Education Secretary favors mandatory ROTC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — The move to reinstate the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high school students has found a supporter in the education secretary.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that ROTC-equipped Filipinos would be helpful in defending the country in times of need, as they were among the frontliners during the second world war.

"Yun din ang (That is the) purpose ng (of) ROTC, I think ngayon na magkaroon tayo ng (now we will have a) source of defense... We cannot be relying on other countries to defend us. We know by our experience that medyo may katagalang darating yung mga (There might be a delay in receiving) external assistance diyan so we have to rely on ourselves," Briones told reporters Wednesday.

She added that safeguards will be in place to prevent abuses within the system. Mandatory ROTC for university students was abolished in 2001, following the death of University of Santo Tomas cadet Mark Chua, who published the alleged abuses of the system in their school paper.

The bill on mandatory ROTC for senior high school students was passed on its third and final reading at the House of Representatives on Monday.

READ: House OKs bill on mandatory ROTC for senior high students 

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remition contributed to this story.