DAVAO ORIENTAL—The Philippine Military Academy’s (PMA) “Class Mabalasik” cadets, the country’s future military officers, have visited Davao Oriental to learn about its implementation of peaceful strategies against insurgency.
On May 2, 2019, sixty six cadets, who are set to graduate next month, have bench marked the province’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) implementation in preparation for their deployment in the different military headquarters of this country.
Lt. Col. Montano Almodovar who led the delegation said he was “amazed” by the province’s peaceful resolve in ending armed conflict and that the cadets are fortunate to have been exposed on this learning as well actual operations of the army units in the field.
“This is part of their on-the-job training. We are exposing them to what is really happening or what are the operations conducted of our army units on the field. I believe that that program presented to them will be a big help for them to be better prepared as future leaders when they report to the army as these cadets will be graduating in two weeks-time now,” Lt. Col. Almodovar said.
He said he is hoping that the bench marking activity will serve as an inspiration for the National Security Management to enhance the curriculum of the PMA as “the cadet’s training on insurgency operations is limited to the basic doctrines taught by the Philippine Army.”
“The specific details on what is being done in the field like the E-CLIP and the Community Support Program here in Davao Oriental, are not discussed in their training. In line with that, the cadets will be needing more subjects in relation to national security and I think with the President’s Executive Order 70 and the implementation of E-CLIP, that would be a good start for the cadets to learn,” Lt. Col. Almodovar added.
Citing that “insurgency can only be solved through inter-agency collaboration,” Lt. Col. Almodovar furthered that he hopes that the rest of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in country will strengthen their E-CLIP implementation to finally put an end to the decades-long struggle of insurgency.
“I’ve been in the military for 25 years, and I’ve been dreaming for this convergence with the other government agencies because the only way we could help the communities in the marginalized communities in the hinterlands is to talk to them to identify their issues and their problems.”
“As with all the other officers, we’re dreaming of the time that the LGUs will have this kind of initiative in ending this insurgency, like what Davao Oriental is doing. I think this is the essence of a true Whole-of-Nation approach. So, although it is being implemented, copied and adopted in the national level, however, I hope that all the governors will emulate or copy this initiative of the government of Davao Oriental,” he added.
Cadet First Class Kenny Dacuba, the squad leader of their class’ Community Support Program (CSP) subject, said that they feel privileged to have conducted their on-the-job training’s here.
“We now have an idea on what our units really do in the field as future lieutenants. Other infantry divisions have finally realized how effective the strategy that is being conducted here in 10th ID and we are thankful that we have our OJT here,” Cadet First Class Dacuba said.
Col. Manuel V. Sequitin, Commander of the 701st Brigade, who gave the delegation brief preview of the brigade’s gains, emphasized that “we are partners with the Local Government in pursuing peace and development”.
“Philippine Army does not shy away from its duty. But you will learn that pursuing the enemy will create more enemy,” Col. Sequitin told the cadets as he emphasized the role of peaceful strategies in winning the peace.
He added that the cadets are fortunate to have learn of this strategy while they are still in the PMA, stressing that there is no other venue that will offer them “this kind of learning” in their on-the-job training.
“Before, as a lieutenant, we are confused on what we should do. But that was 30 years ago. Now we have learned that the solution of the insurgency problem is not by killing the enemy. It is now the delivery of services through the leadership of the LGU. Now you don’t only have to think of yourself as a warrior. You don’t only do training, shooting, and operating. Some of you will be working as a CMO, others as technical staff. Now you are here because this is how to do it. There is no other area that would present ideas such as this,” Col. Sequitin furthered.
On the duration of their visit, the cadets undergo series of lectures. Emmalyn Oliveros, Center Manager of the Happy Home, the Halfway House for former rebels, presented how the facility is being run by the provincial government. Other lectures were focused on how convergence of effort has won peace in the province.
DILG Assistant Regional Director Yvette Tolentino Sunga, who spoke on the department’s contribution on the E-CLIP implementation, has acquainted the guests on how good governance, especially in the Barangay level, contributes to ending violence and other problems at the grassroots level.
“Because really the problem that we are facing right now, it all redound to good governance. All problems—insurgency, drugs, all problems—it all boils down to good governance,” she said.
The province’s flagship program, the Nagkakaisang Lingkod Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan (NLD-BOC), which has become a venue for persuading those who are still in the Communist Terrorist Movement to surrender to the folds of the law, was introduced to the cadets.
NLD-BOC focal person Rotchie M. Ravelo emphasized in his presentation that it is the convergence of effort of the different government agencies in delivering much-needed services in the communities that draws the rebels to lay down their arms.
Also, the cadets have been acquainted of the initiatives of the Youth for Peace (YFP) here through a short lecture.
After the short program at the Lane’s Kita-anan in the City of Mati, the delegation visited the 701st Brigade’s Ugnayan Center where the deradicalization course of the former rebels is being held. After, they proceed at the Happy Home where they were given time to mingle with the former rebels who are currently enrolled in the E-CLIP.