President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill mandating Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools to undergo mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed to reporters in a text message that Duterte has indeed certified the ROTC bill as urgent just four days before the Congress adjourns its 17th session.
In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III dated June 3, Duterte urged the Senate to certify the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 2232, which institutionalizes ROTC in senior high school.
“Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 2232,” said Duterte in his letter to Sotto.
Duterte said the measure is expected to “restore basic military and leadership trainings for the youth in order to invigorate their sense of nationalism and patriotism necessary in defending the State and to further promote their vital role in nation-building”.
On May 20, the House of Representatives voted 167-4-0 to approve on third & final reading their version of the ROTC bill, the House Bill 8961.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to pass a bill reinstating mandatory military training for senior high school students to instill patriotism and love of country.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said she is personally in favor of the revival of ROTC for senior high school students “as a source of defense”.
At least 100 public and private high schools nationwide will be part of the two-year pilot program for the proposed mandatory military training.
In 1912, the ROTC program for college students was mandatory, but was made optional and voluntary in 2002 following the death of some cadets due to hazing. (PNA)