February 27, 2017
Koko presses for a modern, relevant Citizen Service Act for Filipino youth
Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III filed a bill for mandatory training of Filipino college students for their possible mobilization in the service of the nation during times of emergencies and contingencies in the form of natural and man-made calamities and external and internal security threats.
Senate Bill 1322, filed by Pimentel on February 9, 2017, called for the establishment of a Citizen Service Training Course, a comprehensive framework geared towards training and organizing the youth for tasks related to national defense, law enforcement, and disaster risk reduction and management.
"The youth will inherit this nation, and it is essential that they are integrated into the process of nation-building as early as possible", Pimentel said.
The bill, called the Citizen Service Act, proposes a mandatory Basic Citizen Service Training Course (Basic CSTC) which shall form part of the curricula of all baccalaureate degree courses and all technical vocational courses that require at least two years to complete.
The program will be administered by the Citizen Service Mobilization Commission, a body that will be established by the same law.
The Basic CTSC course would be completed over four semesters in the first two years of all baccalaureate degrees and vocational and technical courses and will be a requisite for graduation.
There will be no exemptions for Basic CTSC, but there will be a special CSTC for those who are classified and officially registered as persons with disabilities, those who religious beliefs prohibit the use of firearms in rendering service to the country, those who have been convicted by final judgment of crimes involving moral turpitude, and foreign citizens studying in the country.
After the Basic CSTC, there will be an Advance CSTC for those interested in pursuing a reserve commission in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Office for Civil Defense.
Graduates of the program would be a part of the Citizen Service Corps, that can be called upon and mobilized to assist the national government and local government units on matters related to national defense, internal security, and disaster risk reduction and management.
Pimentel said, "Through the Citizen Service Corps, the Filipino youth will be true Partners for Change - organized, disciplined, and filled with a sense of purpose in serving the State."
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