The Citizenship Advancement Training Program

National Service, especially defense-related ones, usually comes with this thing that with lessons being shared where discipline and patriotism, in its own respective way will create a better citizen amongst the people in particular the students of different schools across the country. 

From that impression alone, a person can say that it may pertain to Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC program wherein at present is under the National Service Training Program or NSTP before any proposals for mandatory ROTC for students. 

However, here is one program wherein it functions the way ROTC and other NSTP do only applied in Secondary or High School Students.

Like ROTC, CAT also obtains the number of marches, minus
the assembly and disassembly of rifles. A Pitz Archival Image.

Being in a high school, just as in college, usually deals with lessons and various activities encouraging and molding the students into better citizens of their own worth. It is like forming a citizenry with camaraderie in mind which they determine the way the nation will operate in the next generation. That also includes defense-oriented matters where generation after generation, there will be draftees that are willing to serve and sacrifice for the beloved motherland.

It was taken note before in topics discussed here in this outlet that mandatory ROTC obtains advantages and disadvantages as well as the understanding of what it really means to be a patriotic citizen serving the country. Things that are already instilled in this program wherein it definitely flows with nostalgia among the people that were once under this activity (depending on what experience it maybe). 

Such experiences range from a field, institutional duty to community services that the development of the surroundings, an embodiment of an improving nation if gone multiplied. Like ROTC, being in this program may come with nice and not-so-nice experiences but nevertheless, those moments are ought to go with memory and lessons that pertain in loving the country or at some sense, a motivation to serve it in the name of protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the Philippine Republic. 

This topic is regarding a nice thing for a discussion given that this program in its own way instills more knowledge with regards to patriotism and being a better citizen in a sense that this complements the classroom discussion about it as well as the way parents teach their children.

Citizenship Advancement Training, Talisayan National High School, Zamboanga City, Batch 2012
A parade and review formation under the Citizenship Advancement Training.
A Pitz Archival Image.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: This section is based on what experience or insights that the author sees about the program itself. Each and respective experience that any individual has on the matter may conflict with this one. 

Well, for this article, let us share the experience especially from your very own author, with regards to this program where teaches the means of contributing to society, at least in the context of what was once a high school student.

In my own alma mater, the CAT program is nicely implemented given the ever-energetic instructor of the time providing the necessities and proper sanctions at his disposal. Passed-Failed grading basis was implemented at that time in the same way as to how the ROTC program rates college students. 

There was the time where, advanced officers are deployed in other school or institution serving as "honor guards" for various celebrations with mock-up swords and marches composing the formation in a sense that an entourage of visitors given the honor on those swords stuck out, much to the aesthetic effect of a celebration such as a usual Mr. and Ms. (name it up) event in a place where several chosen kids have participated. 

Add also to the picture the community service in each and every way was implemented where tree planting projects, community cleanup projects, and classroom improvements were done where responsibility is instilled among students, a necessity in any workplace especially in the military. 

They are also involved in each and every flag ceremony and flag retreats, doing the "entrance of the colors" in the school each day where they are responsible for raising and lowering the Philippine Flag. Then, there were the drills such as the one shown in the first photograph of this article wherein being part of a certain school-oriented celebration, provides the color in festivities as well as showing the effectiveness of the program wherein marching in the field, doing the inspections per se is the thing that showcases the basic knowledge of what the others say the so-called military training. 

Of course, this was not the ROTC one where 11 General Orders and map-reading are being taught, but this idea shares with ROTC in a sense that in marching, there instills the complement of classroom lesson of patriotism and parental lesson of discipline at any degree. One perhaps may say that those two aforementioned things may suffice the needs without implementing the CAT program, but perhaps it may also be good for such programs to take place so as for further molding of the youth to be as better individuals contributing what is best for the nation to have.

Those things, in this manner, are what embody the program as far as our viewpoint is concerned. Just to take note, each individual that undertakes the program may have various experiences wherein it ranges from a memorable one to a not-so-pleasant one. Hence, the inputs aforementioned may not go as related to several of the readers. Nevertheless, with such a program existed, with militaristic attributes, is something worthy of a discussion.

Cadets and Cadettes in a small Army Drill, 
or otherwise a simple inspection. Photo Source

Before the K-12 program changed the setup of learning for both primary and secondary schools, the old Basic Education Curriculum or BEC provides the necessities for a Citizenship Advancement Training Program, which requires Graduating High School Students or Fourth Year as per curriculum to undertake such program regarding the stipulations written in this Department of Education (DepEd) Department Order 52 implemented the year 2004.

