REVIVING THE mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program could cost as much as P23 billion, according to Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua. “If we will be constructing ROTC proposals in every school, it would be 11,000 schools and it would be about P2 million per school if you are looking at one or two classroom per school. That would be something like P22 billion,” he said during the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture hearing on Monday. If schools use existing facilities, he added, the budget would be reduced by nearly 80%, but not all campuses would have the needed space for such training. Mr. Pascua also said that the DepEd is in talks for possible clustering of private and public schools for the use of existing facilities. The proposed law would require the ROTC for Grade 11 and 12 students. Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said during the hearing that such a high budget for new facilities is unlikely to get support from the Senate. “That would raise a lot of eyebrows and definitely this might be shut down. Our question is, can we afford P23 billion for this program?” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez