JV backs revival of ROTC but Pia Cayetano says gov't should focus on STEM-related courses

Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito threw his support behind a move to reinstate the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for the first two years in tertiary schools in the Philippines to instill patriotism, discipline and respect for authorities to the Filipino youth.

During the public hearing of the Subcommittee on the "Revitalized Reserve Officers Training Corps Act" of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education chaired by Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Ejercito said: "I am a proud ROTC graduate."

"I did not apply for exemption even when it was available. I went through the rigorous training. Instead of hanging out on those Fridays and Saturdays, I endured the heat of the sun and learned much from the ROTC,’’ he stressed.

"I’m proud to say that it has helped hone me to the person I am today," Ejercito said in a mix of English and Filipino.

But Senator Pia Cayetano disagreed.

Cayetano pointed out that ROTC is not the only best way forward to instill the values of unity, camaraderie, and love for the country to Filipinos.

“I would prefer... that we continue to invest in the education of the youth for STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses where they could be able to develop our own strengths,” she said

Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, wanted to focus on various areas of the proposals including the coverage, curriculum, registration and incentives.

He said his committee looks forward to creating a consolidated bill that would "make this nation great as we invest in our youth through the reinstitution of the ROTC Program."

Department of Defense (DND) DND Undersecretary Franco Gacal emphasized that "to run this program is really enormous."

He was referring to funding and resources.

The resources could be reservists or soldiers who will train the students.

Dela Rosa, however, pressed for the adoption of the ROTC and rejects the current National Sericice Trining program (NSTP) set up where students could elect to be enrolled in ROTC or community service.