DepEd to play 'expanded role' if mandatory ROTC revived: Briones

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 02:40 PM

University of the Philippines students under the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) perform a military drill on April 30, 2017 at the Diliman campus in Quezon City. The Duterte administration is pushing for a return of the ROTC in Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools. Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday it would play an "expanded role" in the implementation of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program if it will be revived for Senior High School students.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones assured students and parents that the education department will be fully involved in the ROTC program if it is implemented anew.

"Major, major ang role ng DepEd. Hindi tayo mag-turnover lang ng estudyante for ROTC training. Hindi ganun, kasali ang DepEd from the making of guidelines, mga rules, discipline. Andiyan ang DepEd, hindi lamang ang school," Briones told reporters during a Palace press briefing.

(The DepEd has a major role. We will not just turnover students for ROTC training. It's not like that. The DepEd is involved from the making of guidelines, rules, discipline. The DepEd is there, not just the school.)

"Expanded ang role ng DepEd in the implementation of the program itself. Hindi lamang isang departamento at nakikialam tayo sa curriculum," she said.

(The DepEd has an expanded role in the implementation of the program itself. It's not just one department and we are involved in the designing of the curriculum.

The education chief added that her department is coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense (DND) on the design of the new ROTC curriculum.

"I have sat through some of the curiculum, the subjects na pinag-aaralan ng mga bata na ma-assure natin na ma-instill yung history, nationalism, protection of the country so on. Pakialamero this time si DepEd (DepEd is meddling this time.)," Briones said.

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 Rodrigo Duterte, however, has pushed for the revival of the ROTC program, saying it would help prepare young Filipinos defend the Philippines during wartime.

"As a matter of principle, I am for the mandatory ROTC," Briones said.

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring the ROTC program for Grades 11 and 12 students. The Senate, however, has yet to pass a counterpart measure.

Education Undersecretary Alain Pascual said they have prepared measures to avoid possible abuse of power under the program.

Among the initiatives the DepEd have proposed are an instructor's academy for the training of personnel who will teach ROTC courses, and the creation of grievances committees to handle complaints.

"DepEd has proposed an instructor's academy where all those who will be teaching ROTC will undergo a capacity training, building [program]," he said.

The grievances committees, meanwhile, will be composed of members from the DepEd and the DND.