A TOTAL of 300 Indigenous People (IPs) or Lumads will undergo training next month under the 10th Infantry Division (ID) to be part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
10th ID spokesperson Captain Rhyan Batchar said that the list of lumad candidates for soldiers was already completed and that they are waiting for the final listing before they will proceed to the training.
The lumad trainees from Davao Region and Socsargen were referred to by brigade commanders in their areas.
They will undergo a six-month training. In the first three months, they will undertake basic military training while the next three months will be the jungle warfare training. Batchar added that they will undergo similar training with the regular soldiers.
After they graduate, he clarified that they are not Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) members but they will automatically be private soldiers with equal compensation and benefits similar to the regular soldiers.
"Most probably kung taga-saan siya, doon sila i-assign. We have seen the importance to recruit them to communicate with their leaders and community with their fellow tribes," Batchar said.
Unlike the forced recruitment of the NPA, the recruitment of the Army is based on the clamor of the local lumad leaders. The Army supports the premise of ‘who else can serve and secure them better than the lumad themselves. He said that the IP community has been clamoring for this long time ago and will be only realized this year.
He added that others failed to make the cut as they were given a 300 quota, a mix of male and female candidates. He said that enlisting Lumads will help in preventing them from being recruited by the New People's Army.