DND, AFP backs Sara's proposal for mandatory military service
The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed support for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio's proposal for mandatory military service for Filipinos at the age of 18.
"We welcome the proposal as this is attuned to the times while the government is faced with adversities and challenges, aligned with our aspirations for the citizenry to contribute to nation building. Rendering mandatory military service will only help us to establish a base for a strong armed forces, and therefore a strong nation," AFP spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said on Thursday.
Despite his support in this proposal, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana emphasized the hurdles in its implementation.
"We in the DND support the mandatory military service of 18-year-old Filipinos. There are several advantages: First, the military will have a ready and steady trained pool of reservists to defend the country and do HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) work; second, the training and discipline that they will acquire will make them better citizens; third, service to the country will be inculcated in them," he said.
Lorenzana said "huge hurdles" include "the funds and resources" as the "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 there are also anticipated objections from those who are not inclined to serve in the military.
"We are not on war footing and there will be little need for a general mobilization," he added.
Lorenzana said "the implementation of mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) in private and public schools is the better alternative."
"We are already starting to implement this in the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). This program, which targets the K11-K12 levels, will produce a huge number of youths who will form part of our reservists," he said.
"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 added. Robina Asido/DMS