CAGAYAN de Oro City – Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit, Philippine Army Chief, has called on the men and women of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), PA to keep away from partisan activities but to work very hard for a credible elections.
“Ako’y nakikiusap sa lahat na sundalo na huwag makialam sa politika. (I ask all the soldiers not to take part in partisan politics). The only political exercise that we will do is to vote. And so let us leave politics to the politicians,” he told them, during the 40th anniversary of 4ID in Camp Evangelista, over the weekend.
He also urged them to work closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government units (LGU) to address the armed threats in their areas, if any, because the mandate of the soldiers is to protect the voters.
The PA Chief then directed his field commanders to make a physical accounting of their personnel. “Know where they are and what they are doing. Per Sec. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, they should not intervene in any political activity, except to vote,” he told them.
However, the soldiers may be assigned as security details for some candidates in the upcoming elections, as long as they comply with the guidelines of the Commission on Elections, particularly on the wearing of uniforms when carrying firearms.
Over luncheon, he said the Philippine Army is offering an automatic promotion for enlisted personnel (EP) who would want to earn college degrees in human resource (HR) and logistics at the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy.
“This is one way of erasing the so-called “utak pulbora (gunpowder mentality)” of some of the soldiers,” the PA Chief said and explained that the Academy would be like that of the PNP University inside Camp Crame that aims to help policemen finish a degree in college.
Again, he said, the Army is offering scholarships, preferably, for those who wanted to become lawyers and medical officers, but did not have the needed financial resources to do it, on condition that they will stay in the country after graduation. (Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob)