Philippine Army presents 1st batch of IP soldiers

18 Jan 2018
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ALABEL, Sarangani (January 18, 2018) – The first batch of 34 indigenous people (IP) recruits from different municipalities have graduated from Philippine Army training.

“Lately, (the) ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) has been obliterated. For me, this was the moment when the youth lacked the sense of nationalism. Now, we are strengthening the armed forces again and putting especially IPs into the army. I think there will be a big possibility for our republic to be resilient again,” Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said.

Governor Solon and Capitol employees cheered the graduates when presented during the flag ceremony on January 15.

“Truth be told, most IPs are underestimated in some places. But here in Sarangani, we are mostly consisted of IPs whom we prioritize, honored, and be proud of,” the governor added.

This group of IP soldiers is headed by their company commander, Malapatan native 1st Lieutenant Rezel Faith Sela, of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade. She has been in service for four years safeguarding the mountains in Sarangani and the IP areas.

“We took time in training the team from civilian to military. Which means, turning their lives 360° to completely discipline them,” 1Lt. Sela said. “All of their requirements from height, physical fitness test, etc., were mostly waived, but they are still accepted because they are IPs. This is the advocacy of our head admin.”

1Lt. Sela added, “I admit there were times that my gender affects my job. I was the only woman in the group and at the same time, I am their company commander. But still I have courage to continue through the guidance of the Almighty and support of our governor.”

Since this is the first batch of IP Army graduates from Sarangani, their goal is to do well in service because they are the pioneers. More opportunities and support from government would come to them, the officer said.

1Lt. Sela encourages IP youth to sign up and join the trainings because there lot of opportunities if they passed. (Donna Mahusay/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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