Galvez believes ROTC can cure mental problems
Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. believes the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program can help cure mental health problems.
The Defense chief made the remark at a Senate hearing as he expressed support for the bills seeking to make the ROTC program mandatory.
Galvez, who said he is a teacher by vocation, said that the ROTC program can train the students "to the limit," as it is experiential unlike, he said, the National Service Training Program (NTSP).
"'Yun ang pagkakaiba po sa NSTP. Ang experience training talaga pong naisasapuso niya po ang lahat ng ginagawa niya. 'Yung [survival] instinct nandoon. So yung sinasabi nating mental problem, it can be cured, kasi 'yung frustration tolerance ng tao, tataas," Galvez said.
"Meron po siyang makukuhang experience na, 'Bakit ako naghihimutok ,eh ganito 'yung nakikita natin na mas malala pa pala yung ginagawa ng ibang tao.' Meaning, 'yung mental ano pwede siyang ma-cure," he went on.
Galvez also said the ROTC training will hone future mentors and counselors who can help those who are experiencing mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"Sa ating training, karamihan po sa ating mga sundalo they are trained as [mentors], as [leaders], and also as [counselors], meaning kung may problema ang isang tao...being a combat leader, na-expose po ako, marami po sa amin nagka-PTSD pero nabibigyan po namin ng counseling and because of the counseling nagbabago po 'yung tao," he said.
In an interview with reporters, Senator Ronald dela Rosa echoed Galvez’s statement by citing his training in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) as well as his ROTC stint.
“Ako nag-ROTC. Ako nag-PMA. Sa lahat ng problema na dinaanan ko, kung wala akong training sa ROTC at PMA, baka tumalon na ako sa building. Nagpakamatay na ko dahil mababa yung level of tolerance ko sa pag-address ng personal problems,” he said.
“Totoo yung sinasabi ni Secretary Galvez. Kasi sabi nga nila kaliit na problema yan. Chicks lang. Brineakan ako ng chicks, ako magpapakamatay ako? Nalusutan ko nga ‘yung training na napakahirap, dahil lang sa babae magpapakamatay ako? Ganon bang attitude development ng tao...’yung tolerance level mo tataas. Di 'yung magko-commit ka na lang ng suicide,” he added.
Galvez also said he saw no "development" among the youth from NSTP.
"Napakatagal na natin na 21 years na 'yung NSTP natin, hindi natin nakita 'yung tinatawag nating development sa ating mga youth ngayon—'yung tinatawag nating sense of nationalism, self...service, at 'yung tinatawag nating commitment to serve our country," he said.
The Senate Higher Technical and Vocational Education subcommittee on the revitalized ROTC Act on Monday conducted its last hearing on the seven measures making ROTC mandatory.
At the start of the hearing, Akbayan Youth chairperson Justine Raphael Balane and Student Council Alliance of the Philippines chairperson Ken Paolo Gilo raised their opposition to the move.
Gilo said the government must prioritize the country's educational crisis, and that the funds earmarked for the ROTC program should be used for the construction of much-needed classrooms; the procurement of gadgets and other educational equipment; and the hiring of additional guidance counselors, among other measures.
Gilo said the youth should have the freedom to choose how they will express their patriotism.
These can be done by expanding the NSTP, he suggested.
“Walang nag-iisang anyo ng pagmamahal. Walang nag-iisang anyo ng nasyonalismo. Hayaan po natin na mahalin ng kabataan ang inang bayan sa kung paano nila gustong ipakita ito,” he said.
While the groups were able to air their opposition to the bills, Dela Rosa said it doesn’t mean that they will be followed.
Their suggestion to expand the NSTP Law has no bearing as Article II, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people, he told reporters.
He also said he is “very positive” that the mandatory ROTC bill will be passed this year and that they can already allocate funds for its implementation in 2024.
Dela Rosa added that he is eyeing to sponsor the bill by March. — RSJ/BM, GMA Integrated News