Army activates Sulu reservists battalion

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Army beefs up its campaign against terrorism here as it activates the first ever reservist battalion in the province of Sulu to help fight against the Abu Sayyaf.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said Monday that the 195 Tausug volunteers, who just completed Basic Citizen Military Training (BCMT) will comprise as members of the reservist battalion.

The volunteers, who belong to the BCMT Class 01-20, completed their 45-day training last Saturday. They are from different parts of Patikul, 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).

Vinluan said that graduates of the Reserve Officer’s Training Course (ROTC) will also form part of the reservist battalion. He added that 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.  

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division commander, said Monday that the activation of a Ready Reserve Battalion in Sulu was based on the guidance of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who wanted to strengthen the 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 consist of purely Sulu residents,” Gonzales said. – Nikolai Gonzalo

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