Majority of Filipinos back ROTC revival — Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — A Pulse Asia survey commissioned by Sen. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian’s office revealed Monday that a majority of respondents support the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Course (ROTC) in the country.
Citing the Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan Survey conducted on Dec. 14 to 21, 2018, Gatchalian, who has been pushing for the revival of the ROTC program, said 1,440 of 1,800 respondents or 80 percent agree to the proposal to implement ROTC either in senior high school or in college or both. The senator’s office confirmed to INQUIRER.net that they commissioned the survey.
Meanwhile, 270 respondents or 15 percent do not want the program implemented while the rest have no opinion on the issue, according to Gatchalian.
The same survey showed that 34 percent want the ROTC implemented in both senior high school and college, 28 percent want the program to be implemented only in college, and 18 percent want the ROTC only in senior high school, the lawmaker said.
The respondents were asked: “There are proposals to implement ROTC to all students in Senior High School or Grades 11 to 12 and in college. The ROTC or Reserved Officers’ Training Corps is a program which aims to teach the youth about discipline and love of country by military training. Which of the following do you favor more regarding this issue?”
In a statement, Gatchalian said he would hold a public hearing on Wednesday to consult various stakeholders on the issue.
“Mukhang malinaw naman na karamihan ng mga Pilipino ay pabor sa pagbabalik ng ROTC. Makakatulong ito sa character-building at pag-develop ng disiplina sa ating mga kabataan,” he added.
(It looks like the majority of Filipinos are in favor of the return of the ROTC. This will help in character building and instilling discipline among the youth.)
Among the guests invited to the hearing are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal and other AFP officials, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Commission on Higher Education chair Prospero de Vera, and University of the Philippines Vanguard Executive Director Robert Coscolluela.
Representatives from various groups opposing the return of ROTC will also be invited.
Gatchalian, who was previously designated by the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture as chairperson of the Senate subcommittee on ROTC, said he supports the return of ROTC as it is a “powerful means of instilling patriotism and discipline in the Filipino youth.”
In 2016, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 200 seeking to re-institutionalize ROTC for students in all colleges, universities, and technical or vocational schools. He also filed House Bill No. 2338 seeking the same in 2013 while he was still representative of Valenzuela City’s 1st district.
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, approved on second reading House Bill No. 8961 last Feb. 6. The proposed law seeks to revive the mandatory ROTC program for grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide as a requisite for graduation.
Both chambers of Congress need to pass on third and final reading their versions of the measure, harmonize the bills, and ratify it before it is sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his consideration.
In November 2018, Duterte urged Congress to “expedite” the restoration of ROTC for senior high school students to “instill patriotism, love of country among our youth.” If Congress fails to act on it, he said he might issue an executive order (EO) for its mandatory return.
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