‘Big chance’ mandatory ROTC bill will pass 19th Congress —Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — There is a “big chance” that the bills seeking the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for senior high school students will be passed this 19th Congress, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee, said the mandatory ROTC is one of his priority bills.
“I think in this Congress malaki ang tiyansa na maipapasa ‘yan(there is a big chance that it will pass),” Gatchalian told reporters in a chance interview after the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.
“That’s part of my priority measures, so we will conduct our hearings siguro (maybe) so within one or two weeks magkakaroon na kami ng hearings (we would conduct our hearings).”
This is in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s directive to make ROTC mandatory.
In 2002, the ROTC was made optional through the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001 or the Republic Act No. 9163.
The law was created after University of Santo Tomas sophomore cadet Mark Welson Chua was killed in 2001 for exposing corruption in the school’s military training program.
Gatchalian, however, eased the concerns of possible abuses under the ROTC program.
“No, this is not the old type of ROTC, this is a modern type of ROTC… and attuned to the times,” the senator pointed out.
He also noted that most Filipinos want the ROTC to be mandatory again.
Citing a Pulse Asia survey he commissioned, Gatchalian said 69 percent of Filipinos support the ROTC program in senior high school.
“A big majority… that’s the supermajority of our population, gusto ng (wants) ROTC,” he explained.
“Dahil madami sa ating mga magulang, nakikita ang anak nila puro cellphone na lang, Tiktok, or games, so nakita nila nawala na ang physical activity and disiplina, gusto din ng mga magulang ibalik ang disiplina,” he added.
(Many of our parents see their children spending too much time on their cellphone, using Tiktok, and playing games, so they have noticed that [children] don’t have physical activity and discipline [anymore], and the parents want the discipline back.)
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