LIST: Mandatory ROTC among BBM's priority measures in SONA 2022

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is pushing Congress to make the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program mandatory in the senior high school level, echoing his ally Vice President Sara Duterte's call.

In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos asked solons to pass the bill on mandatory ROTC in both public and private senior high schools.

"The aim is to motivate, train, organize, and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations," he said.

Duterte, who also sits as Department of Education Secretary, earlier said he is hoping the Marcos administration will include mandatory ROTC training as one of its priority legislative agendas.

In 2019, the House of Representatives approved on final reading the bill mandating senior high school students to take up mandatory ROTC training which serves as a requirement for graduation. This was after repeated calls from former President Rodrigo Duterte for mandatory ROTC training to "instill patriotism."

ROTC became only optional in college after the National Service Training Program Act of 2001 was enacted into law in 2002.

The law was passed following the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua after he exposed the corruption within the school's ROTC program.

Aside from the mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12, Marcos also asked Congress to pass 18 other priority measures of his administration:

- National Government Rightsizing Program  According to Marcos, the rightsizing will entail a comprehensive strategic review of the functions, operations, organizations, systems, and processes of different government agencies.

- Budget Monetization Bill The proposed measure seeks to institutionalize a cashbased budgeting system. Marcos said that the delivery of such measure is "timely and vital" as the government is working on response and recovery plans post-pandemic.

- Tax Package 3: Valuation Reform Bill It seeks to establish real property valuation standards nationwide and develop Real Property Information System.

- Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act This bill seeks to adopt a regionally competitive tax system.

- E-Government Act This bill seeks for the establishment of the E-Government Master Plan which shall cover all e-government services and processes.

- Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law It aims to regulate commercial activities in the internet to ensure consumer rights and protection of data privacy.

- Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery This measure seeks to provide financial assistance to distressed businesses critical to economic recovery through the programs of the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Philippine Guarantee Corporation.

- Medical Reserve Corps The Medical Reserve Corps shall be composed of licensed doctors, medical students and graduates, registered nurses, and other licensed health professionals.

- National Disease Prevention Management Authority This proposed measure seeks to create the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control as an attached agency to the Department of Health.

- Virology Institute of the Philippines This will establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines as an attached agency to the Department of Science and Technology.

- Department of Water Resources The Department of Water Resources and Management will adopt the Integrated Water Resource Management framework for national water management and policymaking.

- Unified System of Separation, Retirement, and Pension It grants a monthly disability pension, in lieu of disability benefits provided under existing laws for military and uniformed personnel who retired due to disability.

- E-Governance Act This promotes the use of internet and intranet for opportunities.

- National Land Use Act This provides for a rational and holistic management and development of the country's land and water resources.

- National Defense Act This bill seeks to amend the National Defense Act of 1935 and change the military structure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is "more responsive to current and future non-conventional security threats to the country's territorial integrity and national sovereignty."

- Enactment of an Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry It aims to develop a midstream natural gas industry.

- Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act This bill seeks to restructure the Energy Regulation Commission and address the high cost of electricity in the country.

- Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law This aims to improve the implementation of the public-private partnership program.