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DND sets budget for ROTC uniforms at P5 billion –Dela Rosa

The uniforms for Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students would cost the government P5 billion, Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa disclosed Monday, citing the Department of National Defense's (DND) proposal.

Dela Rosa, the main sponsor of the mandatory ROTC bill in the Senate, explained that the P5 billion budgetary requirement was a multi-year allocation as the law will be implemented first in schools with existing ROTC units.

"Walang opposition ang [Department of Finance at Department of Budget and Management]. Wala silang objection, I think, kaya nila [ifu-fund]," he said in an online interview with reporters.

(The DOF and DBM have no objections I think. That's why they are funding it.)

Meanwhile, dela Rosa hoped that the majority of senators would support the measure as he committed to passing the mandatory ROTC bill within the year.

"Kapag mainit ang debate nito sa interpellation, I'm not sure kung kakayanin namin before SONA. Pero and commitment namin is within this year," he said.

(If the debates during interpellation get heated, I'm not sure if we can pass the bill before the State of the Nation Address. But our commitment is within this year.)

Dela Rosa also said that out-of-school youth would also need to undergo military training similar to ROTC.

"Yun naman mga out-of-school youth na hindi mako-cover nitong mandatory ROTC program, will be covered by [Republic Act] 7077, 'yung Philippine Reservist Act wherein lahat ng able-bodied Filipino citizens ay mag-undergo ng military training kahit na nasa labas sila ng eskwelahan," Dela Rosa said.

(The out-of-school youth who would not be covered by the mandatory ROTC program would be covered by the Philippine Reservist Act, which calls for all able-bodied Filipino citizens to undergo military training even outside of school.)

"Itong batas nga lang na ito ay hindi masyadong ini-implement... pero with the reactivation of the ROTC, isasabay na iimplement ito ng Armed Forces," he added.

(This law has been half-heartedly enforced. But with the reactivation of the ROTC, the Armed Forces will enforce these simultaneously.)

Before the Senate adjourned its sessions last March, dela Rosa sponsored the bill making the ROTC program mandatory for students in higher education institutions and technical-vocational institutions. — DVM, GMA Integrated News