Senator Win Gatchalian has sought to assure the public that the Senate version of the bill reinstating the Reserve Officers’ Training Course (ROTC) program in senior high school contains sufficient safeguards to protect students against abuse and corruption.
In his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2232, Gatchalian said the establishment of grievance committees, both at the cluster unit and national levels, ensures that there is a reportorial, investigative, and disciplinary mechanism available to address wrongdoings perpetrated under or through the ROTC program, should it be reinstated.
“Under this bill, grievance committees must provide the parties involved with its findings and recommendations within 30 days of receipt of the complaint,” the lawmaker said. “This underscores the urgency and seriousness with which we take the issue of protection against abuse.”
“Likewise, this bill requires that the ROTC program be run hand-in-hand with legal safeguards against hazing, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, bribery, and corruption – in recognition that these problems have plagued the program in the past,” he added.
Gatchalian said ROTC instructors will also be required to undergo a capacity development and enhancement program, which includes gender- and child- sensitivity training programs as well as sessions on relevant domestic laws and other international obligations, to ensure they are held to the highest moral standards as they carry out the program.
“All in all, these benefits and safeguards work together to establish an ROTC program that addresses the country’s needs while helping develop the youth’s collective potential and ensuring their protection from abuse and corruption at the same time,” Gatchalian said.
The former Valenzuela City mayor and congressman said the re-institutionalization of the ROTC in educational institutions throughout the country will arm students with the discipline that they will need as they take over the reins of leadership and service.
“The revival of the mandatory basic ROTC program will inculcate discipline in our youth through the enhancement of the values of leadership, camaraderie, and sacrifice for common objectives,” he said. “The program will also be designed around the ideals of patriotism and nationalism, all while emphasizing on respect for human rights and the strengthening of ethical and spiritual values.”
He noted that “an overwhelming majority” of Filipinos support the revival of ROTC.
A nationwide survey conducted by Pulse Asia in December 2018 revealed that 80 percent of Filipinos were in favor of proposals to implement ROTC either in senior high school or college, or in both levels.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has also voiced her support for the reimposition of ROTC.