Bill requiring NCSTP for tertiary students approved by House on 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — A bill that requires tertiary education students to undergo a National Citizens Service Training Program (NCSTP) and make the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) optional has been approved on second reading at the House of Representatives.
During Thursday’s session, House Bill (HB) No. 6687 — the consolidated version of the bills seeking a mandatory ROTC and House Speaker and Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s NCSTP proposal — was approved via viva voce.
The said bill was the product of the joint hearing of the House Committee on higher and technical education and the Committee on basic education last December 6, where it was agreed upon that Romualdez’s HB No. 6486 would be the lead bill in consolidating all other bills.
As stated, ROTC or military training, which results in graduates becoming reservists, is not mandatory, while the NCSTP would be required.
But during Wednesday’s session, when it was deliberated on the plenary, Makabayan lawmakers, including Kabataan party-list, Rep. Raoul Manuel, opposed the bill, saying that the consolidated version is still militaristic.
Supporters of the bill, meanwhile, clarified that firearm training does not necessarily mean military training.
There has been huge support from administration allies for placing a mandatory ROTC program, especially in the context of foreign intrusion in various parts of the country’s territorial waters. No less than Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte pushed for the revival of ROTC to instill discipline among young Filipinos.