BATTING FOR MANDATORY ROTC. Former Interior and Local Government secretary, now aspiring senator Rafael Alunan III speaks about the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program that President Rodrigo Duterte wished to be compulsory for Grades 11 and 12 (senior high school) students, during the 888 forum in Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City, March 5, 2019. (Photo by John Rey Saavedra)
CEBU CITY -- Former Interior secretary, now senatorial aspirant, Rafael Alunan III said Tuesday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should tap only professional trainors in teaching the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) subject in schools.
“When the ROTC is restored (as a mandatory subject), the obligation of the AFP is to send professional trainors,” he said during the 888 forum at the Marco Polo Hotel here.
According to Alunan, the problem of the ROTC program before it became optional under the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Law (Republic Act 9163), is not with the system but with the people handling it.
The ROTC became non-compulsory in 2001 under the NSTP program in colleges and universities due to corruption allegations and hazing.
Alunan said he believes that if the armed forces will allow only professional trainors in handling ROTC programs if it becomes a compulsory subject for Grades 11 and 12 based on President Rodrigo Duterte's intention, it will make a big difference.
He added that the country needs ROTC as it is a “good reservoir of talent for the AFP’s non-commissioned officers (NCO) and commissioned officers (CO).”
“When the ROTC became a non-compulsory subject in college, the big hole in the AFP’s NCOs and COs became bigger,” he explained in Filipino.
As in other countries, the reserve officers training in college is the primary source of reservists.
Himself an ROTC product, Alunan, however, observed that reservists who are reporting as “Sunday warriors” are already in their old age because of the big gap created when the program became optional for male college students.
“It’s a serious problem,” he said.
Alunan also said the national government should work hard to make the army, navy, air force, and coast guard stronger to deter “any invading force.”
“The threats are both internal and external. We are already infiltrated as a nation. If something goes wrong, we can expect the trouble right here kasi infiltrated na tayo (because we are already infiltrated),” he said.
Alunan said he also favors a two-year mandatory military service for all male Filipinos aged at least 20, who have not taken ROTC in college.
He cited that Israel, Singapore, and South Korea have successful mandatory military service.
“We need to build leaders, instill in them discipline, love of country, and sense of service to people and country,” Alunan said.
“You can serve the country in many ways. But national defense is a national defense (that) when trouble begins you need people, you need citizens who will lay their lives in the line for ‘inang laya’, para sa pamilyang Pilipino (mother freedom, for the Filipino family),” he said. (PNA)