ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Army is organizing the first-ever battalion of reservists to boost community-based security forces against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Sulu, military officials announced Monday.
“We are going to form the first-ever Sulu Ready Reserve Battalion. The ROTC (Reserve Officer’s Training Course) graduates would also form part of upcoming unit,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).
The battalion with come from 195 Tausugs who have graduated last Saturday from a 45-day Basic Citizen Military Training (BCMT) conducted by the Philippine Army Reserve Command.
The graduates, which compose the BCMT Class 01-20, came from different areas of Patikul town in Sulu.
The BCMT is an entry-level training course undertaken by Filipino citizens, who intend to enlist in the reserve force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division commander, said the activation of a Ready Reserve Battalion in Sulu was based on guidance from Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, who wanted to strengthen security in the province.
“We have personnel from the police and regular army soldiers that are Tausug – now we are proud that we have a reserve force that consists of purely Sulu residents. I thank Maj. Gen Peale Jon Bondoc, Army Reserve Command chief, for all the support he continues to pour in,” Gonzales said.
“The residents of Patikul are very lucky to be the first reservist batch in Sulu,” said Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, who is a reservist with a rank of major.
Bondoc thanked the local chief executives of Sulu for the support that led to the success of the BCMT in the province.
The duties and responsibilities of the reservists are to assist in disaster relief and rescue operations, socio-economic development, and operations of critical utilities of affiliated reserve units; and as a base expansion of regular force in the event of war, rebellion, or natural emergencies. (PNA)