Friday, 08 June 2012 11:06
Isabela City, Basilan – Newly installed 104th Brigade Commander Col. Arthur P. Ang in Basilancommitted to institute security sector reform under his command hoping toelevate the military as the source of national pride.
Speaking before the media during the turnoverof command recently in Basilan, Ang said that he has plans to first teach thesoldiers disaster preparedness and emergency-rescue operations. “Dapat angkasundaluan ay ready na mag rescue and magbigay ng first aid sa mganangangailangan ng tulong,” he said.
Ang reveals that he will banner the trainingof soldiers in Disaster Relief Operations as one important aspect of theprogram.
Commensurate to this, he said, is thepromotion of human rights. “Since the soldiers are deployed in the communities,it is an opportunity already for our soldiers to be able to promote and teachpeople in the barangays about human rights,” he said.
The new army chief said that the barangaymachinery is an opportunity for the military to tell people that the armedforces are the number one advocate of human rights.
And said he will first validate thecapabilities of soldiers on human rights then intensive training will be doneto capacitate the soldiers, and that this will be done in coordination withhuman rights commission.
When asked on how he would deal with rido (family feuds), Ang said that it isa police matter, pointing out, however that the military will support the PNPon law enforcement. “Back-up lang kami, primarily it’s the police work,” hesaid.
Ang also declared that all programs andactivities of the military in Basilan is anchored on the peace talks, saying “wewill not do anything that will jeopardize the on-going peace talks….but we willapply commensurate force if some groups would threaten the peace and securityof the community.”
Ang also dismissed the perception that mosthigh-ranking military officials are assigned in Basilan for promotion, whichleaves a bad impression from the public that war will be ensued in thisconflict-prone province. “Promotion is not about bakbakan (battles), our mission is winning the peace, not based onbody count…as long as peaceful ang lugar and has freedom of movement, culturalactivities are undertaken,” he explained.
“We are committed to support developmentprojects here,” he said as he cited the infrastructure projects in Basilan,like the concreting of the circumferential road, which he finds important tousher in development in the province. “Without them, it will take us a longtime to attain the much needed development.”
In maintaining security in the island, Angsaid the military will also do “focus operation”, where commensurate force willbe applied whenever there are threat groups “who will come in between us fromattainting peace and development.”
Moreover, Ang disclosed that the securitysector reform to upgrade soldiers’ capabilities and acquire modern equipment ispart of the national army transformation program, which has a vision that byyear 2028, “we will have an army that is world class and source of nationalpride”.
A major component of the said program is theacquisition of modern weaponry and equipment comparable with other modern armedforces [in the world]. “And it takes time and needs money to procure suchequipment,” he said.
“At my level here, at tactical level of thebrigade we cannot contribute much in acquiring these equipment at our level,however, as the Brigade Commander we can do many things by modernizing ourthinking and attitude by making us professional soldiers through the conduct ofin-house training, where we will instill discipline and good attitude. That isthe best thing that we can contribute to security reform of the Armed Forces ofthe Philippines, which will not cost us so much money,” he said.
Ang further underscored that all of these plans willnot be possible without the support of the friends of 104th Brigade,the different stakeholders in Basilan. “That is why I am pleading to you tosupport me as the 104th Brigade Commander. Help and assist me inachieving my mission here of winning the peace in the Province of Basilan.”
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