In a resolution, the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) said mandatory ROTC, which was abolished over a decade ago, will instill patriotism among male college students.
It said the current setup under National Service Training Program Act of 2001 has been “insufficient” in instilling “the values of discipline and patriotism required of every citizen.”
The group added that the present setup, where ROTC is only optional and voluntary, “do not address the military training ideally required of every citizen.”
“(More than) 10 years after the abolition of the ROTC as mandatory program, there is now a growing sentiment that the national defense preparedness of our nation has not been served well since the alternative programs in the National Service Training Program are deemed insufficient to inculcate the values of discipline and patriotism required of every citizen and do not address the military training ideally required of every citizen,” AGFO said.
The group also said that “geopolitical developments in the Asia Pacific Region have accentuated the weakness of the Philippine defense posture and exposed the very limited capabilities of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to defend the national sovereignty.”
AGFO is currently headed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, the executive director of the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission.
The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped in 2002 following the passage of Republic Act 9163, an act establishing the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
The law was passed following the March 2001 killing of UST student Mark Wilson Chua allegedly by his ROTC handlers after he exposed the supposed corruption in the ROTC corps.
AGFO, in its resolution, said “there is a need to review and determine the effectiveness of the NSTP in enhancing the defense preparedness of our youth.”
“The revival of ROTC as mandatory program for tertiary students should be considered by government since NSTP is seemingly wanting in attaining its objectives,” it added.
It said a “new and transformed ROTC program should be considered with the appropriate funding and resources provided for its effective administration.”
AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the military welcomes the AGFO resolution, describing it as “very timely.”
“It is something that that should be looked into and considered so we can bring back patriotism and service and love of country inculcated in our youth,” said Zagala in an interview.
Nevertheless, Zagala said that since the current ROTC program is optional , there is a need to enhance it to attract more volunteers. — KBK, GMA News