Philippine Daily Inquirer

Plan afoot to arm military reservists, ROTCgradua­tes

- By Nikko Dizon @NikkoDizon­INQ

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said the Duterte administra­tion “envisions” the use of the military reserve force and graduates of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in the country’s fight against local terrorism.

Although he later qualified his idea as a “last resort,” Mr. Duterte said on Tuesday he might mobilize and equip the reserve force and ROTC graduates with high-caliber firearms.

The idea was “very possible,” Lorenzana said, citing how Switzerlan­d and Is- rael—two countries with small armed forces—had been effectivel­y utilizing their own reserve forces for various emergencie­s.

“What we envision in our country is the same,” the defense chief said, adding that the country’s security force also needed new blood since the mandatory ROTC was abolished in 2002.

Regional armories

He added: “Each region will have a reserve unit consisting of retired military and ROTC graduates. Their cadres [which include officers and enlisted personnel] will be active military (personnel). They will have their regional [headquar- ters] with armories where they can keep individual firearms. These firearms can be used during training.”

Official orders

If the reserve forces were to be used in combat, peacekeepi­ng, and humanitari­an assistance and disaster response, “they will have official orders calling them for limited active duty, like we did with the Lanao del Norte Reserve Battalion during the Marawi siege,” Lorenzana said.

He, however, qualified that “the whole concept was still on the drawing board” and would need ample resources and funding “for buildings and equipment.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines