Lu­mads wel­come to join AFP

Manila Bulletin - - Mindanao News - By MIKE U. CRISMUNDO

CAMP BANCASI, Bu­tuan City – In­dige­nous peo­ples (IPs) from the dif­fer­ent tribes in north­east­ern and north­ern Min­danao are wel­come to join the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP), the mil­i­tary’s top of­fi­cial in the re­gion said Fri­day.

“Hav­ing them join the Armed Forces is also giv­ing them chance to serve their peo­ple, their fel­low lu­mads while help­ing their com­mu­nity pro­tect their an­ces­tral do­main, in­stead of be­ing ex­ploited by the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines (CPP),” said North­east­ern and North­ern Min­danao Fourth In­fantry (Di­a­mond) Di­vi­sion (4th ID) Com­man­der Maj. Gen. Ron­ald C. Vil­lanueva the 4th ID chief said.

Vil­lanueva is­sued the in­vi­ta­tion as 15 IPs, or lu­mads, from dif­fer­ent tribal com­mu­ni­ties in Cara­gao and north­ern Min­danao were wel­comed to the fold of the mil­i­tary Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon as among the 115 Army can­di­dates who will un­dergo six months mil­i­tary train­ing at the 4th ID Train­ing School in Malay­balay, Bukid­non and the Sixth In­fantry Di­vi­sion (6th ID) Train­ing School in Car­men, North Cota­bato.

The six-month train­ing will teach the can­di­date sol­diers com­bat fight­ing, life­sav­ing im­per­a­tives, dis­as­ter re­sponse op­er­a­tion, peace­keep­ing ini­tia­tives, hu­man rights, rule of law and rules of en­gage­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Vil­lanueva, the new breed of so-called peace ad­vo­cates will fill up the needed num­ber of per­son­nel due to at­tri­tion such as optional and com­pul­sory retirement, among oth­ers.

Dur­ing the oath tak­ing cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the 4th ID chief ad­vised the fu­ture Army sol­diers to al­ways fol­low com­mands and be “per­fect.”

There are cur­rently some lu­mads in the ranks of the 4th ID who are al­ready as­sist­ing high­land com­mu­ni­ties in Caraga re­gion, it was learned.

Mean­while, lead­ers of the Hi­gaonon, Manobo and Ma­manwa tribes and of­fi­cials of the In­dige­nous Peo­ple’s Manda­tory Rep­re­sen­ta­tive (IPMR) in Caraga re­gion unan­i­mously ex­pressed grat­i­tude for the con­cern of the AFP in se­cur­ing their re­spec­tive high­land com­mu­ni­ties from law­less el­e­ments by en­list­ing some of their qual­i­fied tribal mem­bers into the armed forces.

In a press fo­rum at the side­line of the 20th An­niver­sary Cel­e­bra­tion of the In­dige­nous Peo­ples Rights Act (IPRA) law at one of the city’s ho­tel and con­ven­tion cen­ter here on Thurs­day, the tribal lead­ers ac­knowl­edged the con­cern of the AFP for the se­cu­rity of their re­spec­tive high­land com­mu­ni­ties while also ex­pressed grat­i­tude to the of­fice of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on In­dige­nous Peo­ples (NCIP) for con­tin­u­ously rec­og­niz­ing the con­cern of the lu­mads, es­pe­cially the rights of in­dige­nous cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties.

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