The Department of National Defense (DND) is campaigning for the revival of mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), the secretary said on Monday.
"We’re talking to Congress to return the mandatory ROTC for college students, both men and women," said Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in an interview with ANC's Headstart.
The proposition was among the matters discussed in the Cabinet meeting last month, according to Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and President Rodrigo Duterte wants it revived in the hope of inspiring discipline and love of country among the youth.
Lorenzana said because of ROTC's abolition years ago, there has been a lack of reserve officers.
"After the ROTC was abolished many years ago, wala na tayong reservist. We cannot organize anymore the reservists. We need reserve officers for our military, army, and navy. We cannot get anything anymore. We need that as our base," he said.
He added, ROTC's return will be of help once the country completes its shift to a federal form of government.
"If in the future we become a federal state, then the federal states, individual states will have its own reservists coming from this pool of these ROTC graduates," he said.
Apart from this, Lorenzana is also campaigning for amending the National Defense Act of 1935.
"We would like it to be revisited by Congress. There are lots of things there that should be removed already and should be revised. It’s a very old law, and we would like to strengthen the military because of this," he said.
The Kabataan party-list group earlier said reviving the mandatory nature of ROTC would be "inimical to the rights and welfare of students."
READ: Party-list backs better NSTP, wants ROTC abolished
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversy that resulted in the death of Mark Chua, a University of Sto. Tomas student. He was allegedly slain by course officers after exposing fund mismanagement.
ROTC is now one of the three components of the National Service Training Program (NSTP), along with Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS).
READ: Should ROTC be made mandatory again? [embed link: