MANILA—The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chief is proposing to include disaster response training if the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) becomes mandatory again.
Presumptive vice-president Sara Duterte-Carpio proposed during the election campaign to bring back ROTC to help instill patriotism among students.
”The training of students is necessary and ang position ko lang diyan is that it should not just be the military training but [also] to develop a corps of individuals who can assist the government during disasters,” said CHED chairman Prospero De Vera.
De Vera pointed out that whenever there is a disaster, the country relies on the armed forces, which strains the resources of the government.
"Mas maganda kung meron tayong corps of students, pool of volunteers who could help in disaster management and that should be the content of the ROTC,” he said.
But he said they would have to wait and see how ROTC will be brought back.
”We will have to wait on what is the congressional action. If the bill is filed to do it in higher (education), then pag-aaralan natin. Kung nasa senior high, eh di (Department of Education) dapat ang sumagot,” De Vera said.
While the defense department supports Duterte-Carpio's proposal for mandatory military service for all Filipinos after turning 18 years old, it has admitted there are "huge" challenges in making it a reality.
Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said that while it will provide a "steady" pool of reservists and inculcate patriotism among Filipinos, funding and resources could be difficult.