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Robin: Mandatory ROTC to Have Major Role in Disaster Response

A disciplined and organized approach would be a great help in responding to disasters like the quake that hit Northern Luzon last Wednesday, Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla said Thursday.

Padilla said this is one reason he filed Senate Bill 236, which reinstates mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in schools.

“Kung buo ang ROTC natin, ang daling tawagin. Pag tinawag mo, organisado na sila, naka-platoon na sila, ang dali na silang utusan. Meron lang sinusunod na discipline, meron nang commander (If our ROTC program were in place, it would be easier to mobilize our response because those involved would be disciplined and would follow a command structure),” Padilla said in an interview.

“Sa akin, hindi pinaguusapan ang military training. Magkaroon lang tao ng organized (More important than military training is the organized approach to respond to disasters),” added Padilla, who served as a reserve officer in the Philippine Army.

He said discipline and a command structure are needed for speedy mobilization of resources for disaster response.

Under Senate Bill 236 filed by Padilla, ROTC will be a requirement for undergraduate degree or diploma programs in private and public tertiary-level schools.

“The restoration of the ROTC program will arm our youth with the competence and readiness required in serving our country to ensure the security of the State and our people,” Padilla said in his bill.

Under the bill, the Basic ROTC Program will include training on:

* External and Territorial Defense
* Internal Security, Peace and Order and Public Safety
* Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
* Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Exempted are those “physically or mentally unfit to render military service,” persons with disability, those convicted of criminal offenses involving moral turpitude, those with religious issues, and those who have undergone “similar military trainng from a previous undergraduate degree or diploma program.”

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