President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday pushed for a mandatory Reserved Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students, naming the proposal as one of the priority measures of his administration.
Marcos proposed to reinstitute the ROTC and the National Service Training Program (NSTP) as mandatory for Grade 11 and 12 students in all public and private institutions.
“The aim is to motivate, train, organize, and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations,” he said in his first State of the Nation Address.
The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped in 2002 following the passage of Republic Act 9163, an act establishing the NSTP.
This came after 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 ROTC corps.
Several officials have pushed for the mandatory ROTC, including Vice President Sara Duterte and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
Citing a survey he commissioned, Gatchalian said at least 77% of parents were in favor of ROTC in Grades 11 and 12.
The National Youth Commission, headed by Duterte Youth founder Ronald Cardema, has also urged Marcos to issue an executive order making the ROTC program mandatory, pointing out that it was a priority during the time of his father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Meanwhile, Marcos also proposed the establishment of a Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) under the Health and Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health.
Marcos said the MRC shall be composed of licensed physicians, medical students who have completed their four years of the medical course, graduates of medicine, registered nurses, and licensed allied health professionals. — BM/KG, GMA News