MANILA — Robin Padilla is the latest celebrity who expressed his intention to join the Philippine Army.
The action star made the announcement on his Instagram page on Monday, the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent a bill requiring the ROTC program for senior high school students.
“Mga kabataang Pilipino, sasamahan ko kayo mula umpisa hanggang sa huli. Papasok ako sa Philippine Army Reserve para sa inyo upang masundan ko ang bawat ninyong hakbang tungo sa kabayanihan,” he said.
Padilla also expressed confidence that Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not forsake the youth.
“Hindi tayo iiwan ng AFP at ni Mayor PRRD mga mahal na kabataan kaya't tayo'y tumindig at bumangon ng nakataas ang dibdib at nakataas ang mga noo para sa Dios! Para sa Inangbayan! Para sa kapwa Pilipino,” he said.
Duterte, in a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, called for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 2232 or the Senior High School Reserve Officers Training Corps Act.
The President said the immediate passage of the bill is necessary to "restore basic military and leadership training for the youth in order to invigorate their sense of nationalism and patriotism necessary in defending the State and to further promote their vital role in nation-building."
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversial death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was allegedly slain by course officers after exposing fund mismanagement.
President Duterte, however, has pushed for the revival of the ROTC program, saying it would help prepare young Filipinos to defend the Philippines during wartime.