MANILA — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Thursday said it was better to implement the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program in higher education.
Initial meetings on the proposed return of mandatory ROTC have started among the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and some lawmakers, Duterte disclosed.
"During our discussion, I think it was clear sa lahat na mas maganda kung ibalik ang ROTC sa higher education since noon, nasa higher education na talaga siya," she said during a chance interview at the commemoration of former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's sixth death anniversary.
"And then the basic education will focus on other parts of the curriculum na mag-instill ng discipline and love of country sa ating mga learners," Duterte added.
(I think it was clear to everyone that it's better to bring back ROTC in higher education, since it was previously implemented in higher education. And then basic education will focus on other parts of the curriculum to instill discipline and love of country in our learners.)
During his first State of the Nation Address, President Marcos said he wanted to make ROTC mandatory in Grades 11 and 12.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros opposed the plan, saying there were other ways for the Filipino youth to serve the country. Meanwhile, a security analyst warned that requiring students aged below 18 to undergo military training would violate international law.
But the proposal has received support from the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversial death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was allegedly killed by fellow cadet officers for exposing corruption in the program.
It is now 1 of 3 components of the National Service Training Program that college students can choose from, along with the Civic Welfare Training Service and Literacy Training Service.
During Thursday's interview, Duterte also shared details about her recent trip to Tokyo for the state funeral of assassinated Japanese leader Shinzo Abe and a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
"[There] was a discussion of the preparations of Japan sa pagbisita ng ating Pangulong Marcos doon sa kanila. I understand they are working on a state visit for President Marcos in Japan," she said.
(There was a discussion of the preparations of Japan for the upcoming visit of President Marcos. I understand they are working on a state visit for President Marcos in Japan.)