SOME 154 Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are now Army Privates after graduating from the 4th Division Training School (4DTS) in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
A total of 275 new Philippine Army Privates have graduated Thursday last week. Out of 275 new Privates, 154 are lumads, majority of them are from the Manobo and Higaonon tribes.
Meanwhile, 84 of the IP Privates are also former rebels.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Villarosa, Commander pf 4DTS, the soldiers entered the military training 4th quarter last year and started their Jungle Warfare Mountain Operation Course (JWMOC) in April 2019.
"The 4ID now have 275 trained, strong, brave, responsible and equipped soldiers ready to serve our people and secure our sovereignty," he said.
One of the graduates, Alyas Rios, is an alleged former Vice-Commander of the New People's Army (NPA).
Also among the graduates were 38 former CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) members who, for years, have volunteered to protect their community.
Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), welcomed the new members of the Diamond Troopers.
"You are now officially soldiers, use the skills, knowledge and discipline which you have learned from DTS to protect our fellow Filipinos. Let us uphold our Honor, Patriotism and Duty to our beloved country," he said.
"I also congratulate the 4DTS to a job well done, let us continue to produce world-class soldiers who have burning desires to fight for long-lasting peace in Mindanao," Gacal added.
The 275 privates will be deployed to the different Infantry Units of the 4ID. (PJ Orias)