BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: More than a hundred members of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) officially started their six-month military training as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines regular force.
The candidate soldiers have also turned over at least 138 firearms as a sign of sincere gratitude and appreciation to the government in its peace and development initiatives.
Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes formally welcomed 168 candidate soldiers during the start this week of their “rigorous military training” at the Army’s 5th Infantry Division headquarters in Gamu, Isabela
Coballes said they are mostly children or next of kin of former CPLA rebels composed of 147 males and 21 females, all members of the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development Inc., a non-government organization organized by the former CPLA.
In the 1980s, the CPLA was formed and led by Catholic priest-turned rebel Conrado Balweg when an alliance with the communist New People’s Army rebels was severed.
Col. Loreto Magundayao, chief of the 5th ID’s civil military operations battalion, said that the candidate soldiers passed all the qualifications and the screening process for integration into the armed forces.