To prevent abuses in the proposed revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in schools, the Department of Education (DepEd) is pushing for the creation of an “ROTC Instructors Academy”.
DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said the academy will require ROTC instructors, who are members of the DepEd, Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), to undergo capacity-building training to protect students from abuses such as hazing and corruption.
Pascua said this proposal has already been incorporated in the Senate version of the proposed revival of mandatory military training through Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the sub-committee on the ROTC bills.
“DepEd has proposed and it is already incorporated in the Senate version an Instructors Academy, an ROTC Instructors Academy where all those who will be teaching ROTC, whether coming from the AFP or coming from DepEd or coming from DND, they will be undergoing a capacity-building training so that all the necessary laws, policies, guidelines and approaches will be given to them,” Pascua said.
“These are the measures/mechanisms to ensure that our students will not be subject to abuse,” he added.
Pascua said his agency is also proposing the establishment of “grievance committees” from the district level up to the national level which will have investigatory and prosecution functions.
Moreover, he said there is also the suggestion of creating a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee where DepEd and DND will jointly report every year in the pilot implementation phase, and even in the first year of full implementation.
At least 100 public and private high schools nationwide will be part of the two-year pilot program for the proposed mandatory military training.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, for her part, said she is personally in favor of the revival of ROTC for senior high school 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,” Briones said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier welcomed the passage of mandatory ROTC bill in the House of Representatives on a 167-4-0 vote.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to pass a bill reinstating mandatory military training for senior high school students to instill patriotism and love of country.
The mandatory ROTC program for college students started in 1912 but was made optional and voluntary in 2002 after some cadets died from hazing, including University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua, who exposed corruption in the organization. (PNA)