Zubiri: ROTC bill passage may have to wait for next Congress
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 students may have to wait for the next Congress which opens in July.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said this on Tuesday as he opposed the proposed bill mandating basic ROTC for high school students in public and private schools.
On Monday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian sponsored the measure on the floor.
But Zubiri said he expects a lengthy debate on the bill, noting that at least 10 senators had already reserved to interpellate the sponsor.
“Mabuti na din yan para may trabaho si Sen. Bato dela Rosa pagpasok kasi mga pet advocacies nila yun. So pwede sila na rin magdepensa nun,” he said in an interview at the Senate.
(It’s a good development, so Sen. Bato dela Rosa will have something to do because it’s one of their pet advocacies. So they can defend it.)
“Pero pagdating sa ROTC training, personally, hindi ko po gusto High School level mag-umpisa ang training ng ROTC (But personally, I do not like the ROTC training to start in high school),” said the senator.
The ROTC program, he said, should be implemented in the college level as the students are more aware of the environment and physically developed to undergo rigorous military training.
“So we’ll just continue with the sin tax measure and all the other the controversial measures, we might have to take up in the next Congress,” Zubiri said.
The present Congress will adjourn sine die on June 7, and the new 18th Congress will open in July.
Gatchalian, in seeking the passage of the measure, explained that the re-instutionalization of the ROTC program in educational institutions would “arm students with the discipline that they will need as they take over the reins of leadership and service from us.”
“It will also prepare them to face long-standing as well as ever-evolving challenges that our nation will encounter as it continues to move towards progress and development,” he said.
The ROTC program, he said, would also put a premium on disaster preparedness and capacity-building for risk-related situations.
“Further, this iteration of the ROTC program ensures that after the completion of the basic ROTC course, students are not automatically enlisted into the Reserve Force,” Gatchalian said.
“The training they undergo prepares them for the probability of entering the Reserve Force, but enlistment is completely voluntary.”
Gatchalian said the bill also provides for several “fool-proof safeguards” such as the establishment of grievance committees to protect students against abuse and corruption. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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