Given the 2004 format, its provisions are parallel to, if not related to its collegiate counterpart where National Service Training Program or NSTP is divided into three subparts - CWTS or Community Welfare Training Service, LTS or Literacy Training Service, and of course, Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC which is the military-related one concerning the civilian-related activities of both CWTS and LTS. 

Add also that it is more likely to be a school-based prerogative so as what kind of CAT program will it be given to the students, either be a civilian-based national service one or a basic, military orientation with training and ceremonial drills omitted. This became the foundation of Voluntary ROTC that is far more appreciable that provides the youth multiple options whether to join or not than the restrictive, mandatory parts. 

That being said, all of these things embody the requirement necessary for each and every student to learn which is to serve the country even in the simplest of activities like cleaning up the community or instilling the knowledge given for self-betterment, a catalyst of an ever-developing nation.

To go further back in time, the Citizenship Advancement Training Program in its own sense was originally called "Preparatory Military Training" or "Citizen's Army Training" which predates way back year 1935 where the Commonwealth Act No. 1 was passed by the National Assembly of the Philippines, which was still under the rule of the United States of America. The said act was called "The National Defense Act of 1935". 

The provisions in the making of Preparatory Military Training were stated in Title III, Article I Section 52 where able-bodied citizens of the Philippines are required to take this program, starting at a young age, in place of Section 51 that all citizens are liable to take military service. 

These are considered one of the necessities to have the Defense of the Philippine Republic. As per AFPR G 314-033, the Preparatory Military Training was termed as Citizen Army Training of what it is abbreviated today as C.A.T, albeit the changes of terminology as the restructuring took place at a later date.

Later on, the Guidelines for Citizen Army Training was stipulated in the DO 17, s. 1985 of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (MECS, the forerunner of DepEd or the Department of Education) where the Armed Forces of the Philippines is obligated to run the program alongside the authorities of the respective schools or institutions. 

The said Department or Ministerial Order simply provides the guidelines which can be still seen at present, such as the use of school uniform alongside military-prescribed uniform, the medium of instruction such as in English or Filipino, instructions regarding on drills and inspections as well as other matters that will show up eventually in the restructured Citizenship Advancement Training. 

To add some notes folks, each school or institution with their respective C.A.T at that time may be managed by any of the three branches of the Armed Forces in a way ROTC also functions. In the case of experience written above (also indicated further in the first photograph), the local school C.A.T program was managed by the Philippine Air Force with the use of "flights" or "squadrons" in grouping the cadets into formation.

This program was reconstructed in the year 2003 where the abbreviation C.A.T, once called "Citizen Army Training" has become what is known at present as the Citizenship Advancement Training as per the revised rules and regulations of the National Service Program issued directly from the Department of National Defense

This Department Order Is known as "Implementation of the Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) at the Fourth Year High School Level" or the DO 35, s. 2003 [alt]. This was further enhanced by another Department Order from the DepEd which is the DO 52, s. 2004 where it, as aforementioned, calls the implementation of the CAT in both all Secondary Private and Public schools across the country. 

Just to take note once again folks, the restructuring itself goes inline it's equivalent in college, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) where, the same purposes are met ranging from Community Service to Military Orientation, limited to discuss matters with drills and ceremonies, as stipulated together with military training, in general, are badly prohibited. 

It may be as bad as it seems to be, but military orientation definitely suffices the needs wherein Voluntary ROTC may provide the basic military training later on. From here, the program, with the difference in its orientation, exposes the fourth year high school students in a more realistic form of having duties and responsibilities beyond the corners of the classroom where some, especially when exposed on the military orientation portion of the CAT, provides inspiration for them to enlist and eventually, part of the service within the Armed Forces to serve the country, its citizens and its national interest. 

It goes with truth as per experience where, several friends that find inspiration in this program entered ROTC during collegiate times and eventually, joined either of the branches in the AFP whether it may be the navy (incl. marines), the army, or the air force.

