SEN. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, chaired a hybrid hearing on Tuesday on various education-related measures.
Of the 21 bills discussed, 15 measures were approved by the panel, including House Bill (HB) 5001 or the “Free College Examination Act” and Senate Bill (SB) 975 or the “Student Loan Payment Moratorium during Disasters and Emergencies Act”.
Meanwhile, five proposals to establish campuses in various fields have been provisionally approved by the panel pending submission of relevant documents and comments indicating approval from the boards of respective colleges and universities.
However, the panel referred SB 1349, a law mandating the institutionalization of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at public and private institutions of higher learning, to committees on public order and dangerous drugs; National defense and security, peace, unification and reconciliation.
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who filed SB 1349, said the Philippines faces threats from inside and outside its territory.
Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on the country’s health and economic sector, dela Rosa pointed out that another threat to the Philippines’ security and development is insurgency.
“The nation is also located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and along the Pacific Typhoon Belt, which means the country experiences many forms of natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides and fires,” he said.
Thus, he said it is important to prepare citizens through education, training and disaster preparedness. This is the purpose of reinstituting ROTC.
Dela Rosa said military training will instill discipline, moral virtues and patriotism in 11th and 12th graders.