Duterte’s pivot to ROTC
The Association of Generals and Flag Officers (Agfo) had a fellowship meeting on Feb. 22, 2017, at Agfo Center, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, with Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr., national security adviser and director general of the National Security Council, on the subject “National Security Policy and Direction under the Duterte Administration.”
In the meeting, General Esperon announced that President Duterte has approved the implementation of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program in all colleges and universities.
In the past, the ROTC basic course (two years) was a mandatory requirement for graduation in college. However, with the National Service Training Program (NSTP) the ROTC became an option among other courses. Under the NSTP, a three-day seminar conducted in a camp, costing P2,250 and a T-shirt, can substitute for a two-year ROTC program to comply with the requirement for in-service training prior to graduation.
This is what happened last month where 15 students and a driver died in a vehicular accident in Tanay, Rizal. There are lots of objections to the ROTC program: For example, it is said to be all drill, marching and hazing. Not so. The truth is, whether it is ROTC or NSTP, if not properly managed, corruption will creep in.
In my letter to the Inquirer (“ROTC, the cheapest source of reserve force,” 8/25/16), I cited the benefits of the ROTC program of which I am one of the beneficiaries. The ROTC program, aside from being the cheapest source of reserve force which can be used during national emergencies and in responding to calamities, instills in our youth the value of loyalty, patriotism and discipline, and develops leadership qualities and esprit de corps among cadets.
Partly addressing our national security concern, President Duterte convened the National Security Council (NSC). Believe it or not, former president Benigno Aquino III never convened the NSC during his entire term.
I thank President Duterte for his political will; something other presidents failed to exercise. I salute him.
JOEL R. HINLO, retired brigadier general, AFP, [email protected]
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