One may ask: how does the rate or grading take place given that the program only issues a pass or fail mark on its students? The answer lies to the operational rules and procedures of the program that usually goes in the way as this certain high school or institution issues it

There are three things that a CAT Commandant or a Corps Commander to issue which are the following: Bangs, Demerits, and Merits. To give a summary on these three things that constitute the remarks of a Cadet or a Cadette, Bangs are simply punishments on misconduct with no grade bearing that serves as a precedent to demerits should it be repeated, demerits being deducted on the cadet's CAT grade due to repetitive or severe misconduct and Merits providing the positive remark on the cadet, increasing his or her CAT grade in the process.

From this information provided, it might be a nice thing to say that being in High School and in college definitely includes National Service programs (not necessarily militaristic in nature) that are considered a prerequisite to the next phase of student learning where Citizenship Advancement Training or Citizen Army Training for that matter are considered part of the experience that is incurred during that period in time as these students are slowly learning on what it means to be a productive citizen of thy dearly Republic such as the Philippines. Moreover, this program is still existing at the present date as part of a new curriculum which is the K-12 program.


As the present curriculum gets into the system since it was implemented, the secondary school format or structure changes so much in a sense where adding two years of secondary education, especially for senior high school students, are a something that will make these students more competitive in real-world situations especially if it means drafting into service, making huge sacrifices and in turn, reaping those hardships and downturns into fruitful, better lives.

As for the Citizenship Advancement Training program, there aren't that much of a change given the fact that this is still provided among Grade 10 (4th Year in the old curriculum) students. The main bearing for this program in the current K-12 curriculum is the DepEd Order No. 50 s. 2005 wherein several division offices like this in Pangasinan or in Baguio City providing respective memos over the matter. 

The said order goes in line to the succeeding order which pertains to Order No. 52 which, to take note once again, the program is limited more on either community service or military orientation, with ceremonies or drills prohibited. As this thing gets discussed with people with backgrounds oriented to secondary school management, this idea usually limits to mere community service in which students are to render service in their respective communities for cleanliness matters. 

But with the stipulations of the Order No. 52 still in the basis on the Citizenship Advancement Training program in this K-12 curriculum, a discussion for military orientation as well as law enforcement is still a thing where nominal cadets are still doing minor inspections and drills which is different from ceremonial drills that are prohibited in the order.

Hence, the sense of having a national service in its own worth is still there, which is in its way go in similarity to Voluntary ROTC programs that provide more learning in a way that is more productive in its own worth with the sense that National Service is something that is presented in a way that it encourages the youth to love the country in ways other than military training.

Philippine Air Force, Citizenship Advancement Training, Talisayan National High School
The old days.

Citizenship Advancement Training, as initiated throughout the years, is primarily a national service program with originally being purely militaristic in the orientation where it involves military marches, drills, and even proper decorum with regards in aspects of following orders of the superiors, executing orders, and providing the basics in military orientation. Such aspects were tamed down eventually with community service and other "society-contributing" factors coming in as part of the restructuring of that program alongside ROTC went from being mandatory to voluntary, a branch within National Service Training Program or NSTP.

This program was originally created with primary national service in mind wherein from there, training goes with learning the attributes of what it really means to love the country in the close, military-and-defense aspect or ideology that not all of the students share. Hence, its restructuring provides a better idea of national service wherein there are other ways of helping the nation without doing the necessary military training unless if it is done voluntarily. 

Moreover, the learning that is being embodied in the new program is being emphasized with orientation on basic military knowledge makes it much more interesting than providing the drills where, although helpful and aesthetic enough on its own worth, does not suffice the needs for learning especially if a student does not want to enlist later on.

Therefore, the present sense of national service covers various aspects which are up to the students' taking, where the definition of these abbreviations C.A.T. now loosely correlates to its past that was being a "Citizen Army". Nevertheless, the Voluntary aspects of ROTC in college is still there to cover up the void, where aspirants are still taking the chance to enter and eventually, to enlist. 

As for the men and women that were once students of the past and some of the present, joining up the Citizen Army Training or Citizenship Advancement Training is the gateway for understanding the basics of what it means to serve the country, either it is militaristic or not. 

(c) 2018 PDA, edited 02-21-2023.


Anonymous said...

Do you have rank in Military after you graduated in Citezen Army Training?

Pitz Orpiano said...

None, but it helps improve entering ROTC in college, which ‌gives the rank of a private or airman in the Air Force upon graduation and eventually being part of the reserve.

Of course, it will be different if the student desired to qualify under ROTC-COQC or Candidate Officer Qualification Course that gives higher rank such as Cadet Second Lieutenant (C2LT).

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