The House of Representatives approved Monday on third and final reading the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) bill for grades 11 and 12, both private and public schools.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said that the lower house signed the proposed act mandating the institutionalization of the basic ROTC for Grades 11 to 12 eventhough there is no implementation of Senior High School/K-12 or a status report about harassment, hazing and corruption cases in the said program.
ROTC will be a requirement for all graduating students in both private and public schools.
House Bill 8961 is a consolidated version based on the bill authores and filed by Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo E. Abu, with 167 affirmative votes, four negative votes, and zero abstention.
However, there will be an exemption to physically or psychologically unfit with certification from AFP Surgeon General or authorized medical officer.
Students who are undergoing the same military training, chosen by their respective schools to be part of the varsity team, as well as cases that are approved by Department of National Defense will also be exempted.
President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that he wants to “instill patriotism and love of country to the youth.”
In 2011, ROTC was made optional for students following the death of a student from University of Santo Tomas and cadet Mark Chua, whose body was found floating in Pasig River, revealed the corruption in the ROTC program of the said school.
Republic Act 9163 or the National Service Training Program Act of 2001 was signed into law on Jan. 23, 2002. This bill allowed college students to choose between ROTC, Civil Welfare Training Service and Literacy Training Service.
The Defense department and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accepted lower chamber’s decision.
Defense Secretary Lorenzana said in a statement that the paasage of the bill will surely help instill to the youth the â€œlove of country, good citizenship, respect for human rights, and adherence to the rule of law.â€
On the other hand, Gabriela Women’s Party condemned the law’s approval due to “lack of substantive debates on the measure.” The group state that requiring seniog high students to take ROTC will only give privilege to the presence and operations of military officers. (with reports from Bombo Dave Vincent Pasit)