The proposed institutionalization of Basic Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in high school will boost the youth’s capacity as responders in times of disasters.
This is the view of Senator Win Gatchalian as he underscored the need to build on the skills of the youth in responding to disasters such as the recent eruption of Taal Volcano. He emphasized that in his proposal to restore ROTC, disaster preparedness and capacity-building for risk-related situations is given premium.
Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education Arts and Culture, cited the World Risk Report 2019, where the Philippines ranked ninth among 180 countries in terms of disaster risk. This is because the country’s geographic location makes 74 percent of its population vulnerable to the effects of hazards such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, and droughts.
“Napapanahon ang ating panukalang ibalik ang ROTC upang mabigyan ng kaalaman at kakayahan ang ating mga kabataang rumesponde sa mga kalamidad. Bilang mga susunod na mamumuno sa ating bansa, mahalagang maituro ng maaga sa mga kabataan kung paano ba rumesponde sa mga sakuna na madalas tumatama sa ating bansa,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 177 or the Senior High School Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Act last year. Under the proposed measure, basic ROTC for students in Grade 11 and 12 will be part of the basic curricula for Senior High School Education. Aside from military and civic training, basic ROTC enhances students’ skills on needs assessment, search, rescue and relief, and early recovery during disaster response operations.
The lawmaker reiterated how the youth bear the brunt of disasters. Taal Volcano’s eruption, for instance, affected more than 8 million learners in 7,900 schools, according to a situation report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Gatchalian added that if students are skilled in disaster response, they can be mobilized to take part in relief and recovery efforts not just in schools but also in their local communities.