120 new CAFGUs to beef up troops vs NPA in Ilocos
By Freddie G. Lazaro
SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur (6 February) -- A total of 120 civilian volunteers from the five towns of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur had finished their 3–month rigid basic military training course in Barangay Magsaysay, Sinait town.
According to Lt. Colonel Roy T. Devesa, Commander of the army's 50th Infantry Battalion based in Guimod Sur, San Juan, Ilocos Sur, told the training started last October 12, 2007 and culminated last Friday in a simple ceremony at the Gymnasium in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
These civilian volunteers, who were recognized as new members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), were trained and equipped on tactical and combat operations techniques against the insurgents in a community.
Aside from that, these CAFGU members were also be integrated in the roster of army's ready reserve battalion in Ilocos region under the Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM).
These CAFGU members will be assigned in the four detachments to be established at the towns of Pinili, Nueva Era and Badoc; all in llocos Norte and Sinait and Cabugao, both in Ilocos Sur under the operational control of the army's 50th Infantry Battalion based in Guimod Sur, San Juan, Ilocos Sur.
"The newly–trained CAFGU members will support our troops in our anti- insurgency campaign in the northern portion of Ilocos Sur and southern portion of Ilocos Norte," Devesa told.
"These new members of the CAFGUs will augment our regular troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the protection of life and property, security of vital facilities," Devesa added.
The recruitment and training of CAFGU is part of the program by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her bid to reduce if not eliminate the problem on insurgency in the country.
"They (CAFGU) also assist the local government authorities in the delivery of services in their respective communities especially during local emergency," Devesa said.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Loreto Magundayao, Commander of the army's 77th Infantry Battalion, said these newly–trained CAFGU members will be assigned in their own barangays that had been already been cleared from the influence of the New People's Army (NPA).
"Each CAFGU member is entitled to daily subsistence allowance, clothing allowance, death aid benefits, scholarship grants to their children, candidate for enlistment in the regular forces of the AFP and free hospitalization benefits," Magundayao said.
Magundayao disclosed that his unit is the one responsible in training all civilian volunteers to become CAFGU in Region 1, 2 and Cordillera region.
According to Magundayao, a total of 4,000 CAFGU members were actively supervise by his unit and were assigned in the various detachments in the three regions in Northern Luzon. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]