The naval reserve force in the province has expressed willingness to take the lead in handling the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high students in “public schools” in Puerto Princesa City and municipalities in Palawan, following Malacañang’s renewed call for Congress to prioritize the passing of the mandatory program.
Naval Reserve Center-West (NRCW) Palawan commanding officer Lt. Colonel Leo Frincillo said they are willing to help handle the ROTC which aims to provide military education and training to mobilize students for national defense preparedness.
Frincillo said ROTC is beneficial, particularly in times of national emergency, because the students can serve as force multipliers of the regular forces.
He said it is important for young students to learn some military-related skills and aptitudes so they can serve their country when they are needed.
“Kung hindi i-prioritize ang ROTC darating ang punto na pagdating ng emergency, maraming hindi marunong humawak ng baril. Kaya kailangan talaga na habang estudyante pa lang sila ay equipped na sila and ready to augment the regular forces once na mayroong national emergency,” he said.
Frincillo said they will train the students based on the principles and guidelines of the law if the ROTC is reinstated.
He said they will possibly focus on Palawan National School (PNS), depending on the situation.
Frincillo said that they will also coordinate with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Education (DepEd).
“May designated schools na kami kung saan ‘yan ang tututukan namin, halimbawa ‘yong Palawan National School. Depende ‘yan sa school kung hindi pa nakapag-designate ang president/principal ay mag-re-request sila. Then e-endorse namin sa taas (headquarters),” he said.
Currently, the NRCW is handling the ROTC program of the Palawan State University (PSU) and Palawan Polytechnic College, Incorporated (PPCI).
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call on Congress to urgently pass the mandatory ROTC in private and public high schools in the country to promote “gallantry, bravery, and spirit of volunteerism among the Filipino youth”.
He certified the ROTC program as urgent, mandating K to 12 students to undergo basic military training (BMT) to enhance their sense of nationalism and patriotism.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the measure to revive ROTC, but the Senate failed to pass its version of the bill.