Duterte Youth pushes ROTC revival to help curb youth radicalization

MANILA-- A ranking member of the Duterte Youth on Friday said the restoration of the mandatory Reserved Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program could help curb the recruitment of young people into violent extremism.

During the PTV-4 forum on countering violent extremism, Duterte Youth secretary general Christopher Sumulong said one core problem of the youth sector is its growing susceptibility into radicalization.

"These extremist groups are using the youth as a recruitment pool for most of their soldiers These extremist groups are pulling in these children to carry out violent extremism," Sumulong said.

Sumulong pushed for the ROTC revival since it has several benefits to mobilize the youth for nation-building efforts.

He said top Asian countries, such as South Korea and Singapore, have required military training programs among their citizens.

According to Sumulong, restoring ROTC could instill a greater sense of nationalism, discipline, and cooperation among the youth.

"Not only does the ROTC program strengthen the minds and bodies of our youth, it also enhances discipline, nationalism of our citizens," he said.

Sumulong also stressed the need to implement rehabilitation programs for extremist forces, particularly the young ones, who have been neutralized.

"The extremist forces have been neutralized by the armed forces of the Philippines we have to rehabilitate the people. (We have to) rehabilitate them in the sense that we give them programs to restore the unity as a people," he explained.

Among the community-based programs for rehabilitation are medical missions, sports, leadership training seminars, social outreach, self-defense, and other training programs.

Sumulong said the youth must be trained to be active and productive members of society.

"We have to train and prepare the youth to say no to extremism," he added.

Sumulong is a college graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and has a background in both Political Science and Psychology.

Source: Philippines News Agency