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Gatchalian inclined to endorse mandatory ROTC

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on education has terminated its hearings on the proposed mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high schools, with its head saying he is likely to recommend its approval.

“Tapos na itong ROTC (This is done). What we will do next is technical working group para makumpleto na ang batas (to complete the law),” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the committee, told reporters after terminating the hearing on Monday.

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“I’m inclined to recommend,” Gatchalian added, noting that many stakeholders are in favor of the ROTC revival.

He said he would likely recommend the mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12 or senior high school — both public and private.

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“Ito naman ay para sa kabutihan ng buong bansa natin at dapat makita nila na ito’y ginagawa natin para sa kabutihan ng lahat at kung marami silang matutunan, may disiplina makakabuti ito sa ating bansa,” said the senator.

(This is for the benefit of our country. They must see that we are doing this for the benefit of everybody. Discipline will improve our country.)

Gatchalian said the proposed ROTC revival would also help students learn other skills such as disaster-preparedness and providing first-aid.

Even the situation in the West Philippine Sea, he said, is considered in the proposed ROTC revival.

“That’s a consideration,” he said, “In fact, one of the biggest consideration is preparedness in any event. It can be an event of war, it can be a disaster; it can be  simple road accidents sa barangay mo (in your village). So this is really training the youth to prepare.”

But even if the committee approves the measure, Gatchalian said it could not be enacted into law under this Congress.

“Yung batas , for sure ako next Congress na yan. Hindi kakayanin this Congress kasi nakita namin na marami pang aayusin sa batas,” he said.

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(The law will be passed next Congress. This Congress cannot finish it because there are still many bills lined up.)

When it resumes work in May, Congress will only have nine session days.

“I don’t think in nine days maaprubahan itong batas na ito (I don’t think this bill will be approved in nine days),” Gatchalian further said.

During the hearing, however, Brigade General Rolando Rodil, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), disclosed the government’s plan to implement a two-year pilot test of this program next school year.

The pilot test, he said, would be implemented in 100 public senior high schools. /ee

READ: Gov’t eyes pilot implementation of mandatory ROTC next school year 

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