Padilla: We are reinstating ROTC to defend PH independence, freedom

Senator Robinhood C. Padilla reminded the youth about the importance of military training in ensuring the country's preparedness for any threat or eventuality.

During Monday, February 6 hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, Padilla said the Philippines has been in war many times - thus, it is very important to prepare the youth to make sure the Philippines is not conquered.

“My suggestion is, let our youth be prepared for anything that may come because historically we have not quite rested from war. We may have had years of peace, but the threat is still there,” Padilla said in Filipino.

“Now, I have only one reminder. This is why we are returning this Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) so that we will not be under any foreign power. We must be independent, we will not be commanded by any foreign country, and we are doing this to defend our independence, our freedom, and above all we are Filipinos,” he added.

Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino, on the other hand said that while he agrees with the suggestion that the country's basic education system needs some rectifications, it should not affect proposals to reinstate ROTC.

Tolentino maintained that having a good education is not a requirement for military training, but it can go hand in hand.

“It (basic education) is not a requirement to love your country. It is not required that you have a high grade in algebra or even in basic English,’’he stressed.

‘’To love your country should be inherent as a Filipino,” he added.

Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Department of National Defense (DND) strongly supports the reinstitution of the ROTC program as a mandatory component in all public and private tertiary education institutions and in technical-vocational institutions.

He said the revival of the mandatory ROTC program would further “motivate, train, organize and mobilize” the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations.