Senator Pia Cayetano pushed for a more “comprehensive and holistic” alternative to the proposal to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students.
During a Senate Committee on Basic Education’s public hearing on the proposed mandatory ROTC in senior high school, Cayetano said instilling a sense of patriotism and nationalism among young Filipinos should start in their formative years.
“Do the core values of nationalism and patriotism only begin at senior high? That’s the question I pose. This is not just a concept that should be focused on senior high,” she said.
“I just want to put my point out there, that there are different ways to develop nationalism and there are different components (to be considered),” she added.
The senator pushed for her Senate Bill No. 925, or the ‘Youth Patriotism and Bayanihan Act,’ which seeks to institutionalize a two-tiered program to strengthen the values of discipline, patriotism, and nationalism of students from Grades 1 to 12.
Under the bill, the first tier is the introduction of a fundamental program in the curricula of Grades 1 to 12 in all public and private educational institutions in the country.
The fundamental program shall include physical fitness, arts, and cultural heritage, community outreach, basic disaster risk reduction and management, and basic security.
The second tier is the establishment of a specialized program for Senior High School students in public and private educational institutions.
This seeks to provide advanced and dedicated training for the development of the students’ skills on security, survival, and public service.
The specialized program shall have components such as internal security and peace and order, dedicated disaster risk reduction and management, advanced security, and career development.
Cayetano noted that the bill promotes the importance of “soft security”, which pertains to the citizens’ ability to respond to threats to the country’s sustainability through the efficient management of resources and delivery of services while still highlighting the “hard security”, which pertains to the country’s ability to respond to security threats through the use of military force.
“That’s why my bill includes more components (other than military-based training) because I’d like to think that there is not just one track… We want to be sure that the programs (we will establish) would be suited to the skills that we want our youth to develop,” she said. (PNA)
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