THE NATIONAL SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAMThe National Service Training Program was also known as “An ActEstablishing the National Service Training Program (NSTP) for TertiaryLevel Students, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 7077 andPresidential Decree no. 1706, and for other Purposes” or Republic Act No.9163. It was signed into law in January 23, 2002 amidst the various calls ofdissenting sectors for its abolition or reform.It invoked the constitutional provision regarding the “duty of the state toserve and protect its citizens,” specifically Article II (Declaration ofPrinciples and State Policies), Section 2, which states that “The prime dutyof the government is to serve and protect the people. The government maycall upon the people to defend the state, and in fulfilment thereof, allcitizens may be required under conditions provided by law, to renderpersonal military or civil service” (italics supplied). This is the sameprinciple that created and sustained the Reserve Officers Training Corps.The primary objective of the NSTP law is to promote the role of the youth innation-building. As such, it aims to encourage the youth to become civicand/or military leaders and volunteers whom could be called upon by thenation in cases their services are needed.Compared with the ROTC which specializes in military training, and the E-ROTC which granted three options for students yet was limited inimplementation, the NSTP law ensured that the three components – CivicWelfare Service, Literacy Training Service, and Reserve Officers TrainingCorps – will be given the same and equal implementation in educationalinstitutions. Moreover, it defined the different components, the duration ofthe training, coverage, etc.The Three NSTP ComponentsThe National Service Training Program is composed of three differentcomponents.The Civic Welfare Training Service is geared towards activities that havesocial impact through activities that could contribute to “health, education,environment, entrepreneurship, safety, recreation and morals of thecitizenry”, thus the CWTS component of the NSTP stressed the
importance of youth involvement in broad programs or activities that willbenefit the people. While the CWTS focused on programs to enhance theliving conditions of the people, the Literacy Training Service has a morelimited yet equally useful objective that is to “train students to becometeachers of literacy and numeracy skills to school children, out of schoolyouth, and other segments of society in need of their service”. LTS thusspecializes in the education of the people, strengthening the educationsector to empower the people through education.Meanwhile, Reserve Officers Training Corps, while deemed equallyimportant by the NSTP law (it maintained its existence and naturementioned in RA 7077 having the primary objective to prepare the youth innational defense, became merely a component of the program.To compare the Old ROTC to the NSTP, here is the ROTC organizationalstructure:Fig 4. NSTP organizational chart under the CHED, TESDA and the DNDThe NSTP required male and female students to undergo the program theyhave chosen for two (2) semesters or one (1) academic year in contrastwith the ROTC which required males to take military training for four (4)semesters or two (2) academic years. Students taking NSTP will get three(3) units from taking the program; equivalent of 1.5 units every semester.Thus, in contrast to the mandatory – yet free – ROTC, students will nowhave to pay for their NSTP. This included the former cadets of the ROTCwho enjoyed the free reservist program. Also, the law states that privatelearning institutions could offer one of the three options but required statecolleges and universities to maintain their ROTC units together with analternative unit from the two other options. The law also limited theexistence of the ROTC in private and vocational institutions requiring it tohave 350 cadets for it to be called a unit, otherwise – and considering otherfactors such as insufficient cadet number, lack of logistics to support ROTCprogram of instruction (POI), etc. – cross-enrolling the students to otherschools for their NSTP is an option.The goal of the law and of the program is to harness the strength andcapacity of the youth to contribute to nation-building, thus the NationalService Reserve Force was created to enlist CWTS and LTS graduateswhich is also equivalent to the Citizen Armed Force of the ROTC. In theevent that the state will need people for its civic and literacy activities, it will
merely utilize the personnel of the reserve force, the student volunteers theNSTP-CWTS and the NSTP-LTS has produced. As with the need of theArmed Forces for additional force for its defense campaigns, it can easilyuse its body of reservists in the Reserve Command.THE NATIONAL SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAM IN UP MANILAUP Manila 2002The National Service Training Program was implemented in UP Maniladuring the second semester of AY 2002-2003. According to Dr. DaniloMagtanong (2005), NSTP Coordinator, CWTS was initially under theCollege of Nursing and LTS was handled by the Office of the Pahinungod(later, Office of the Pahinungod and Continuing Education, or OPCE). Thiswas the system used by the E-ROTC at the advent of the NSTP. Since theuniversity was not prepared to implement the program, and considering thelimited time the law required for the implementation of NSTP, the Universityused the same program.The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) was the core of the NSTP duringthat time, with Professor Esmeralda Perez as the first NSTP coordinatorand the college as the implementing arm of the NSTP. By implementingarm, it means that the college supervised the enlistment of an estimated800 freshmen to the different components of the NSTP then. The NSTPcoordinators during that time, however, were disorganized in the sense thatthe colleges were “clueless” as to how to implement the program. Inaddition, the ROTC which, was a “separate program for decades” wasincluded in the NSTP, thus there was disarray in the enlistment of cadets tothe different components. The organization of the NSTP implementation in2002, as provided by Perez (2005) looks like this:Fig.3 ROTC organizational structure (source: Manaligod, 2002)In this setting, it was said that the school administrations’ primary task is tosupervise the enrollment of cadets, collect fees, and to provide the trainingarea. The role of the schools as such in the ROTC organizationalstructure was challenged by the educators. Thus the role of the schoolwas expanded in the NSTP from being supporter of the program to primaryactor in the formulation and implementation of the program as mentioned inRA 9163 and as shown in the NSTP organizational structure below. The
