Duterte approves mandatory ROTC for Senior High students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte approved the restoration of the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide.

In a Facebook post, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the President approved the mandatory ROTC after thorough discussion with members of the Cabinet on Tuesday.

He said the proposal "will now be forwarded to Congress and Senate and certified as urgent by President Duterte."

Piñol said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana presented an amendment for Republic Act 7077 or the "Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act” to make ROTC mandatory.

The Agriculture Secretary also quoted Lorenzana, saying that "ROTC instills patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to Constitution."

Piñol said the Anti-Hazing Law will be strictly implemented to "avoid hazing deaths" and will be one of the measures to safeguard the mandatory ROTC.

The implementation of mandatory ROTC stopped in 2001 when University of Santo Tomas student and ROTC member Mark Welson Chua was found dead after exposing the alleged corruption in his unit.

The ROTC has since been offered as an optional program under the National Service Training Program (NSTP) through Republic Act 9163.

Other components of NSTP include the Civic Welfare Training Service, which requires students to participate in community service programs, and the Literary Training Service, which allows students to teach basic skills in public schools.