Nat’l Youth Commission bats for return of mandatory ROTC, CAT
MANILA, Philippines — The National Youth Commission (NYC) on Thursday urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to revive the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program for college students through an executive order.
In a letter to Marcos dated July 20, NYC chairman Ronald Cardema also asked Marcos to require the Citizens Army Training (CAT) in high school and Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts program for elementary students.
Cardema pointed out that ROTC, CAT and scouting were a priority during Marcos Jr.’s father, late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
“It created a sense of nationalism, discipline, and preparedness among young Filipinos that can easily be tapped by the government to help the country in times of need,” Cardema said.
He said the programs “slowly went into limbo” through the years, when Congress failed since 2002 to pass many bills for its return.
“With you sir, we see hope through an executive order now, before the start of classes,” Cardema said.
The NYC chairperson noted how Singapore’s National Service Program inculcated “discipline and professionalism” among its youth and helped transform the nation into a first world country.
South Korea also required all males, including movie stars and sons of tycoons, to serve in the frontlines for two years, which, Cardema said, “gives a sense of pride and military preparedness.”
Cardema further emphasized that Israel was able to stop invasions from neighboring countries that were “no match” for the country’s mandatory military training given to both girls and boys.
“The population of the Philippines is far bigger than that of Singapore, Israel, and South Korea. We are a disaster-prone archipelago that is battered annually by typhoons, floods, earthquakes, other disasters, and a communist insurgency,” he said.
“With that, we need to start orienting/training the millions of Filipino youth towards disaster preparedness, good citizenship, national defense and to have a strong nationalism starting now,” he added.
Marcos Jr. ‘s running mate, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier expressed hope that mandatory ROTC training will be included in the priority legislative agenda of the current administration.
The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped in 2002 through the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9163).
The law was passed following the March 2001 killing of University of Santo Tomas sophomore cadet Mark Wilson Chua allegedly by his ROTC handlers after he exposed the corruption in his school’s military training program.
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