Reservist responders

February 22, 2019

Reserve Officer’s Training Corps cadets are not only strictly trained for combat duty.

True, they are standby force to replenish the regular Army when the need arises.

But these ROTC units can be tapped for peaceful, humanitarian, and even development programs and projects.

As natural disasters regularly strike the country, these reserve troops can come in handy when these calamities occur, particularly typhoons, floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Military reservist units can play a major role in rescue and relief operations during disasters, an official of the Armed Forces (AFP) said.

If needed, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) can be mobilized to augment regular military units conducting relief operations, AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said.

"They (ROTC units) can serve as our ready reserve and warm bodies in case of disasters. (They can act as) force multipliers," he said in a text message.

Lawmakers are pushing to revive the mandatory ROTC training, saying that the program develops a "strong sense of discipline and purpose" among the youth.

ROTC used to be a compulsory course for male college students but it was turned into an optional course following reports of anomalies in the program.

Training reservists on disaster and relief operations and rehabilitation can prepare them to respond to natural and man-made calamities that often hit the country.

Earlier, the Department of National Defense said the mandatory ROTC bill is not “military-centric” but focused on values formation.

House of Representatives Bill No. 8961, which seeks to amend for the purpose, Republic Act No. 7077 or the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act, has been approved on second reading.

It has three major aspects in the program of instruction:

• enhancing students' consciousness "in the ethics of service, patriotism and nationalism, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop personal discipline and leadership, and to encourage creative thinking for scientific and technological development";

• basic military training to "motivate, train, organize, and utilize for national defense preparedness or civil-military operations"; and

• civic training for the "development of and improvement of health, education, ecology and environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and management, human and civil rights awareness, and law enforcement."