PNA file photo

House Assistant Majority Leader Eduardo Gullas said he supports presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s plan for all able-bodied Filipinos to serve in the military when they reach the age of 18 as it will provide them new skills and reinforce their abilities to deal with the demands and challenges in life.

“Military service for our youth is great for nation-building,” said Gullas, who represents Cebu province’s first district in Congress, in a statement on Sunday.

“Besides improving in a big way our national defense preparedness, military service will also instill in young Filipinos a deeper sense of duty to country,” the former Cebu provincial governor added.

Sara earlier said if elected vice president, she would use her office to persuade Congress to pass a new law requiring all fit Filipinos to perform military service, just like in Israel and South Korea.

“The proposal is even better than our bill that seeks to revive the mandatory military education and training program for male college students,” Gullas said.

Gullas is the author of House Bill 1788, which seeks to reinstate the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in all private and public higher education institutions.

Under the bill, the ROTC program shall be applicable to all male students enrolled in all colleges and universities.

The program shall form part of the curricula of all baccalaureate degree courses as well as two-year technical-vocational courses as a requisite for graduation.

Female students may likewise undergo the program on a voluntary basis.

As proposed by Gullas, the ROTC program shall have two phases. The first two years — the basic course — shall be mandatory. The second two years or the advance course shall be voluntary.

The program of instruction shall be prescribed by the Department of National Defense for the purpose of producing enlisted reservists (for those who completed the basic course) and officer reservists (for those who completed the advance course).

The ROTC program used to be compulsory for all male college students until it was made optional under the National Service Training Program Law of 2002, or Republic Act 9163.