SOURCE OF MILITARY OFFICERS. University of Professor Antonio Esmero, an Army reservist lieutenant colonel and head of the 701st Cebu Ready Reserve Battalion, delivers his message as the graduates of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and members of the faculty in Lapu-Lapu City College listen. (Photo contributed by Lt. Col. Antonio Esmero)
CEBU CITY — Mandatory reserve officer training corps (ROTC) in senior high school will bring the country into safer hands with future military organization that has a mixture of officers from both the civilian schools and the military academy, a professor who is also a senior reservist officer, said on Saturday.
Professor Antonio Esmero said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) picks its officers to supervise the 25,000-strong military organization from graduates of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and other sources with civilian elements.
One of the civilian source of AFP officers, he said, is the ROTC whose products are not graduates of the PMA but are college students who choose not to pursue their respective professions because of their passion to serve the armed forces. Other source of military officers is the Officer Candidate School (OCS).
Esmero, a lieutenant colonel of the Army reserve and current commander of the 701st Cebu Ready Reserve Battalion, said ROTC helps ensure stability within the ranks of officers in the current military setup in the country and makes the nation safer in the hands of diversified personalities who wear the same uniform.
“Being a citizen soldier, he or she asserts that a democratic nation like ours is safer if some of its military officers are selected from a broad range of citizens, rather than from a professional elite trained only at military academies like the Philippine Military Academy,” Esmero told the graduates, professors, and students of the Lapu-Lapu City College during the graduation rites for the school’s ROTC cadets.
He said that training students to become future officers of the armed forces is “an acceptable mechanism for bringing such a diverse group of citizens (like us) into the military.”
The training provides an educational experience that is significantly different from what they get from the PMA, he said. “Sige sila og tuon sa siyensiya sa panggubatan, kita sa ROTC nagtuon kita og siyensiya sa katawhan. We humanize the combat life. And we go to combat with humanity in our mind,” he said.
The engineering professor said that young people who underwent ROTC have high sense of "patriotism and nationalism.”
If ever ROTC becomes mandatory, he said the country will produce “citizens who love his Republic and who thinks first the altruistic concern over other concerns.”
He stressed that graduates of ROTC in different schools are prove to be loyal citizens of the country, citing their heroism in previous wars.
He lamented the negative result of Republic Act 9163, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, that makes ROTC as optional component, along with Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS), as many colleges and universities “are not keen on making ROTC as its major NSTP program” in favor of CWTS.
A professor of the University of San Jose Recoletos, Esmero underwent military school such as the General Staff Course (GSC) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, along with another government officials such as former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. (PNA)