Arroyo’s expanded ROTC will punish those who refuse deployment for security
Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macagapal Arroyo has proposed the creation of a Citizens Service Corps that will expand and improve the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program to enable the youth to truly take part in nation-building.
Under House Bill No. 5305, Arroyo said young people should be taught and trained to participate in public and civic affairs which include internal security threats and disaster management.
Under the Citizen Service Training Course (CSTC), a Basic Citizen Service Training Course shall be mandatory for all college students in baccalaureate degree and vocational courses in all public and private universities, colleges and other learning institutions all over the country.
The CSTC will retain the external and territorial training provided under the ROTC program but it will be expanded to cover trainings in internal security, peace and order as well as disaster risk reduction and management.
All those who will finish the CSTC will become part of the Citizen Service Corps. They may be called upon by the government including its agencies and local government units to defend the State against external aggressors to defend its territory, assist in matters of internal security and peace order and serve during times of calamities and other emergencies.
Those who fail to heed order of deployment for external and territorial defense will be punished in accordance with the Articles of War and upon conviction by a court martial will be meted with a penalty of imprisonment of not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years.
Those who fail to respond to order of deployment for internal security and peace and order or during times of disaster will be meted with imprisonment of up to 6 months and 480 hours of community service.
“For acts already penalized under existing laws such as corruption, graft, hazing, sexual harassment and other abuses committed by persons authorized to implement the CSTC and deployment of the Corps, the maximum imposable under existing law shall be imposed,” Arroyo said.
An Advance CSTC may also be taken and upon completion, all graduates of the program will be entitled to a reserve commission as a Second Lieutenant or its equivalent in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and Office of Civil Defense provided that they obtain a baccalaureate degree within four years after completion.
The CSTC will repeal the National Service Training Program (NSTP) under RA 9163 that was enacted during Arroyo’s term as President. The NSTP removed the mandatory nature of the ROTC.
To eliminate abuses and controversies created with the mandatory implementation of the ROTC, Arroyo said a Citizen Service Mobilization Commission should be created to institute rules and implement safeguards including audit on the fees that would be collected under the course and conduct investigation on anomalies and abuses.
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