2023 April 11
MANILA – Filipinos in favor of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in college think students would develop discipline and responsibility, according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted on March 15 to 19 and released by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s office on Tuesday.
Seventy-one percent of those who favor ROTC believe it would make young people more disciplined and responsible; 60 percent think they could defend the country when the need arises; and 59 percent said leadership skills would be enhanced.
An overwhelming majority of the 1,200 respondents in the National Capital Region (77 percent), Balance Luzon (72 percent), Visayas (80 percent), and Mindanao (92 percent) favor the implementation of ROTC in college.
The survey likewise showed broad support for ROTC across socioeconomic classes – 81 percent of Classes ABCE and 78 percent from Class D.
“Malinaw ang boses ng ating mga kababayan sa pagsuporta sa pagbabalik ng ROTC sa kolehiyo (The voice of the people is clear in their support for the return of ROTC in college),” Gatchalian said in a news release.
He is co-author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2034 or the ROTC Act.
SB 2034 seeks to institutionalize the mandatory Basic ROTC program in higher education institutions and technical-vocational institutions for students enrolled in at least a two-year undergraduate degree, diploma, or certificate program.
“Kaya naman patuloy nating isusulong ang ating panukalang muling magkaroon ng ROTC sa kolehiyo hanggang sa maisabatas ito. Sa pamamagitan ng ROTC, maituturo natin sa mga kabataan ang disiplina, pagmamahal sa bayan, at kahandaang tumulong lalo na sa panahon ng mga sakuna (That is why we will continue to push this measure to have ROTC in college. Through ROTC, we will be able to teach our youth discipline, love of country, and the readiness to help during times of disaster),” Gatchalian said in a statement.
As for the 75 percent that think ROTC would increase cases of abuse, harassment, and hazing, Gatchalian said the measure has safeguards, such as a Grievance Board in every unit that would receive complaints and conduct investigations.
The bill includes the provision of one free uniform, including combat boots.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa said despite the implementation of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) over the past two decades, it has not achieved its purpose in nation-building.
“Maganda sana ang purpose niyan pero siguro sa implementation (NSTP has a good purpose but maybe [the problem lies in] its implementation),” dela Rosa said during a previous hearing. “The State shall also inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs. Kaakibat po ng pagtataguyod sa bansa ang pagtatanggol nito (Part of nation building is defending it).”
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. previously said the return of ROTC would help bolster the country’s capability in dealing with disasters.
“Mas marami rin tayong maihahanda na sibilyan para sa mga ganitong disaster response sa pamamagitan ng ROTC program dahil hindi lang naman national defense ang tinuturo sa kanila kundi disaster preparedness and capacity building para dito nga sa tinatawag na risk-related situations (We will be able to prepare more civilians for disaster response through ROTC. National defense will not be the only thing to be taught but also disaster preparedness and capacity building on so-called risk-related situations),” he said after a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked Northern Luzon in July 2022.