By Jillian Marielle Tiraña

Photo Courtesy of Manny Palmero / ABS-CBN, NYC

The National Youth Commission (NYC) has urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the mandatory return of nationalist youth programs including the Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) from elementary to college levels.

In a letter penned by NYC Chairman Usec. Ronald Cardema, he encouraged the president to reimplement the mandatory ROTC in all colleges and universities, Citizens Army Training (CAT) in senior high schools, and scouting programs — including boy and girl scouts — in elementary level.

According to Cardema, the said programs “created a sense of nationalism, discipline, and preparedness” among Filipino youth during the time of Marcos’ late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

“We are a disaster-prone archipelago that is battered annually by an alphabet of typhoons, floods, earthquakes, other disasters, and a communist insurgency which we want to end during your time as president,” Cardema reasoned.

The commissioner hoped for an Executive Order before the start of classes as he cited the ongoing military programs in countries including Singapore, South Korea, and Israel which have a smaller human resource than the Philippines.

It can be recalled that the mandatory ROTC was repealed when the body of Mark Chua, a former University of Santo Tomas Cadet, was found in Pasig River in 2001 following his published expose on the unethical behavior of his university's ROTC program.

During the 2022 elections, Vice President Sara Duterte had pledged to revive the mandatory ROTC program for all schools nationwide.

Edited by Christine Gaile Dimatatac