IN a bid to institutionalize the vital role of the youth in nation building, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved the National Citizens Training Program (NCTP) on second and third reading.
This, after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. certified as urgent the House Bill 6687 or an act instituting a national citizens service training program in all public and private tertiary education institutions, repealing for the purpose RA 9163 or the National Service Training Program Act.
The bill seeks to promote, propagate and protect the youth’s physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being and inculcate in them patriotism, nationalism and respect for human rights and to encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
The measure also seeks to train, equip and organize the youth, within the current frameworks of national and territorial defense, law-enforcement and peace and order and national disaster risk reduction and management; prepare them for rapid mobilization at the soonest possible time to address national and/or local contingencies, which may require personnel beyond the capabilities of existing national government agencies or local government units.
The bill establishes a two-year mandatory National Citizens Service Training (NCST) program, implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in all higher education institutions (HEIs) and by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) in all post-secondary technical-vocational institutions (TVIS), both in consultation with the Department of National Defense (DND).
It mandates that the two-year NCST shall be mandatory for all students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in all public and private HEIs, and at least two-year Technical-Vocational Education Training (TVET) courses in all TVIS in the Philippines.
The bill mandates that the NCST shall be administered to cover undergraduate and postsecondary TVET students for at least four semesters or 240 hours over two school years, unless otherwise allowed by the CHED or Tesda in accordance with the rules recommended by the NCST Technical Panel.
The measure creates an NCST Program Technical Panel composed of representatives from CHED, Tesda, DND, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the National Youth Commission, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, the Philippine Red Cross, student representative and two private sector representatives who shall be recognized experts or practitioners in the field of citizen service training, disaster preparedness, reservist training or related fields.
The bill directs the NCST Program Technical Panel to formulate, periodically review and update the NCST Program design, curriculum, modes and method of delivery.
It mandates the CHED or Tesda, based on rules recommended by the NCST Technical Panel, to prescribe Special NCST programs to address the special needs and circumstances of students: a) classified and officially registered as persons with disabilities; those whose religious beliefs prohibit.
The measure mandates that citizen-cadets, upon completion of the NCST, shall be deemed NCST graduates and shall be incorporated in the National Service Reserve Corps (NSRC) and the AFP Citizen Armed Force (AFP Reserve Force).
It establishes a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Program, an optional four-year military training program designed to provide military training to students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in HEIs who have expressed interest or shown potential to be officers of the AFP Regular and Reserve Force (Citizen Armed Force).
It also mandates that the ROTC Program Curriculum, designed by the DND and CHED and administered by the AFP, shall be primarily to train volunteer tertiary education students to be officers of the Regular and Reserve Force of the AFP, and to prepare graduates of the four year ROTC Program to be capable of immediate deployment as AFP commissioned officers immediately after graduation from the ROTC and earning their baccalaureate degree.