MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte supports mandatory military training for male and female college students to instill discipline and patriotism among young Filipinos, and keep them away from illegal drugs, a Palace official said on Tuesday, August 2.
Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo told reporters in an interview at the Palace press area that Duterte threw his support for the proposed revival of the mandatory Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program when it was presented to him during a Cabinet meeting on Monday night.
Panelo said this was the “consensus” among Cabinet officials, who agreed that the mandatory training should include women as well.
He said Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Patricia Licuanan made the presentation to the Cabinet on the ROTC on Monday.
Panelo said the main argument for the revival of mandatory military training in colleges is that by making ROTC voluntary, “discipline and love for country is not instilled” among young Filipinos.
He added that another reason cited during the Cabinet meeting was that with the removal of the ROTC as a requirement to graduate from college, the youth have become more vulnerable to illegal drug use as they have less discipline, and no love for country.
Panelo said he will study the proposal and suggest to the President amendments to Republic Act 9163 or the National Service Training Program Act of 2001, which made the ROTC optional and voluntary in 2002.
The mandatory ROTC was abolished after an investigation showed that a University of Santo Tomas student was murdered after he exposed alleged corruption in the ROTC.
During the campaign, Duterte broached his plan to revive the mandatory ROTC to augment government forces in the face of Chinese aggression in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
If properly implemented, the ROTC can instill “discipline, nationalism, and the patriotic duty” in young men, Duterte had said in April or two months before an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands, ruled in favor of the Philippines in its West Philippine Sea dispute with China. – Rappler.com