Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he and some members of Congress are asking President Duterte to certify as urgent proposed laws that will require enrolment to the Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for college students.
Speaking Saturday at the Grand Menseng Hotel, Lorenzana said the controversial measure will be undergoing a major overhaul, especially with the program’s history of violence and death under abusive officials.
The defense official was a guest speaker at the midyear national convention of the Reserve Officers Legion of the Philippines Inc. (ROLP).
Among the proposals to be considered will be the bundling of ROTC training in one entire summer instead of every weekend.
Lorenzana said he and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez have had discussions about the proposed change in schedules.
Another major change will be the inclusion of the mandatory enrolment in ROTC as part of the K-12 curriculum.
Under the program, Lorenzana said, high school students will be introduced to preparatory military training before they enter college.
The college ROTC curriculum will be for higher military courses.
Lorenzana said he will also be pushing for the introduction of modern-day equipment in the ROTC, such as the use of M16 rifles instead of wooden replicas during drills.
“This way, the cadets will know what it will be like to handle weapons,” he said.
During his days as a cadet, Lorenzana said he and his peers had to make do with either wooden replicas or old Springfield rifles.
Lorenzana added that Congress also needed to revisit the National Defense Act.
“Marami na ang di na practical (Many are already not practical),” the defense official said. “Kailangan na baguhin (They need to be changed).”
Under the proposal, graduates of the advanced ROTC courses will be tapped to train those in senior high school.