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A party-list lawmaker on Thursday called on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to make the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for colleges and universities.

Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema said aside from the return of the mandatory ROTC, the Citizen Army Training (CAT) should also be made mandatory for high schools and scouting for elementary schools, as she asked Marcos to include this proposal in his first State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“From 2002-2022, Congress failed to pass into law the many measures for its return. We hope the President can include it in his SONA and make ROTC/CAT/Scouting an urgent measure of this administration,” Cardema said in a statement.

Cardema said Marcos could also temporarily issue an Executive Order (EO) for the return of the mandatory ROTC, which she said is “very timely” now before the start of the classes.

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She cited Singapore as an example, wherein its National Service (NS) inculcated discipline and professionalism among all their male citizens and helped transform their small city-state into a first world country.

In South Korea, she noted, all boys, including movie stars and sons of tycoons and politicians, are all required to serve in the frontlines for two years, which gives a “sense of pride and military preparedness among all male citizens”.

She said Israel has a well-trained citizens army because of its mandatory military training of all Israeli citizens.

“The population (human resource) of the Philippines is far bigger than that of Singapore, Israel, and South Korea. We are a disaster-prone archipelago that is battered annually by an alphabet of typhoons, floods, with consistent earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, and a communist insurgency which we want to end during this administration,” she said.

“With the return of the Mandatory ROTC/CAT/Scouting, we will be orienting the millions of youth now to become a better generation of Filipino Citizens, trained in disaster preparedness, good citizenship, national defense, and in promoting a strong sense of nationalism in all schools, communities, and throughout the entire country,” she added.

Vice President Sara Duterte has been hoping that the revival of ROTC will be included in Marcos Jr.’s priority legislative agenda.

During the campaign, Duterte, who is also the designated Department of Education Secretary, vowed to push for mandatory military service for Filipinos aged 18 years old if she wins as vice president. (PNA)

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