Biazon pushes for mandatory ROTC, disaster risk reduction education

Published January 15, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano “Rufino” Ruffy Biazon is counting on the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure the integration of disaster risk reduction education into school curricula, even as he called for the revival of the mandatory military training for students in public and private schools nationwide.

Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino "Ruffy" Biazon (Congressman Ruffy Biazon / FACEBOOK)
Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon (Congressman Ruffy Biazon / FACEBOOK)

He said Republic Act No. 10121, known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010, tasks the DepEd to integrate disaster risk reduction education into the school curricula of secondary and tertiary level of education, including the National Service Training Program (NSTP).

“With regard to relating to the Taal eruption as well as other disasters, the DepEd should just make sure that disaster preparedness and response education and training should be given emphasis as prescribed in Section 14 of RA (Republic Act No.) 10121, the DRRM Law,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

Biazon said the Jan. 12 eruption of Taal Volcano should prod Congress to expeditiously act on measures to make the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program mandatory for Grades 11 and 12.

“I would even go further to say that this experience would show that this is one of the justifications for the mandatory ROTC training in schools, wherein organized disaster preparedness and response may be taught, incorporate the youth into an organized structure that may be mobilized in times of disaster and operate within a command system, and set up these units in all localities for quick response.”

There were 14 bills filed in the House of Representatives that called for the establishment of a mandatory two-year basic ROTC program for students enrolled in Grade 11 and 12.

For his part, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, one of the authors of the ROTC bills, said the proposed mandatory ROTC program aims to enhance the capacity of the country to produce the needed manpower and to extend its human resources in times of war, calamities, disasters, and national or local emergencies.

“The aim of the ROTC Program is to ensure the sufficient number of Reserve Officers of our Armed Forces in case augmentation of our Active Forces is necessary. During times of calamity, our AFP renders humanitarian work and may call upon the Reserves to augment such humanitarian work,” he said in a text message.

“Should the AFP ask the current ROTC cadets for civic duty, some numbers are there but it will only be a fraction of help we can give.”

Nograles said the reservists have continuously made significant contributions in providing assistance in relief and rescue work and other civil assistance activities to meet national and local emergencies arising from calamities and disasters.

The Departments of Education, National Defense, and Social Welfare and Development have rallied behind the passage of the measure.

The bill has been certified as urgent by President Duterte.

House leaders — Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu of Batangas and Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur; Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, chairman of the House committee on energy ; Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, chairman of the House committee on accounts; Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero; Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means; Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres, chairperson of the House committee on disaster management; and Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian, chairman of the House committee on trade and industry — have sought the approval of the14 mandatory ROTC bills.

Under the measures, the Department of National Defense, Department of Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are mandated to design and formulate the Program of Institution (POI) on the ROTC program in Grades 11 and 12.

Graduates of the two-year basic ROTC course and who have completed a four-year baccalaureate degree shall be considered first level civil service eligibles, and graduates of the advance ROTC course who finished a four-year degree shall be considered second level civil service eligibles, the bills provide.

The bills seek the creation of a grievance committee comprising a cluster of educational institutions that shall receive complaints and conduct motu proprio probes into any complaint or allegation of abuse, violence, or corruption in any educational institution implementing the basic ROTC program.

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the mandatory ROTC bill during the previous 17th Congress.