/ 6 December 2022

AFTER withdrawing his bill on Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps for Senior High School students, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed a bill that seeks to reinstitutionalize a two-year mandatory Basic ROTC Program and a two-year voluntary Advance ROTC Program at the tertiary level.

Senate Bill 1551 or the Mandatory Basic Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Act covers all students enrolled in any undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate program in all public and private universities, colleges, vocational schools and other tertiary educational institutions.

Under the Basic ROTC program, college students shall undergo basic military and leadership training to enhance the capacity of the nation and expand its human resource in times of war, calamities and disasters and national or local emergencies.

“Isinusulong natin ang pagbabalik ng Basic ROTC upang ituro sa ating mga kabataan ang disiplina at pagmamahal sa ating bansa, lalo na’t sila ang mamumuno sa bansa balang araw,” Gatchalian said.

Aside from military training, the Basic ROTC program will cover civic training and enhanced preparedness during actual disaster response operations.

Gatchalian said that restoring Basic ROTC at the tertiary level instead of Senior High School is more viable. He explained that the pandemic resulted in learning losses thus, learning recovery should be the priority of the basic education sector.

He also cited the high cost of implementing Basic ROTC in Senior High School.

The Department of Education and the Department of National Defense estimated that implementing basic ROTC on a national scale would cost P9.3 billion.

“Implementing the Basic ROTC program in the tertiary level will still capture a substantial number of Senior High School graduates who shall eventually be enlisted in the Reserve Force,” Gatchalian said.

He pointed out that in the past four years, about 81% of Senior High School graduates proceeded to enroll in college.