Lorenzana: Mandatory military service proposal faces ‘huge hurdles’
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday (Jan. 20) said while he supported the mandatory military service proposed by Davao City mayor and vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte, there will be “huge hurdles” against its implementation.
“There are huge hurdles in implementing this,” Lorenzana said in a statement. The Philippines, he said, is “not on war footing” and there will be “little need of a general mobilization.”
The proposal will also require additional funds and resources.
“Training camps would need to be established all over the land, and manpower and funds must be allocated to accommodate the millions who will reach the age of 18 every year,” Lorenzana said.
There are also “anticipated objections of those who are not inclined to serve in the military.”
Duterte said on Wednesday said that if she won, she would push for mandatory military service for all Filipinos after they turn 18 years old, a practice in some countries like Israel and South Korea.
Lorenzana said the implementation of mandatory entry into the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in private and public schools is the “better alternative.”
“We feel that the product of the ROTC program is more than sufficient to meet our requirements for warm bodies in case of conflict and in times of calamities and disasters,” he said.
The ROTC was made optional in the early 2000s after the death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was murdered after he exposed alleged corruption in the ROTC program.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed Sara’s proposal and described it as “attuned to the times.”
“We welcome the proposal as this is attuned to the times while government is faced with adversities and challenges, aligned with our aspirations for the citizenry to contribute to nation building,” said AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala.
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