June 25, 2024

The Insider News

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Lawmaker, other AFP reservists push for approval of NSTC-ROTC bill

Caption: Reservist officers led by 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero (fourth from left), an Air Force reserve officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel, call on Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (in barong). Others in photo include former Agusan del Norte Rep. Charito Plaza, also an Air Force reserve officer; deputy chief of staff for reservist affairs Maj. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nanac; and Brig. Gen. Vicente Ronatay, head of AFP reserve command.

1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, a reserve officer in the Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and other military reservists are pushing for the approval by Congress of the bill requiring citizen service training for college students.

They made the advocacy in a courtesy call last week on Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, who, Romero said, has promised to prioritize the enactment of the National Citizen Service Training (NSTC) and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) bill.

Romero said the measure would amend Republic Act No. 7077, otherwise known as the Reservists’ Law, which provides for the formation and training of a “citizen armed force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

He said the final approval by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the NSTC-ROTC bill would expand the military reservists’ organization which could be deployed in times of emergencies, including calamities.

In December last year, the House passed on third and final reading its version of the NSTC-ROTC bill, under which college students would undergo a two-year mandatory citizen service training, while ROTC would be optional.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has certified the bill as urgent, saying its enactment would enhance the capacity of Filipino citizens to mobilize and perform their constitutional duty to render military or civil service in times of calamities and disasters, national or local emergencies, rebellion, invasion, or war.

“This shall be made possible by the establishment of a unified, comprehensive, and holistic national citizens service training and mobilization system,” the President said.

Speaker Romualdez is the principal author of the NSTC-ROTC bill, which has been pending in the Senate for more than one year.

Two weeks ago, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said his chamber would tackle the measure before Congress goes on its sine die or mandatory annual adjournment next weekend.

Aside from Romero, who chairs the board of trustees of the Association of Reservist and Reservist Administrators, Inc., those who paid a courtesy call on Speaker Romualdez included former Agusan del Norte congresswoman Charito Plaza (brigadier general, Air Force, reserve), Maj. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nanac, deputy chief of staff for reservist and reservist affairs; and Brig. Gen. Vicente Ronatay, commander, AFP Reserve Command.