CITING today’s youth’s lack of patriotism and nationalism, Senator Richard Gordon has filed a bill proposing to require all college students and those of technical vocational courses to undergo basic citizen service training.
Gordon’s Senate Bill No. 1417, or the Citizen Service Act of 2017, which had been referred to the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture as primary committee and the Committees on Youth and Finance as secondary committees in May last year, practically called for the revival of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
The senator explained that the Constitution recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and it also seeks to promote protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.
Likewise noting that the country faces a buffet of disasters, both natural and man-made, Gordon stressed the importance of having an army of reserved officers who could be called upon and mobilized to assist in matters of external and territorial defense, internal security and peace and order, and disaster risk reduction and management.
SBN 1417 proposes to require basic citizen service training, establish the citizen service corps, and create the citizen service commission to create a pool of trained members of the Corps who can render personal military or civil service in times of war, lawlessness, and calamities and disasters.
The bill provides that full time basic citizen service training (Basic Training) for at least six weeks will be voluntary for all Filipino citizens and mandatory for all Filipino students, male and female, enrolled in baccalaureate degree courses or technical vocational courses. All Filipino citizens, who are at least 18 years of age and had completed the Basic Training, will form part of the citizens’ service corps.
Word of caution
Senator Sonny Angara said that he sees nothing wrong in the revival of the ROTC program but cautioned the government against possible abuses primarily against hazing which was the reason why the program was abolished in the past.
“Wala akong nakikitang masama kung ibabalik ang mandatory ROTC program para sa mga Grade 11 at 12 kung ang layunin nito ay paigtingin ang military reserve force ng bansa at bigyang kasanayan ang mga mag-aaral na magagamit nila hindi lamang sa panahon ng digmaan ngunit sa panahon din ng sakuna,” Angara said.