MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) after its proposed implementation in Senior High School (SHS) passed the third and final reading at the House of Representatives.
In a statement on Thursday, the DepEd said a series of consultations and discussions with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) about the ROTC implementation resulted in the signing of a memorandum of agreement between them.
A joint technical working group and a joint secretariat were created as a result of the MOA, as well as the conceptualization of the Advanced Citizen Training Program (ACTP), pending the passage of the law reviving mandatory ROTC.
Also drafted were curriculum guide and modules, ACTP implementing policies and guidelines; listing of pilot schools; training of potential pilot program implementors; and development of common positions at congressional hearings.
The DepEd also proposed to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who filed Senate Bill 200 seeking to re-institutionalize ROTC, the following:
- establishment of grievance committees from districts to the national level;
- Joint Congressional Oversight Committee and mandatory evaluation and review;
- imposition of maximum penalty for offenses under existing laws committed by implementors;
- ROTC instructors’ academy;
- pilot program implementation to limited number of schools in the first two years of implementation;
- authorization to use existing budget for pilot implementation prior to inclusion in the annual General Appropriations Act;
- allocation of special annual budget to cover implementation, such as but not limited to training of instructors;
- uniforms for instructors and students;
- replica firearms; manuals and textbooks;
- office facilities and supplies;
- classroom and ground maintenance;
- instructors’ remuneration, etc.; and
- Joint DepEd-DND/AFP supervision and administration of the mandatory ROTC Program.
Earlier, the senator said he supports the return of ROTC as it is a “powerful means of instilling patriotism and discipline in the Filipino youth.”
The DepEd also emphasized the inclusion of important values and lessons in the ROTC curriculum and implementation.
These are patriotism, nationalism, national heroes and history of the Filipino nation, Filipino citizenship, civic duty, discipline, respect for human and civil rights, rule of law, law enforcement, critical thinking, leadership, scientific and technological development, disaster preparedness and response, rescue and first aid, and recovery and rehabilitation, ecology and environment protection, and anti-drug abuse and anti-poverty.
On Wednesday, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, in a press briefing in Malacañang, said she is personally in favor of the revival of ROTC for SHS students.
“I think we need ROTC now so that we have a source of defense. We cannot be relying on other countries to defend us. We have to rely on ourselves,” she said. (PNA)