TWO hundred twenty young aspirants took their oath as Candidate Soldiers at the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) Gym, Camp Evangelista in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City on June 16, 2022.

Among the new recruits, of which 190 were males and 30 were females, 11 were Cafgu members and 31 came from the Indigenous People (IP) communities.

They were selected from almost 2,000 applicants who underwent a month-long screening process.

The 220 recruits will be a part of the Candidate Soldier Course Class of 726 and 727 and will undergo a six-month basic military training at the Mindanao Army Training Group in Camp Kabiritan, Kalilangan in Bukidnon.

One of the trainees, Mary Grace Opitan, an IP from Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, said that joining the Army has been her life-long dream. She hoped that this would pave the way for a better life for her family and tribe.

According to Opitan, her tribe, Manobo, has always been subjected to exploitation, illegal recruitment and abuse by the communist terrorist group.

Major General Wilbur Mamawag, in this message, said that the ceremony signals the start of the new life of these young individuals who accepted the challenge of joining the profession of arms in order to serve the country and the Filipino people.

"I'm sure will always remember this day for the rest of your life. You are no longer carefree civilians. You will be trained to become responsible defenders of our freedom and democracy," Mamawag.