arevalo said AFP will assign training officers and enlisted personnel with no criminal, civil, or administrative case "so that they will provide good role models to the students".
He added that such program will ensure that students would not be influenced by the "teachings of local communists and their minions who are wolves in sheep's clothing".
Arevalo took a swipe at communist groups, saying "they enter school premises or are already inside school grounds in search for fertile minds".
"Idealist young men and women whom they can plant the seeds of discontent and hatred and later on exploited and manipulated to lead the New People's Army to fill the dearth of their cadres�to the detriment and suffering of parents who bear all the sacrifices and hardships in sending their children to school in the hope of a bright future," he added.
On groups opposing the ROTC program, Arevalo urged the public to reject their "noise".
"Parents and students, therefore, should not listen to the noise that Partylist groups like Kabataan, Gabriella, et al. that Jose Maria Sison acknowledged being CPP-NPA allies. Such links were confirmed by surrenderers who were former NPA members and Cadres," he said.
"What will we expect from this bloc but oppose the ROTC Program because they stand to lose their pool of potential cadre recruits?"
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency