National Service Training Program
The National Service Training Program is a curriculum requirement for all college students taking up baccalaureate degrees or 2-year technical vocational courses starting SY 2002-2003. It was promulgated as a Congressional action in the aftermath of the widespread nationwide protests in 2001 calling for the abolition of the ROTC for its gross mismanagement and the harsh bullying culture of its officers that led to fatalities among its cadet corps. The NSTP restructured the defunct RA 7077 (AFP Reservist Act), the latter requiring ROTC as mandatory, by reducing ROTC as merely optional and voluntary, while adding two other programs (CWTS and LTS) from which the college students may liberally choose to undergo and be trained. The NSTP gave importance to the enhancement of civic consciousness without compromising the national security needs of the country in the event of war, thereby retaining the ROTC as a component program of the NSTP instead of entirely abolishing it.
The NSTP aims to promote and integrate values education, transformational leadership, spirit of patriotism and nationalism and sustainable social mobilization for youth development, community building and national security.
Legal Mandate: A national law (RA 9163)
The Philippine Congress has promulgated RA 9163, thereby making NSTP a requirement for graduation. Sec. 3 of said law defines NSTP as "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. Its various components are specially designed to enhance the youth's active contribution to the general welfare."
PLM offerings for the optional NSTP programs
Unlike in private universities where ROTC is not mandated to be offered, public universities are provided by law to retain ROTC and offer at least one of the other two optional programs. Hence, PLM offers both the ROTC and the CWTS programs. PLM currently does not offer the Literacy Training Service or LTS, which "is a program 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." Most public universities offer all three programs, considering that LTS falls under the core competency of a school of learning, but until such time that PLM is ready for the opening of LTS, it remains to be at the backseat for the moment.
Coverage (Sec. 5, RA 9163)
"Students, male and female, of any baccalaureate degree course or at least two (2)-year technical vocational courses in public and private educational institutions shall be required to complete one (1) of the NSTP components as requisite for graduation."
The ROTC (Secs. 3 and 4, RA 9163)
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a program "institutionalized under Sections 38 and 39 of Republic Act No. 7077 designed to provide military training to tertiary level students in order to motivate, train, organize and mobilize them for national defense preparedness." (Sec. 3, RA 9163)
"It aims to instill patriotism, moral virtues, respect for rights of civilians, and adherence to the Constitution, among others." (Sec. 4, RA 9163)
The law mandates that undertaking ROTC is purely "optional and voluntary" on the part of the students. (Sec. 4, RA 9163)
The CWTS (Sec. 3, RA 9163)
The "Civic Welfare Training Service 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."
Responsibility of the NSTP Graduates (Sec. 11, RA 9163)
The law aims to harness the strength and capacity of the youth to contribute to nation-building. Thus, the National Service Reserve Corps was created to enlist CWTS (and LTS or non-ROTC) graduates, which is equivalent to the Citizen Armed Force of the ROTC. The State may tap the reserve corps for its civic welfare and literacy activities whenever necessary, in the same full measure that the State may call the ROTC reservists into military duty in times of war.
Management of the NSTP (Sec. 10, RA 9163)
"The school authorities shall exercise academic and administrative supervision over the design, formulation, adoption and implementation of the different NSTP components in their respective schools." Correspondingly, unlike in the past, the law authorized the PLM Management to have a direct supervision on the program implementation of the ROTC.
Imposition and Collection of Fees (Sec. 8, RA 9163)
Under the old ROTC programs, schools may not impose and collect any fee. Under the new law, the schools are still barred from collecting funds from NSTP students, with the exception of a basic tuition fee. Sec. 8 provides that schools "shall not collect any fee for any of the NSTP components except basic tuition fees, which shall not be more than fifty percent (50%) of what is currently charged by schools per unit."