Tolentino: Israel-Hamas war highlights need for quality ROTC program

Senator Francis Tolentino on Friday said the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas highlights the need for a quality ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corp) program in the country.

Tolentino issued the remark during the breakfast kickoff of the Miss ROTC Games Philippines 2023 when asked for assurance on the bill’s passing amid the war in Israel.

“Siguro, mas ano, mas naha-highlight ‘yung need for a quality ROTC program. Kasi kung makikita mo ‘yung sa Israel 300,000 ‘yung minobilize na ROTC reservists nila,” he said in an ambush interview.

(I think it highlights the need for a quality ROTC program because Israel mobilized 300,000 of their ROTC reservists.)

The Israeli military previously said it called up to 300,000 reservists following Hamas’ simultaneous attacks on October 7, where over 1,000 people were killed.

Israel then launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip. More than 3,000 Palestinians have reportedly died since.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said that he is not “war pandering” but that there is a need to prepare the youth.

“It’s not about war. It’s about patriotism,” he said.

The Senate bill making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program mandatory for students in higher education institutions and technical-vocational institutions is now up for plenary debate.

The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped in 2002 following the passage of Republic Act 9163, an act establishing the NSTP (National Service Training Program). —VAL, GMA Integrated News

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