The National Service Training Program
THE NATIONAL SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAM The National Service Training Program was also known as “An Act Establishing the National Service Training Program (NSTP) for Tertiary Level Students, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 7077 and Presidential Decree no. 1706, and for other Purposes” or Republic Act No. 9163. It was signed into law in January 23, 2002 amidst the various calls of dissenting sectors for its abolition or reform.
It invoked the constitutional provision regarding the “duty of the state to serve and protect its citizens,” specifically Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), Section 2, which states that “The prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people. The government may call upon the people to defend the state, and in fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service” (italics supplied). This is the same principle that created and sustained the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
The primary objective of the NSTP law is to promote the role of the youth in nation-building. As such, it aims to encourage the youth to become civic and/or military leaders and volunteers whom could be called upon by the nation in cases their services are needed. Compared with the ROTC which specializes in military training, and the E-ROTC which granted three options for students yet was limited in implementation, the NSTP law ensured that the three components – Civic Welfare Service, Literacy Training Service, and Reserve Officers Training Corps – will be given the same and equal implementation in educational institutions.
Moreover, it defined the different components, the duration of the training, coverage, etc. National Service Training Program Act of 2001 (RA 9163) This Act affirms that the prime duty of the government shall be to serve and protect its citizens. In turn, it shall be the responsibility of all citizens to defend the security of the State; thus the government may require each citizen to render personal, military or civil service. In recognition of the vital role of the youth in nation-building, the State shall promote civic consciousness among them and shall develop their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well being.
It shall inculcate the ideals of patriotism, nationalism, and advance their involvement in public and civic affairs. In the pursuit of these goals, the youth shall be motivated, trained, organized and mobilized in military training, literacy, civic welfare and other similar endeavors in service to the nation. National Service Training Program (NSTP) This program is aimed at enhancing civic consciousness and defense preparedness in the youth by developing the ethics of service and patriotism while undergoing training in any of its three (3) program components, namely
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) – designed to provide military training to tertiary level students in order to motivate, train, organize and mobilize them for national defense preparedness. Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) – refers to programs or activities contributory to the general welfare and the betterment of life for the members of the community or the enhancement of its facilities, especially those devoted to improving health, education, environment, entrepreneurship, safety, recreation and morals of the citizenry.
Literacy Training Service (LTS) – designed to train students to become teachers of literacy and numeracy skills to school children, out of school youth, and other segments of society in need of their service. Starting Academic Year 2002-2003, all male and female students enrolled in any baccalaureate or of at least two (2) year technical/vocational courses are required to complete the equivalent of two (2) semesters of any one of the NSTP components listed above as a requisite for graduation.
Each NSTP component shall be undertaken for a period of two (2) semesters, with fifty-four (54) training hours and student load credit of 3 units per semester. Under the NSTP law, state universities are required to offer ROTC and at least one other NSTP component. Schools may collect not more than 50% of the current basic tuition for NSTP courses. Meanwhile, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, while deemed equally important by the NSTP law (it maintained its existence and nature mentioned in RA 7077 having the primary objective to prepare the youth in national defense, became merely a component of the program.
The NSTP required male and female students to undergo the program they have chosen for two (2) semesters or one (1) academic year in contrast with the ROTC which required males to take military training for four (4) semesters or two (2) academic years. Students taking NSTP will get three (3) units from taking the program; equivalent of 1. 5 units every semester. Thus, in contrast to the mandatory – yet free – ROTC, students will now have to pay for their NSTP. This included the former cadets of the ROTC who enjoyed the free reservist program.
Also, the law states that private learning institutions could offer one of the three options but required state colleges and universities to maintain their ROTC units together with an alternative unit from the two other options. The law also limited the existence of the ROTC in private and vocational institutions requiring it to have 350 cadets for it to be called a unit, otherwise – and considering other factors such as insufficient cadet number, lack of logistics to support ROTC program of instruction (POI), etc. – cross-enrolling the students to other schools for their NSTP is an option.
The goal of the law and of the program is to harness the strength and capacity of the youth to contribute to nation-building, thus the National Service Reserve Force was created to enlist CWTS and LTS graduates which is also equivalent to the Citizen Armed Force of the ROTC. In the event that the state will need people for its civic and literacy activities, it will merely utilize the personnel of the reserve force, the student volunteers the NSTP-CWTS and the NSTP-LTS has produced. As with the need of the Armed Forces for additional force for its defense campaigns, it can easily use its body of reservists in the Reserve Command.