MANILAPresident Rodrigo Duterte has urged Congress to pass a bill reinstating the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high school students to instill patriotism and love of country.
I likewise encourage Congress to enact a law that will require mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12 so we can instill patriotism, love of country among our youth, Duterte said in his speech during Thursday night's 35th Founding Anniversary of Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) in Tanza, Cavite.
Duterte said he was also considering issuing an executive order to reinstate the mandatory ROTC.
Pag madala ng EO siguro, Executive Order, baka mapilitan ako (If an EO will work, I might be forced) if they do not act on it. I said that this is a constitutional requirement that you must prepare to defend your country, he said.
The mandatory ROTC program for college students started in 1912 but was made optional and voluntary in 2002 after some cadets died from hazing, including University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua, who exposed corruption in the organization.
Alam mo, one single hazing incident, namatay. Itong Congress, nirepeal kaagad 'yun mandatory military training.(One single hazing incident, this Congress immediately repealed the mandatory military training), Duterte said.
The Chief Executive clarified that his intention to reinstate mandatory ROTC was not to punish the youth but to make them responsible and patriotic citizens of the country.
Ngayon kayo, pagkatapos ninyo, sino? Wala na. So lulutang na 'yung bayan natin kaya kailangan ibalik ang ROTC. Hindi dahil gusto kong pahirapan ang mga bata, anak natin, kung hindi para sa kanila 'yan (After you, who are next? No more. So we need to revive ROTC not because I want to punish our children but it's for their own good), the President explained.
You have a duty to perform to your country when you grow up. It is our duty to defend the identity and the preservation of the Republic, he added.
In the same event, Duterte urged ARESCOM officials and personnel to never waver in their commitment to provide crucial support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) whenever and wherever it is needed.
Together, let us build and defend the foundations of a stronger, safer and truly progressive Philippines where our children can thrive and become productive members of our society, he said.
Duterte also took the opportunity to appeal to Congress to expedite the passage of Reservist Employment Rights Act that is currently pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The proposed bill aims to strengthen the employment rights of the citizen armed forces, or the reserve force of the AFP.
It also recognizes their role in the mission areas of the AFP and in national security.
Duterte has recognized the ARESCOM's capabilities, which have been put to test in previous disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes and other manmade disasters like Marawi siege.
This has not only tested the ability and readiness of our reserve forces, but also contributed greatly to the liberation and the eventual reconstruction of the city, he said.
There is still a lot to be done in order for us to achieve lasting peace in our communities. But with your unwavering commitment to duty, I am confident that we can make our nation stronger and more resilient despite the challenges that come our way, he added.
The CommanderinChief said his administration is doing its best to modernize the AFP and boost the skills of and equip Filipino soldiers. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency