Dela Rosa to push for mandatory ROTC bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 26) — Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa will refile his bill seeking to make the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory.

In a statement Sunday, Dela Rosa said he is committed to refiling his bill in the 19th Congress.

"That’s number two in my list of the top 10 priority bills na isa-submit ko (that I will submit) on our first session day sa (in the) 19th Congress," he said.

The lawmaker said the Philippines really needs to restore such a measure as "the youth’s sense of pride, nationalism, and patriotism have changed."

He also mentioned the "impending threat" from China due to the West Philippine Sea dispute.

"Being a very small nation compared to the others, we need a ready reserve to support our regular armed forces in times of crisis," he added.

The bill seeks to impose the ROTC program in Grades 11 and 12, covering public and private schools. An advanced ROTC would also be introduced in the first two years of higher education, targeting individuals who would like to become officers in the course.

Dela Rosa also expressed openness to author a version of the measure that will be proposed by Vice President-elect Sara Duterte.

Last week, the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte said she was hopeful the mandatory ROTC training would be one of the priority legislative agendas of the Marcos administration.