IP militiamen finish CAFGU training in Agusan

BUTUAN CITY – The Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion in Agusan del Norte welcomed the 47 Manobo and Mamanwa tribe members who recently graduated from their Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) training.

Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, 29IB commander, said on Tuesday that the 47 indigenous peoples graduated from months of rough military training together with 13 Visayans last August 14 in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.

“I am truly elated to know that you were all able to complete the training. My congratulations go to all of you. I am seeing in you valiant warriors as well as great heroes of our day,” Criste said in a statement.

He also reminded the new CAFGU members to keep in their mind and heart all that they have learned during the training. “Let us work together not just to end the armed conflict but also to achieve the peace which we have long aimed for,” he said.

Criste said the new CAFGUs were among the applicants from the quotas of different barangays and municipalities in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur under the jurisdiction of the 29IB.

“The 60 new graduates were also joined by other CAFGU aspirants from other battalions in Caraga Region such as the 65th IB, 23rd IB, 28th IB, and from the 4th Special Forces Battalion,” he added.

Criste underscored the importance of IP militiamen in the Army ranks, saying their presence places the tribal communities in a stronger position to protect their ancestral domains and lands, “over which they have the rights of ownership and the right to develop, as stipulated in the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act of 1997 (IPRA).”

The IPRA law, Criste pointed out, recognizes and promotes all the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in the country.

Of the 47 new militiamen, five are tribal chieftains who offered themselves to become regular CAFGU members to serve the IP communities in their areas, the Army official said.

Among those who completed the training was Datu Layson J. “Panlabao” Sandag, a Manobo tribal chieftain in Barangay Pangaylan, Santiago, Agusan del Norte.

“As a leader of our tribe, we have the responsibility not just to maintain peace in our area but also to protect our tribe against the wicked and deceitful Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs),” Sandag said in the same statement.

He also recognized the risks they would face, including the dangers on their lives, as they fulfill their duties and responsibilities.

“As CAFGU members, we now have the confidence to serve and protect our people and our communities,” Sandag said. 

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com