The Philippine Army has vowed to come up with measures to prevent abuses from happening should the country come up with a mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) law.

In a statement, Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. expressed support for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s call for a mandatory ROTC bill.

“We will address the possible abuses by professionalizing our pool of trainers and enhancing the capacity of the Reserve Command of the Philippine Army,” Brawner said.

Mandatory ROTC was abolished in 2002 following the death of Mark Welson Chua, a student of the University of Santo Tomas who exposed anomalies in the training corps.

ROTC was made optional through the National Service Training Program Act of 2001, or Republic Act No. 9163.

Brawner said mandatory ROTC would provide the country with a “trained and competent reserve force,” which he said was very important amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

In calling for a mandatory ROTC law, Marcos Jr. said he wanted students to undergo defense-and disaster-preparedness training.

“The aim is to motivate, train, organize and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations,” Marcos Jr. said in his first State of the Nation Address.

Marcos Jr.’s mandatory ROTC proposal is for students in Grades 11 and 12 “in all public and private tertiary-level educational institutions” in the country. John Ezekiel J. Hirro