Briones backs ROTC bill, says grads will be PH 1st defenders
MANILA, Philippines — Education Secretary Leonor Briones said she supported “as a matter of principle” the measure approved in the House of Representatives making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program compulsory for Grades 11 and 12 students.
In times of war, future ROTC graduates are the country’s first line of defense against foreign forces, said Briones, who recalled the country’s experience in World War II.
“They were the easiest and the fastest to mobilize,” she said.
On Monday, the House passed the proposed ROTC bill restoring the military training program that, its advocates said, could “inculcate love of country, leadership and character development” in the youth.
But critics remain wary of the program’s history of abuse and harassment.
Catalyst for reforms
In 2001, Mark Welson Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student, died shortly after exposing irregularities in the ROTC program.
His death became a catalyst for ROTC reforms and made the program optional among male college students.
Education Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua said there were proposed mechanisms to guard against abuses, including the creation of grievance committees to investigate and prosecute violators.—DJ Yap
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