Dela Rosa vows to refile bill making ROTC mandatory

Published June 26, 2022, 3:03 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Sunday, June 26 said he will refile the bill seeking to make the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory in the 19th Congress.

But Dela Rosa said he is also willing to author a version of the measure that would be proposed by Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Yes, the same bill that I filed during the 18th Congress, ipa-file ko ngayon doon sa (I will file it in the) 19th Congress,” Dela Rosa said in a televised interview.

“At titingnan ko kung mayroong proposal ‘yung Office ng Vice President na gagawin nila, isa-submit sa akin, then I am willing to author such a bill na gusto nila, ‘yung version na gusto ni Vice President Inday Sara (Duterte) (Then I will check the proposal of the OVP, they will submit it to me, then I am willing to author such a bill that they are pushing, the version that VP Inday Sara Duterte wants),” said the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

According to Dela Rosa, the ROTC bill was one of his top priority bills in the 18th Congress. Under the version of the bill he is proposing, the mandatory ROTC program will be introduced in Grades 11 and 12 in both public and private schools, while an advanced ROTC is available in the first two years of higher education for those who want to become officers in the course.

He said making ROTC mandatory is imperative noting that since its removal, the youth’s sense of pride, nationalism, and patriotism have changed.

“At tsaka alam natin, mayroon tayong impending threat galing sa ating mga kapitbahay na mga bansa, ‘yung China, nandiyan palagi ‘yung threat ng China diyan sa ating (And we know that we have an impending threat from our neighbors, especially China, it has always been a threat to our) West Philippine Sea,” Dela Rosa said.

“So, if worse comes to worst, we need, being a very small nation compared to the others, we need a ready reserve to support our regular armed forces in times of crisis,” the senator pointed out.

Dela Rosa lamented that the issue surrounding the proposal of a mandatory ROTC is being exploited by the leftist groups targeting to bring down the government.

He said leftist organizations have been rejecting the return of the ROTC because they are bent on destroying the government.

“So, tayo naman, wala naman tayong agenda kundi magkaroon ng malakas na depensa ‘yung ating bansa at ituloy na maibalik ang ROTC. ‘Yun lang naman at ‘yung disiplina ng ating kabataan ay manumbalik (But on our part, we have no agenda but to make our country’s defense stronger. That’s all, and for discipline among the youth to be reinforced),” he added.

The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief also assured that in his bill there will be no room for corruption and abuses which led to ROTC’s downfall.

One way to do that is to assign military officers, personnel who will handle the ROTC program.

“They must be coming from the best of the best ng military just like ‘yung sa (in the) PMA (Philippine Military Academy)… magagaling para maiwasan talaga ang kalokohan at maganda ang takbo ng programa. So isa ‘yan sa ating babantayan (to avoid corruption and to ensure the program’s implementation is smooth. So we will watch out for it),” Dela Rosa noted.

He also said that his ROTC bill is a mild version compared to the mandatory 2-year military service that the incoming vice president proposed based on initial reports.

“Nakita ko mas mahirap palusutin ‘yan (That would be hard to approve). It will face a stiff opposition,” he pointed out.

“So, ako dito lang ako sa ROTC talaga…Ngayon ibabalik natin with the assurance and with the preparation na hindi na ito mahaluan ng corruption at pang-aabuso like hahantong sa kamatayan, ‘yung hazing na mga nangyayari diyan sa ROTC. So, ‘yan po ang version na gusto kong i-introduce (So I will just pursue the ROTC. We will revive it with the assurance and with the preparation that there would be no corruption or abuse that would end up in death, like the hazing that happened in the past during ROTC activities. So that is the version I intend to introduce),” Dela Rosa stressed.