Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. has encouraged students and school facilitators from public and private colleges and universities, as well as community leaders to revisit the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9163).
Magsaysay, speaking before representatives of 35 public and private colleges and universities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, in a conference sponsored by the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) held at De La Salle Manila on Friday, said “the service training program should not be looked at as an additional work load for students and school officials, but as an opportunity to make the youth productive.”
Magsaysay said the service training not only serves as an avenue for students to develop their character and productivity as they undergo immersion program or exposure to various communities, beliefs, cultures and religion, it likewise brings education to far flung communities.
Magsaysay made the remark following a concern expressed by some facilitators that lives were put to risk whenever facilitators or apprentices engage in community intervention in some areas in the country.
“I would not look at it negatively but as an opportunity to make a child productive. Let us review the needs of our time. Are our youths or our students at par with the needs of our time? The NSTP aims to develop one’s self worth and productivity. By engaging in immersion program we are helping our children develop these characters,” Magsaysay said in his speech.
The NSTP has been in the curriculum of colleges and universities for a decade and it complements the Department of Education’s K-12 program where senior high school students are required to go through a period of time to prepare them either for college education, development and mastery of special skills, employment and free enterprise.
To address security concerns raised during the conference, Magsaysay advised that students or facilitators conduct prior research before they engage in community immersion as part of their technical, physical and security preparations.
Magsaysay said among the things student should take into account is the demographics of the place, which includes the education level of the populace, peace and order situation and the level of cooperation of the local government to effectively take-part in the immersion program.
Magsaysay is co-author of the NSTP Law which was enacted in 2001. The law is aimed at improving civic awareness and defense preparedness of the youth by enrolling either in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) or Literacy Training Service (LTS).
The ROTC was put up as a military training to college students to entice them to train, organize and mobilize for national defense preparedness.
The CWTS is dedicated for the improvement of health, education, environment, entrepreneurship, safety, recreation and morals of the members of a community, as well as the enhancement of its facilities.
The LTS is a training program designed for students who will become teachers. The literacy service as the word connotes will help develop the literacy and numeracy skills of school children, out of school and other sectors of society that are in need of service.
Any student who underwent any of the training under the NSTP who opts not to pursue college education for personal or economic reasons will be issued a certificate, which lists down the number of hours they have engaged in the training program and which they can cite in their job applications.
Magsaysay is the son of the late President Ramon Magsaysay who died in a plane accident on March 17, 1957. The younger Magsaysay inherited his father’s great sense of responsibility that helped him recognize the value of hard work and perseverance.