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Senator Gatchalian commends Duterte for prioritizing ROTC revival

Then-congressman Win Gatchalian talks about the Mandatory ROTC Act, a bill he filed during the 16th Congress to restore the mandatory ROTC program in colleges and universities, during the ROTC Summit in UP Diliman, November 2015. Senator Gatchalian has refiled this measure in the 17th Congress as Senate Bill No. 200, citing the country’s mounting need to strengthen its reservist force amidst territorial tensions. (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

Senator Win Gatchalian commended President Rodrigo Duterte for his push to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for college students, saying that the program would be vital to instilling patriotism in the youth and shoring up the country’s defense capabilities.

Gatchalian’s comments came after Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said earlier this week that the Duterte administration was planning to send draft legislation to Congress to reinstate mandatory ROTC, fourteen years after Congress repealed the mandatory aspect of the program.

“ROTC is a powerful means of instilling patriotism and discipline in the youth of this nation. I fully support the Duterte administration’s drive to reinstate mandatory ROTC in all colleges and universities,” Gatchalian said.

A staunch supporter of reviving mandatory ROTC since his days in the House of Representatives, Gatchalian had already filed Senate Bill No. 200, the Mandatory ROTC Act, on June 30.

Gatchalian’s bill would require all students enrolled in colleges, universities, and technical and vocational schools to undergo two years of military and civic training while completing their studies.

A member of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Gatchalian also pointed out that building a strong military reservist force would be essential to enhancing the country’s defense capabilities in light of mounting tensions in the West Philippine Sea dispute.

“Mandatory ROTC will help shore up the ranks of our military in the face of continued aggression by regional rivals. We must be prepared to defend Philippine sovereignty at all costs,” Gatchalian said.