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DepEd: Law must be passed first before mandatory ROTC could be implemented

photo courtesy: cpu.edu.ph

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program would be required in Grades 11 and 12, according to the Marcos administration’s proposal. Still, the Department of Education (DepEd) indicated on that legislation must be passed first before such a proposal could be implemented.

DepEd spokesperson Poa said that the agency would be open to any opinion from progressive groups like Akbayan Youth, which earlier criticized the program for being an additional burden to parents.

One of the 19 priority bills listed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25, was mandatory ROTC and a national training program.

To make it mandatory, we actually need to wait for the law to be passed, but we will surely take that into consideration, especially when we meet with Congress and the CHED (Commission on Higher Education) to design the bill’s specific provisions.

Poa said that it was still premature to entertain any argument about the program’s implementation because Congress has yet to pass a bill for its implementation.

Although Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte stated that the DepEd supports the idea of making ROTC mandatory due to its basic concept of nationalism, she would still need to meet with members of Congress and CHED officials to discuss how this will be accomplished.

Reynold Munsayac, a spokesman for Duterte, stated that after concerns were raised that the program would infringe on the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Philippines is a party, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will be tasked with determining the legality and constitutionality of the program.

According to the protocol, no one under the age of 18 may be “compulsorily recruited into the armed forces.”

“Kasi hindi lang naman sa Pilipinas, kahit sa ibang jurisdictions nagkakaroon ng issue, ‘yun conflict between freedom of religion, right ng state na i-defend iyong sarili niya sa pagrerequire ng military service,” Munsayac explained.


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