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Youth commission asks Marcos to make ROTC, CAT mandatory

The National Youth Commission (NYC) on Thursday urged President “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to issue an executive order making the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program mandatory for college students.

NYC chairperson Ronald Cardema also asked the president to require the Citizens Army Training (CAT) in high school and Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts program for elementary students.

In a letter sent to Malacañang dated July 20, Cardema pointed out that ROTC, CAT, and scouting were a priority during the time of then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

“It created a sense of nationalism, discipline, and preparedness among young Filipinos that can easily be tapped by the government to help the country in times of need,” he said.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier said she hopes mandatory ROTC will be included in the administration's priority legislative agenda.

During the campaign period, Duterte also said she would push for mandatory military service for Filipinos aged 18 years old if she wins as vice president.

The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped in 2002 following the passage of Republic Act 9163, an act establishing the National Service Training Program (NSTP).

The law was passed following the March 2001 killing of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Wilson Chua allegedly by his ROTC handlers after he had exposed the corruption in the training program.

PH should follow other countries

Meanwhile, Cardema noted that Singapore’s National Service Program inculcated “discipline and professionalism” among its youth and helped transform the nation into a first world country.

He added in South Korea all boys including movie stars and sons of tycoons were all required to serve in the front lines for two years, which “gives a sense of pride and military preparedness.”

Cardema further emphasized that Israel was able to stop invasions from neighboring countries with the help of the mandatory military training given to both girls and boys.

“The population of the Philippines is far bigger than that of Singapore, Israel, and South Korea. We are a disaster-prone archipelago that is battered annually by typhoons, floods, earthquakes, other disasters, and a communist insurgency,” he said.

“With that, we need to start orienting/training the millions of Filipino youth towards disaster preparedness, good citizenship, national defense and to have a strong nationalism starting now,” he added.—LDF, GMA News