Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s proposal to make military service mandatory for 18-year-old Filipinos will be difficult to implement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the Department of Defense (DND) was in support of Duterte-Carpio’s proposal, but said that the Philippines was not on war footing.

“There are huge hurdles in implementing this: First, are the funds and resources. Training camps would need to be established all over the land, and manpower and funds must be allocated to accommodate the millions who will reach the age of 18 every year,” he said.

“Second, are the anticipated objections of those who are not inclined to serve in the military. Third, we are not on war footing and there will be little need of a general mobilization,” Lorenzana added.

Duterte-Carpio, who is running for vice president in the 2022 elections, said on Jan. 19 that she wanted to make military service mandatory for Filipinos once they reach the age of 18.

According to Lorenzana, a “better alternative” would be making Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory in private and public schools.

“We feel that the product of the ROTC program is more than sufficient to meet our requirements for warm bodies in case of conflict and in times of calamities and disasters,” he 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. John Ezekiel J. Hirro