Dela Rosa to refile his ROTC bill, says open to draft bill for VP-elect Duterte's version

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2022 11:05 PM

Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chairman Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presides over the fourth hybrid public inquiry on the rising number of missing persons allegedly involved in “sabong” (cockfighting) and “e-sabong” (online cockfighting) on Monday, April 18, 2022. Voltaire F. Domingo, Senate PRIB/File
Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chairman Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presides over the fourth hybrid public inquiry on the rising number of missing persons allegedly involved in “sabong” (cockfighting) and “e-sabong” (online cockfighting) on Monday, April 18, 2022. Voltaire F. Domingo, Senate PRIB/File

MANILA - Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela said he will be refiling his mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) bill in the 19th Congress once it opens on July 25, 2022.

In an interview, Dela Rosa said he will file the same bill he filed during the 18th Congress, but he also expressed willingness to file another bill based on what Vice President-elect Sara Duterte wants.

"Yes, the same bill that I filed during the 18th Congress, ipa-file ko ngayon doon sa 19th Congress. At titingnan ko kung mayroong proposal ‘yung Office ng Vice President na gagawin nila, isa-submit sa akin, then I am willing to author such a bill na gusto nila, ‘yung version na gusto ni Vice President Inday Sara (Duterte)," he said.

Under Dela Rosa's proposal, the mandatory ROTC program will be introduced in Grades 11 and 12 in both public and private schools. An advanced ROTC will also be available in the first two years of higher education for those who want to become officers.

He added that his ROTC bill is a mild version compared to the mandatory two-year military service that Vice President-elect Duterte proposed.

"Mas mild itong aking version, kumpara mo doon sa version na, I have heard, if I’m correct, ‘yung version ni Vice President Inday Sara, di ko siya pangungunahan… ‘yung aking narinig ay ‘yung talagang mandatory military training to all the youth like the Korea, Singapore versions (na) kailangan na drafting talaga, two years drafting doon sa military, which ako, nakita ko mas mahirap palusutin ‘yan. It will face a stiff opposition," Dela Rosa said. 

In the run-up to the 2022 national elections, Duterte said she wanted the Philippines to have mandatory military training and service similar to those of South Korea and Israel.

The ROTC or the erstwhile mandatory military training in college was made optional in 2002 following the death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student. He was allegedly slain by course officers after exposing ROTC fund mismanagement.

ROTC is now one of the 3 components of the National Service Training Program, along with Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS).

Currently, military service in the Philippines is voluntary. However, Article 2, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides for the possibility of conscription. 

"The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service," it says. 

The Commission on Higher Education earlier welcomed the proposal to make ROTC a mandatory educational requirement, but added that disaster response training should be part of the program.

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