Galvez clarifies ‘ROTC as cure for mental health’ statement

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 7) – Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Carlito Galvez Jr. has clarified that his statement that the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program is a “cure for mental health” meant “strengthening character and resilience” of trainees.

Galvez made the statement during a Senate hearing on Monday where he expressed support for bills seeking to make the ROTC mandatory.

“‘Yun ang pagkakaiba po sa NSTP (National Service Training Program), ang experience training talaga pong naisasapuso niya po ang lahat ng ginagawa niya. ‘Yung survival instinct nandoon. So ‘yung sinasabi nating mental problem, it can be cured, kasi ‘yung frustration tolerance ng tao, tataas,” he said.

[Translation: It’s difference with the NSTP is the experience training that is being taken by heart. The survival instinct is there. So the mental health problem, it can be cured because one’s tolerance to frustration will be high.]

In another statement, Galvez said he understands the issues raised by experts on the improper use of the word “cure” and tried to address “misconceptions.”

“What we intended to convey during the (Senate) hearing was that through our enhanced ROTC Program, we would be able to build the strength of character and resilience of our trainees, qualities which positively foster mental health,” he explained.

He added that as a policy, the program aims to develop “basic psychosocial support competencies that are crucial in responding to stressful situations and contexts.”

The DND chief also said the program “fosters resilience, self-leadership, character-building, and discipline.”

“We believe these are virtues that our trainees must cultivate not only for their personal growth and development as individuals, but more importantly, enable them to play a key role in building a just, humane, and democratic society,” he added.

He also noted that the DND will “carefully take into account the spirit of RA 11036 (Mental Health Act of 2018) and the issues raised by our mental health experts in the crafting of our ROTC Training Program.”