Cagayan De Oro City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has activated reserved soldiers in the wake of the ongoing crisis in Marawi City.
A total of 135 reservists have been mobilized into active status, and will undergo basic training, including firearms and melee handling, according to Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) headquartered in Camp Evangelista, this city.
Martinez said the activated reservists will be paid salaries commensurate to their rank, which ranges from private to major.
The newly minted soldiers will form the first company of the 1005th Ready Reserve Battalion under the 10th Regional Community Defense Corps (RCDG).
The erstwhile reservists were previously Advanced Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) graduates who are now professionals in private practice, Martinez said.
They will initially have a six-month tour of duty that will last until December or the expiry of the extended martial law in Mindanao, the military official added.
For their first assignment, the soldiers will reinforce the battalion-strong Task Force Oro, which is in charge of the overall security of the city, including manning checkpoints and forming visible presence in public places, such as hotels, shopping malls, places of worship, and streets.
Martinez said the government may also extend the reservists’ tour to help in the rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.
After that, they may also be called to act as ROTC teachers, once the bill calling for mandatory ROTC in colleges is passed into law.
In his send-off message, Army Reserve Command head, Col. Bernie Langub, reminded the reservists never to abuse their uniforms and always act prim, like their regular counterparts.
“You will wear the same uniform that we wear, you will be issued the same weapons, you will be paid the same as we are. So be proud because it is an honor to serve our kababayans (compatriots),” he told the reservists during a ceremony held Tuesday.
Langub estimated that 4,550 colleges in the country will offer ROTC training, catering to 2.5 million students. Of these, 1.5 million will be under the Army Reserve Command. The rest will be under the Air Force Reserve Command and the Navy Reserve Command.