Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III today said it has become indispensable for the government to mobilize the youth in the service of the country due to growing calamities and security threats that have confronted the people.
Pimentel said he fully supports the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to reintroduce the defunct Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) through a similar training program in the school curriculum for the youth.
He said he has filed Senate Bill No. 1322 recently to institute a Citizen Service Training Course (CSTC), establishing a Citizen Service Corps (CSC) and creating a Citizen Service Mobilization Commission (CSMC).
The legislation gained urgency, he said, because of various emergencies and contingencies, both natural and man-made calamities, plus national and internal security threats that have confronted the people in recent years.
The Constitution, he said, recognizes “the vital role of the youth in nation-building and encourages the State to inculcate in them patriotism and nationalism and to encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”
The proposed measure is designed to establish a comprehensive framework for the training and mobilization of the youth in order to instil a sense of patriotism and develop their love for country.
When approved, he said, the law would draw the youth into the mainstream of national life by providing avenues for their participation in public and civic affairs through the establishment of the CSTC.
The CSTC mandates a Basic Citizen Training Course for all tertiary-level students enrolled in baccalaureate degree courses or technical vocational courses in all public and private colleges, universities and similar learning institutions, said Pimentel.
It would also retain external and territorial defense training as a foundational component, akin to envisioned goal on the creation of the ROTC under Republic Act 7077, as amended, he added.
Pimentel said the course would be expanded to include trainings in internal security, law and order and disaster risk reduction and management similar to the NSTP under RA 9163.
The controversies involving abuse and corrupt practices that have marred the ROTC and NSTP programs in the past, Pimentel said, are also addressed in his bill through the institution of safeguards.
These are the creation of the CSMC to audit the utilization of fees collected for the CSTC, and to investigate cases of corruption, graft, hazing, sexual harassment, and other abuses in the program.