Thursday, May 15, 2014

69 CPLA integrees told: Be the conscience of a true soldier

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 15): 69 CPLA integrees told: Be the conscience of a true soldier

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Isabela - - Be the conscience of a true soldier  and embrace professionalism in the military.
This was the message of Ifugao Governor  Denis Habawel  to the 69 former members of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) who  are integrated to the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) following their  completion of a 6-months rigid military  training here.

The group composing Class 347-13 is the last batch of former CPLA members who surrendered their arms and opted for integration into the AFP, an option provided in the closure agreement between the former rebels and the government.

The graduates are  composed of 57 males and 12 females. 58 of them  are  from Kalinga, 6 from Apayao,  3 from Mt. Province, and one each from Abra  and Ifugao.

“For choosing the path for peace, you are true and reasonable men and women in the sense that it answers the calling of our conscience to spare the Filipino race from fighting each other but instead should work together for peace and development, Habawel  told the new soldiers  as he  challenged them  to become assets in the campaign for peace not only in the Cordillera but the entire nation.

“And this is it,  that we are together working for a common cause to help uplift the life standard of our brethren in the Cordilleras and protect the environment from getting worst,” he added.

The integrees  will have a short break while waiting for their  assignment  the area of responsibility of the 5th Infantry Division.

Aside from integration  of qualified CPLA members into the AFP, the  closure agreement provides for community-identified projects, livelihood and employment support for CPLA members. Dozens of CPLA members were employed as “bantay gubat” under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Various infrastructure projects were also  released in the areas of the CPLA through the Pamana projects of the Aquino administration as peace dividends.

The CPLA  had carried the struggle against perceived development inequality that eventually led to the inclusion of a provision in the new Constitution for the creation of an autonomous region in the Cordilleras.

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