Bongbong Marcos says ROTC could help bolster country’s disaster response
MANILA, Philippines — After calling on Congress to pass a law mandating the implementation of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that military training could help bolster the country’s disaster response capability.
Marcos said this during his weekly video log on Saturday in the wake of efforts to provide assistance to victims of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Abra on Wednesday and affected nearby areas, killing at least 10 people and affecting over 300,000 individuals.
“Mas marami rin tayong maihahanda na sibilyan para sa mga ganitong disaster response sa pamamagitan ng ROTC program dahil hindi lang naman national defense ang tinuturo sa kanila kundi disaster preparedness and capacity building para dito nga sa tinatawag na risk-related situations na itinuturo sa kanila,” he said.
(We can also prepare more civilians for such disaster responses through the ROTC program because they are taught not only national defense but also disaster preparedness and capacity building for these so-called risk-related situations that will be taught to them.)
According to Marcos, Filipinos must be properly trained and equipped with knowledge and skills in disaster response, further noting that Filipinos must always be prepared in times of emergency as the country is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire and the so-called typhoon belt.
Earlier, Marcos declared the revival of ROTC among senior high school students as one of his priority measures during his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The idea of reviving ROTC as a compulsory course for older students was reintroduced by former President Rodrigo Duterte, though nothing much came out of it. This policy however gained traction with his daughter, Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio, supporting its reintegration in schools.