Press Release
June 29, 2022

Dela Rosa to ROTC critics: Military is the primary protector of the people

SENATOR Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa has rejected insinuations that the mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps), which he intends to resurrect, will fail and will only lead to militarization.

In an interview with ANC on Tuesday, Dela Rosa urged critics of ROTC to focus more on the positive aspects of the program.

"If we'll just only focus on the negatives, kung anong kasamaan tungkol dito sa programang ito, then we will not end up with our ROTC program," he said.

The former top cop reiterated that he would refile his bill for the return of the mandatory ROTC, which will require all male and female Grade 11 and 12 students to undergo military training, when the 19th Congress opens on July 25.

But he quickly allayed fears that the return of ROTC is a prelude to militarization.

"That will never happen. Civilian supremacy is still supreme over the military. Ang atin lang ay magre-ready lang tayo. Why are you apprehensive about militarization? If militarization is good for our defense... bakit kayo matatakot sa term na militarization kung 'yan ay paghahanda para sa depensa ng ating bansa? Hindi tayo dapat matakot because the military is our protector, nasa Constitution 'yan. The military is the primary protector of the people," Dela Rosa said.

He assured the primary purpose of ROTC is to train and prepare the Filipino youth to defend the country since the Filipino citizens are mandated under the Philippine Constitution to defend the state.

"Number one, we have impending threat coming from China with their presence in the West Philippine Sea and we need to be proactive. 'Wag tayong maghintay at maging sitting duck. We have to prepare, we have to train our youth to defend our land. It is mandated in our constitution that all citizens should be ready to defend the state. Plus the discipline that we will be getting from ROTC, that the youth will be getting from ROTC, we really need ROTC to be back," he said.

The Mindanaoan Senator said that while his Mandatory ROTC bill is different from the initial proposal of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte, which is a 2-year mandatory military training patterned after South Korea's program, he is willing to co-author her proposal if she wants to make it a law.

Dela Rosa said the Filipino youth should develop in their hearts and minds a sense of patriotism and nationalism, noting that the security of the country is unsure because of the fluid geopolitics around the world.

"What happened to Russia invading Ukraine kahit na mga kadugo nila 'yan, mga relative nila 'yan, can also happen here in the Philippines. We have the threat coming from China. So, we must be prepared... We are a very small nation, and our regular military needs the support of a reserve military component in case foreign aggression happens. So that's all we are after," Dela Rosa said.

Under his proposal, there will be a Grievance Board composed of representatives from the Departments of Education and the National Defense, which can investigate motu-proprio cases of abuse and corruption in the ROTC program.

The lawmaker also noted that the importance and worthiness of the ROTC program have already been proven since its introduction in 1935 through the National Defense Act of 1935, which was the Commonwealth Act No. 1, during the time of President Manuel L. Quezon.

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