law was said to empower the learning institutions in having the prerogativein formulating their NSTP curricula, except the Reserve Officers TrainingCorps component. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED),Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and theDepartment of National Defense (DND) shall coordinate with non-government organizations, the academe and the student organizations informulating guidelines in the implementation of the program. Thus, in thissetting, schools shall report to the three agencies (DND, CHED, andTESDA) regarding their NSTP.NSTP Organizational StructureFig.5 Organization of the NSTP coordinators with the administration(Source: Perez, 2005)In this setting, the NSTP coordinator links up the other coordinators orhandlers of the NSTP of the different colleges. The colleges will facilitatethe enrollment of cadets/students to the central NSTP then, with thecoordinator merely overlooking enlistment. The NSTP office alsosupposedly sends the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) a list oftheir students to be incorporated to the National Reserve Force.THE (D) EVOLUTION OF NSTPFaced with numerous problems in the initial implementation of the NSTP –from budget to student congestion in the programs – UP Manila opted forNSTP devolution. This was the initiative of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) and was patterned after the UPDiliman NSTP devolution. In adopting the UP Diliman example of NSTPdevolution, the administration considered two factors: administrativesupport and feedback of students.The administration and the colleges welcomed the devolution because thecolleges would be able to pattern their NSTP according to the courses thatthey are offering, thus giving their students insights on the nature of thecourse they are taking; there is a “nurturing” factor by the colleges to theirpotential graduates. Given these rationales, the NSTP started operating indevolution at the second semester 2003-2004.
The organization of the devolved NSTP is not totally different from itsorganization in 2002. As described by Magtanong (2005) in an interview,the NSTP at present looks like this:Fig. 6 NSTP organization in UP Manila during the 2002 NSTPimplementation (source: Magtanong, 2005)In this setting, the unit coordinators from the different departments are“under their respective deans.” If there are activities in the different units,the dean should note their activities and the NSTP head coordinator’s officeshould be informed regarding their activities. The Coordinator can onlynote on the plans or make comments but cannot make decisions outrightwithout consulting the OVCAA. The Coordinator then is merely a channelof the NSTP to the OVCAA. Moreover, there is no existing Memorandum of Agreement of the Universitywith other schools, thus students cannot possibly take their NSTP in otherschools.THE ROTC IN THE UP MANILA NSTPGiven the organizational setting mentioned above, one would be compelledto ask where the ROTC is in this setting. Is not the ROTC also acomponent of the NSTP? Why is the ROTC seemingly not included?The Reserve Officer Training Corps had a centralized implementationunder the UP Manila Department of Military Science and Tactics in 2002.Under the guidance of its commandant, then First Lieutenant Rodil Curiba,the ROTC was able to enlist 60 cadets, most of them from the College ofArts and Sciences for the Military Science 1 (MS 1). During the second semester of 2002, however, the administrative confusionwith the implementation conflicted with the DMST’s plans, thus the DMSTwas not able to offer Military Science 2 to its cadets until the secondsemester of AY 2003-2004. The cadets who wanted to have their ROTC inUP Manila in 2003 cross-registered to UP Diliman and finished there theirMS 1. Moreover, the cadets who failed to take their MS-2 during thesecond semester of AY 2002-2003 were only able to take their MS 2 duringthe second semester of AY 2003-2004. 
At present, ROTC is being offered in UP Manila. However, the cadets willhave to cross register to UP Diliman to be able to take their ROTCcomponent; as such, the training days of UP Manila cadets will be in UPDiliman. However, in spite of this scenario, cadets still enlist in the ROTCin UPM CAS. Most of the cadets are women and cadets from UPMCAS are from the BS Biology course.The UP Manila ROTC maybe said as a dying unit. The unit has nocommandant since 2004 when it was made officially under the UP DilimanROTC. Moreover, aside from the lack of interest on the part of somestudents to the ROTC brought about by the negative impression of theprogram, there is said to be also a tough competition between the ROTCand the two other components. While the CWTS and the LTS were tailoredto cater to an already established number of students taking a particularcourse, the ROTC which retained its military nature, terms of enlistmentand implementation, remained to be centralized vis-à-vis a devolved CWTSand LTS.Magtanong (2005) in an interview mentioned that the reason why UPManila ROTC cadets have to cross-enroll to UP Dilliman is that UP Manilacannot possibly support the ROTC program due to low turnout ofenrollment. While the law provides that state colleges and universitiesshould ensure that they will still have the ROTC in the NSTP, UP Manilastressed that being a part of the University of the Philippines, which is asystem, it is not violating any provision of the law. Thus, ROTC cadetswho enrolled in UP Manila will undergo training in UP Diliman. ROTCcadets are presently directly under the UP Diliman Department of MilitaryScience and Tactics, their training is under the UP Diliman ROTCprogram. The cross-registration of cadets is handled by the UP DilimanOffice of the University Registrar (UPD-OUR) and UP Manila Office of theUniversity Registrar (UPM-OUR).