Senator Bato Dela Rosa is set to refile his mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) bill in the 19th Congress, which will open on July 25, 2022, although he expressed willingness to author a version of the measure that will be proposed by Vice President-elect Sara Duterte.
“Yes, the same bill that I filed during the 18th Congress, ipa-file ko ngayon doon sa 19th Congress. At titingnan ko kung mayroong proposal ‘yung Office ng Vice President na gagawin nila, isa-submit sa akin, then I am willing to author such a bill na gusto nila, ‘yung version na gusto ni Vice President Inday Sara (Duterte),” Dela Rosa said in an interview over SMNI.
The ROTC bill was one of the top 10 priority bills of the legislator in the 18th Congress.
“That’s number two in my list of the top 10 priority bills na isa-submit ko on our first session day sa 19th Congress.”
“That’s number two in my list of the top 10 priority bills na isa-submit ko on our first session day sa 19th Congress,” the lawmaker said.
Under the senator’s proposal, the mandatory ROTC program will be introduced in Grades 11 and 12 in both public and private schools, while an advanced ROTC is available in the first two years of higher education for those who want to become officers in the course.
He said mandatory ROTC has to return as he noted that since its removal, the youth’s sense of pride, nationalism, and patriotism have changed.
“At tsaka alam natin, mayroon tayong impending threat galing sa ating mga kapitbahay na mga bansa, ‘yung China, nandiyan palagi ‘yung threat ng China diyan sa ating West Philippine Sea. So, worse comes to worst, we need, being a very small nation compared to the others, we need a ready reserve to support our regular armed forces in times of crisis,” Dela Rosa said.
He said that the issue of the return of mandatory ROTC is being exploited by the leftist groups targeting to bring down the government.
“Yes, talagang ine-exploit ng kabilang grupo ‘yan, ng mga makakaliwang grupo dahil ano bang purpose or main objective ng makakaliwa? ‘Di ba, to destroy the government?… So, paano nila maagaw kung mayroon tayong strong na Armed Forces, may strong tayo na reserve military force?… Ayaw na ayaw talaga nilang maibalik ang ROTC,” Dela Rosa stressed.
“So, tayo naman, wala naman tayong agenda kundi magkaroon ng malakas na depensa ‘yung ating bansa at ituloy na maibalik ang ROTC. ‘Yun lang naman at ‘yung disiplina ng ating kabataan ay manumbalik,” he added.
The former top cop assured that in his bill, there will be no room for corruption and abuses which led to ROTC’s downfall.
“Para maiwasan na ‘yung mga issues that led to the downfall of ROTC in the past ay kailangan, number one diyan, ‘yung ma-assign na military officers, military personnel na magha-handle sa ROTC program…they must be coming from the best of the best ng military just like ‘yung sa PMA… magagaling para maiwasan talaga ang kalokohan at maganda ang takbo ng programa. So isa ‘yan sa ating babantayan,” Dela Rosa noted.
Dela Rosa said that his ROTC bill is a mild version compared to the mandatory 2-year military service that the incoming vice president proposed based on initial reports.
“Mas mild itong aking version, kumpara mo doon sa version na, I have heard, if I’m correct, ‘yung version ni Vice President Inday Sara, di ko siya pangungunahan… ‘yung aking narinig ay ‘yung talagang mandatory military training to all the youth like the Korea, Singapore versions (na) kailangan na drafting talaga, two years drafting doon sa military, which ako, nakita ko mas mahirap palusutin ‘yan. It will face a stiff opposition,” he said.
“Ibabalik natin (ang ROTC) with the assurance and with the preparation na hindi na ito mahaluan ng corruption at pang-aabuso like hahantong sa kamatayan.”
“So, ako dito lang ako sa ROTC talaga…Ngayon ibabalik natin with the assurance and with the preparation na hindi na ito mahaluan ng corruption at pang-aabuso like hahantong sa kamatayan, ‘yung hazing na mga nangyayari diyan sa ROTC. So, ‘yan po ang version na gusto kong i-introduce,” Dela Rosa concluded.