- President approved return of ROTC for Grades 11 and 12
- Approval came during Cabinet meeting and after presentation by defense secretary
- Safeguards to be set in place to avoid hazing incidents and other irregularities
- Proposal for mandatory ROTC to be sent to Congress and the Senate
MANILA, Philippines – Military drills and uniforms may yet become a common sight in campuses once again after President Rodrigo Duterte greenlit the return of the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in both public and private schools.
On his Facebook account, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said Duterte gave the go-ahead for the return of the program after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana proposed “amendment to Republic Act 7077 to make ROTC mandatory”.
“Lorenzana said ROTC instills patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to Constitution,” Piñol said.
“The approval by the President which came after the members discussed the issue thoroughly,” he added.
Piñol added that the proposal will now be forwarded as certified urgent to both Congress and the Senate.
ROTC became optional in 2001 following the hazing death of Mark Welson Chua, a whistleblower who exposed alleged wide-scale corruption and irregularities in the program. College and university students have since been enrolled under the National Service Training Program (NSTP) instead.
“The implementation of the mandatory ROTC was stopped in 2001 following a series of scandals which rocked the program, including the death of a Manila student due to hazing,” Piñol acknowledged.
According to him, however, the mandatory ROTC program would include safeguards to prevent another similar case like Chua’s.
“The strict implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law was among the measures presented to avoid the repeat of hazing deaths,” he said.