Duterte renews call for mandatory ROTC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 22) — President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed his call for mandatory military training for the youth.

In a speech delivered Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) in Cavite, Duterte said that he would again urge Congress to pass a law that would make Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory again as a part of the K-12 curriculum.

"I encourage the Congress to pass a law that would require mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12 so you can instill patriotism and love of country to the youth," Duterte said.

Duterte added that he is also considering reinstating ROTC as a mandatory subject through an executive order.

"Kung madala ito ng Executive Order baka mapilitan ako if they do not act on it. I said that this is a Constitutional requirement, that you must prepare to defend your country," he said.

ROTC was made optional as one of the three National Service Training Program (NSTP) courses for college and university students.

The National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001 was passed following the controversial death of ROTC Officer Mark Chua, who had published an exposé on alleged irregularities in the ROTC unit of his university, the University of Santo Tomas (UST), in the university paper.

Chua's body was found floating in Pasig River, bound with packing tape and wrapped inside a carpet.

Duterte, however, alleged that a certain hazing-related death was to blame for the removal of ROTC from the mandatory school curriculum.

"That simple hazing caused an aberration in our country. Ang Pilipino ngayon wala nang alam dahil doon sa nawala ang ROTC," Duterte said.

Duterte also argued that ROTC is needed for future Filipinos to be able to protect the country.

The NSTP act, while offering the alternatives of Literacy Service Training (LST) and Civil Welfare Service Training, also puts value in patriotism.

"Recognizing the youth's vital role in nation-building, the State shall promote civic consciousness among the youth and shall develop their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism, nationalism, and advance their involvement in public and civic affairs," the NSTP act read.

The provision in the Constitution on the requirement for people to defend the state, Article II, Section for reads: "the  Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service."

There are currently bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the reinstatement of the ROTC as a mandatory subject.