Press Release
August 10, 2023


Senator Chiz Escudero asked the proponents of Senate Bill 2034 to present a scientific study to validate that the current National Service Training Program (NSTP) is a "total failure" hence, the proposal to replace it with the reinstatement of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.

The senator said a formal study based on facts is necessary to convince the public that there is a need to scrap the NSTP, which was created under Republic Act 9613, and make ROTC a mandatory requirement for all students.

During yesterday's interpellation at the plenary session, Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, the bill's sponsor, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has determined that the NSTP Law has failed, a conclusion that he strongly agrees with.

Escudero, however, pointed out that if the bill is to be passed into law, this should be backed up by formal studies and not just some informal statements from pro-ROTC advocates.

"Can the gentleman furnish me a copy of a study, not merely the position of the (CHED) Chair but a study that says NSTP actually failed," added Escudero, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education.

In defending SB 2034, Dela Rosa told his colleagues that the NSTP law failed because "it is not producing the needed reserved force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and it fails to achieve its envisioned goal, which is to organize a national reserve corps that can also be mobilized in times of disaster and calamities."

To which, Escudero retorted: "I'm asking for a study with respect to number one, the success or if at all, the failure of the ROTC before the NSTP law; and number two, a study, a review, or findings based on evidence and facts that the NSTP was indeed a failure."

"I have yet to see a study based on facts and evidence that indeed it is a failure, and indeed ROTC is better because you have to remember that ROTC is still a part of the NSTP at present."

Under the NSTP Program, both male and female college students are required to undergo one of three program components for an academic period of two semesters. The students, however, are free to choose which particular program to take. The three NSTP Program components are the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS), Literacy Training Service (LTS) and the ROTC.

Escudero likewise questioned the claim of Dela Rosa that the mandatory ROTC will effectively instill patriotism as well as equip the Filipino youth to defend and fight for the country if necessary.

"We were taught to march, we were taught to stand, we were taught to carry 'yong mga garand rifle pa at that time," Escudero recalled as he shared his experience in undergoing the military training program which was called Citizen's Military Training (CMT) during his time.

"But I didn't feel like I was equipped enough to defend my country because of those two years in college, once a week every Saturday," he argued.

SB 2034 mandates that all students enrolled in not less than two-year undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate programs in Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) and Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) will undertake the ROTC for four semesters.

Aside from the CHED, SB 2034 proposes that the Basic ROTC Program Curriculum will be drafted by the DND and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in consultation with other relevant government agencies and private stakeholders, including associations of schools.

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