Two congressmen on Monday expressed optimism a bill reactivating the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps will be enacted during the 18th Congress.
Reps. Raneo Abu of Batangas and Jericho Nograles of the PBA party-list group refiled their ROTC bills soon after the 18th Congress convened.
Meanwhile, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to revive the ROTC would give future Filipino sailors the edge in the global market for ship officers.
International shipping companies prefer to recruit merchant mariners with basic military training,” said ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III.
Bertiz said the Philippines was now the world’s second-largest supplier of licensed ship officers after China and the largest supplier of unlicensed ship ratings or non-officer crew ahead of China.
An ROTC bill was passed on third and final reading by the 17th Congress under the stewardship of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but the Senate failed to do the same.
It must be recognized that the school is the most powerful institution when it comes to shaping the hearts and minds of the youth,” Abu says in his House Bill 2087.
“It is essential, therefore, to use the school as an invaluable instrument to ensure that Filipino students are geared to become disciplined, active, responsive, participative and patriotic citizens and able defenders of our country.
The ROTC bill mandates the mandatory inclusion of ROTC in the curricula of grades 11 and 12 or senior high school.
Exempted from the mandatory military training are students who are physically or psychologically unfit as certified by the Armed Forces Surgeon General.
The bill tasks the Departments of Education and National Defense to implement the ROTC program.
Nograles said with Duterte’s call for the revival of the ROTC during his State-of-the-Nation Address, he believed the bill would have smooth sailing in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“We failed to pass this law during the last Congress, but with the full backing of President Duterte the ROTC Law will surely get a wider support not only from our legislators but from the public, in general, considering the high approval rating of the President,” Nograles said.
His House Bill 2613 provides safeguards and mechanisms to prevent hazing, corruption, and abuse in the implementation of the proposed ROTC law.
He says his bill mandates the creation of an ROTC Grievance Board, which is to be vested with the power to investigate and resolve complaints involving corruption and abuse in the ROTC program, ensure that the ROTC Program is free from politicization and from being used to instill a particular ideology, and recommend policies and reforms to ensure adherence to the Constitution and other laws of the land.
“The bill aims to enhance the capacity of the country to produce the needed manpower and to extend its human resources in times of war, calamities and disaster, national or local emergencies,” Nograles said. With Vito Barcelo