By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The Department of Education (DepEd-Butuan City Division) and the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Alternative Learning System (ALS) A&E program of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) soldiers at the 402nd Brigade Headquarters here Wednesday.
Among the key personalities who attended the signing were Mr. Romeo O. Aprovechar, DepEd School Division Superintendent, Dr. Bevelyn C. Corvera, DepEd Curriculum Implementation Division Head, and Col. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the 402nd Brigade.
The signing of the MOU officially launched the partnership between DepEd and the 402nd Brigade to accommodate the IP soldiers for the ALS A&E Program in order to enhance their individual development, qualify them for the continuous regular enlistment and military schoolings/trainings.
The initiative is in line with the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) which seeks to professionalize the Army as an organization, Capt. Francisco P. Garello, Jr., Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 402nd Brigade said.
He said a total of nine IP soldiers will undergo the ten- month ALS program.
“Learning is a continuous process and don’t get discouraged if you study when you’re already old. The willingness to learn is already there but most people are constrained due to distance and time available while working. Moreover, poverty is not the reason for not having an education. Strive and dream high. If you want to succeed, pursue your dream and work hard,” Aprovechar said.
DepEd ALS Supervisor Ana Marie L. Ceniza, the ALS/IPEd Focal Person, DepEd Butuan City Division conducted orientation to the participants. Classes for the IP soldiers will be every Friday and Saturday of the week, for ten months.
Col. Licudine stated that the IP soldier program started last July 5, 2017 when the Army was given Special Enlistment Quota.
President Duterte recently directed the AFP to recruit IP soldiers to help in the Internal Security Operations of the government, “Most of the guerrilla bases are situated in the IP domains and about 80% of the NPA manpower is IP. Hence, to accommodate the IP to become soldiers, other requirements are waived such as the age limit, educational qualification, and civil status, among others. However, such enlistment is only good for six (6) years”.
“This partnership was launched to continuously improve the knowledge and skills of our soldiers. For the IP soldiers, this is your chance of a lifetime to improve your educational attainment and your career and the outcome of this ALS program will determine your future in the Philippine Army,” Col. Licudine said.