Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has asked the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to submit a report of the review of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act. (Republic Act No. 9163).
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Education held an inquiry on the Citizen Armed Force or Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act (Senate Bill No. 189), which seeks to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for students Grades 11 and 12.
READ: Duterte approves revival of mandatory ROTC for Grades 11, 12
In 2002, ROTC was made optional through the NSTP Act.
Calls to abolish the ROTC were fueled by the killing of University of Santo Tomas (UST) sophomore cadet Mark Welson Chua in 2001 after he exposed corruption in the ROTC in his school.
“Since 2002 until 2019, was there any review of NSTP? NSTP is a program to replace mandatory ROTC. You will replace something because you think it’s better. The question is: Is it better or not?” Gatchalian, vice chair of the committee, asked the representative from CHEd.
“It is being conducted now,” Dr. Nena Asingjo, chief of the Office of Student Development and Services of CHEd, answered.
“But id you review the law if NSTP has really been productive?” Gatchalian said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino. “Because we need to review that law. We need to determine whether that law is effective or not… We need to understand whether it’s achieving what it’s supposed to achieve.”
Under the law, the NSTP is “aimed at enhancing civic consciousness and preparedness in youth, by developing the ethics of service and patriotism.”
Gatchalian made the request as he cited anecdotes of students being made to watch basketball games or sweep sidewalks, among other chores, in exchange for credits in the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS)
The CWTS is one of the three components under the NSTP.
“That’s the reason why,” Gatchalian said. “Ang tao ngayon gusto nang mag-ROTC kaysa manuod ng basketball game or field trip dito, field trip doon. Parang feeling nila pinapagastos lang sila just to fulfill eh. I want to know kung merong honest-to-goodness review of the NSTP law.”
[People now want to take up ROTC rather than watch basketball games or take field trips. It’s like they fell they’re just asking to spend to fulfill the requirements. I want to know if there’s an honest-to-goodness review of the NTSP law.]
However, CHEd, which is in favor of reviving the mandatory ROTC, said it had only been monitoring the implementation of the NSTP Act.
“That’s why we support the mandatory ROTC…there’s really a need for more discipline,” Asingjo said. /atm
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