First State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr., 25 July 2022

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has urged Congress to pass a bill making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for senior high school students.

During his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, Marcos said that the bill, which was among the 19 bills he recommended for passage, would reinstate the ROTC program as a required component of the senior high school curriculum in all public and private schools.

“The aim is to motivate, train, organize, and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations,” Marcos said.

The ROTC training was made optional in 2002 through Republic Act (RA) 9163 or the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, following the murder of Mark Welson Chua, a former cadet of the UST’s ROTC unit.

Chua was killed by his fellow cadet officers after he exposed the corruption, bribery and extortion practices of the University’s ROTC unit to the Varsitarian.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Struggle against the system

The 19-year-old’s dead and decomposing body was fished out of the Pasig River on March 18, 2001, with his head wrapped in cloth and packing tape and his hands and feet tied with shoelaces.

Exposing the cancer

Two of Chua’s murderers, Paul Tan and Michael Rainard Manangbao, remained at large more than 20 years later, while Arnulfo Aparri was sentenced to life imprisonment and Eduardo Tabrilla pleaded guilty to homicide in 2006.

The revival of the mandatory ROTC training for college students had been floated by Marcos Jr.’s predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and his allies to “reinstill a sense of patriotism and nationalism” in the Filipino youth.

As of 2021, 21 bills seeking to revive the mandatory ROTC have been filed in the House of Representatives, while nine bills have been filed in the Senate. No law was passed to reinstitute the mandatory training during Duterte’s term, however.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa has vowed to refile his ROTC bill in the 19th Congress.

During the campaign period, now-Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio proposed a measure to require all Filipinos who reach the age of 18 to undergo mandatory military service. Christine Joyce A. Paras


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.