Sara Duterte urged to respond to education crisis over mandatory ROTC focus

June 21, 2022 - 7:20 PM
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In this March 11, 2020 photo, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte dons a formal military uniform for her confirmation as a reserve colonel in the Philippine Army. (The STAR/Mong Pintolo)

Vice President-elect and incoming Education Secretary Sara Duterte said Monday that she hopes the return of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) would be priority legislation under the incoming administration.

“Executive and legislative agenda will be decided between the president and the Congress,” VP-elect Duterte said at a press conference in Davao City.

“I hope that it [mandatory ROTC] will be included since marami namang pending bills diyan sa Congress with regard to that,” she said.

In January this year, Duterte said she would push for military service for all 18-year-old citizens, both male and female, should she win the vice presidential race.

Some Filipinos supported Duterte’s call, arguing that other countries have similar programs.

“ROTC? It is to instill patriotism or love to the Motherland to the youth which is now lacking to the current time. In times of emergencies such as war, disasters etc, These reserved units are activated to help the country “IF” needed. USA, Korea and other countries are doing it.” said a social media user.

“ROTC” as a topic, meanwhile, trended on Twitter as some called on the next administration to solve the education crisis first instead of prioritizing mandatory ROTC.

“Dear Congress: Mandatory ROTC is not the solution to the education crisis,” a Filipino tweeted.

“How is mandatory ROTC a priority? What will it do to solve the education crisis?” asked another online user

“I don’t think ROTC is the first thing that we need now. What we need is a better education system,” a Twitter user expressed.

ROTC is one of the components of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) which aims to provide students with military training and national defense preparedness.

ROTC later became optional and voluntary for college students under Republic Act (RA) 9163 or the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001.

The law was passed following the killing of the University of Santo Tomas student Mark Chua by his fellow cadet officers after he exposed corruption and bribery practices in the ROTC unit of the university in 2001.