DND backtracks, now supports ROTC revival | Inquirer News

DND backtracks, now supports ROTC revival

/ 04:55 AM February 07, 2023

Marine trains a group of students enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

ROTC REVIVAL | A Marine trains a group of students enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on how to handle a rifle. (File photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday gave its all-out support for the proposed revival of the Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC), just days after their officials received a dressing down from its main proponent, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, when they expressed their concerns about the program.

At the hearing of the Senate subcommittee on the ROTC revival, acting Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. expressed the belief that compulsory military training for all youth could solve their mental health problems.


“That mental health problem [of our youth] can be cured because the frustration tolerance of the trainees will increase; meaning with ROTC, [the trainees] create experiences, which will make them realize that they should not sulk over their current situation because there are other people whose conditions are far worse,” he said.


According to Galvez, most military officers are trained as “mentors, leaders and also as a counselor” who can give advice to distressed individuals.

He gave the assurance as the Senate subcommittee wrapped up its hearings on the six measures that seek to impose mandatory military training among Filipino youth and abolish the National Schools Training Program (NSTP) by amending Republic Act No. 9163.

Galvez’s statement was a shift from the pronouncement of his subordinate, Defense Undersecretary Franco Nemesio Gacal, who said in the Jan. 25 hearing that if the mandatory ROTC program would be handled solely by the military, there would be financial and logistical problems.

This irked Dela Rosa, who expressed dismay over the DND’s position. “If that is the kind of attitude our defense establishments are showing, then let us stop this hearing. Let’s just stick with NSTP,” said the senator, who heads the subcommittee on revitalized ROTC. He later apologized for his outburst.

At Monday’s hearing, the DND was more vocal about its “strong” support for the program as a mandatory component in all public and private colleges and vocational schools.

“We will do our best in the defense department, particularly in determining how best we can implement the reinstitution of the mandatory ROTC program in the tertiary and the vocational levels given our current set of circumstances,” Galvez said.


Col. Ronald Jess Alcudia, executive officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Reservist and Retiree Affairs, told the committee that the revived mandatory ROTC program would require 9,584 military officers and enlisted personnel as training staff for the 2,396 colleges, universities and vocational schools in the country.

A number of youth representatives, however, objected to the program. Ken Paolo Gilo, national chair of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, said that the ROTC revival was ill-timed with the country suffering from an education crisis.

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