The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has created a technical working group to develop associate programs to strengthen the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.
In a Malacañang press brieifing on Thursday, CHED Executive Director Atty. Julio Vitriolo said they are "enhancing" the ROTC program by pairing it with other programs.
"The ROTC program, packaged with other courses, will now give you additional competencies in terms of having an additional or a dual degree or associate degree," he said.
Vitriolo added that the programs are a "stepping stone" to a full bachelor's degree to answer the needs of the military for qualified officers.
Some of the associate programs that the commission is looking into are national defense, security management, and military science, according to Vitriolo.
Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his support for the revival of a mandatory ROTC program.
Vitriolo said that while CHED is leading the efforts in developing the ROTC program in the education aspect, the Department of National Defense is working on passing a law that would make the ROTC program mandatory.
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversial death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was allegedly slain by course officers after exposing fund mismanagement.
REQUIRED DRUG TESTS
Meanwhile, mandatory drug tests for college admissions may begin as early as next school year, Vitriolo said
Vitriolo said the commission is working on a policy that may soon require drug tests for college admissions.
He added that the commission is also working to ensure drug-free campuses as per instruction of the President.
At present, drug testing for college admission is only done on a voluntary basis.
Vitriolo, however, clarified that higher education institutions may implement the required tests for illegal drug use in 2018 since the commission is still working on its guidelines.