MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday called on the youth to emulate Filipino heroes and serve the country.
In his National Heroes' Day message, Lorenzana called on Filipinos to continue defending and protecting what our heroes fought for.
"The act of defiance against foreign domination by our forefathers despite overwhelming odds planted the seed of Filipino nationhood that evolved to become what we are now," he said.
"Today, we continue to defend and protect what they won for us by addressing any and all threats to our safety and security. Our brave soldiers valiantly put their lives in the line of fire 24 hours a day so our people can live in peace," Lorenzana added.
He also called on the youth to heed the call to serve the country.
"To perpetuate the culture of patriotism and heroism, it is our responsibility to teach the youths love of country and service to our people," Lorenzana said.
"One good way to instill and nurture love of country is through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in our school system. I believe that ROTC can teach our youths leadership, discipline, respect for authority and service to country," he added.
The Senate and House of Representatives are tackling proposed measures seeking to make the ROTC program mandatory among Grade 11 and 12 students. Some lawmakers are proposing alternative bills that aim to instill the core values of nationalism and patriotism during a child’s formative years.
President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to pass a law making the ROTC program mandatory, but the proposed measure is expected to receive fierce opposition from groups that say this might cultivate a culture of abuse among students.