AFP to reserve 5% of recruitment quota for Muslim applicants
MANILA, Apr 15 (Mabuhay) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines announced Saturday that at least 5 percent of new recruits for the military would come from the ranks of Muslim Filipinos, the AFP said.
“AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año ordered the allocation of a maximum of five percent of the total number of aspirants in the AFP either as officers, cadets, or enlisted personnel for our Muslim brothers and sisters,” AFP Public Affairs Chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
At present, the AFP has allocated 10 percent of its recruitment quota for female soldiers, while five percent are for indigenous people, reinstatement, and special enlistment.
In the Philippine Army alone, around 3,600 are targeted for regular enlistment – 360 of which are dedicated to female applicants while 180 are either for IP, reinstatement, or special enlistment.
“If the new allocation will be implemented, another 180 [slots] will be dedicated to Muslim applicants,” Arevalo said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force has a quota of 600 for enlisted personnel and 80 for military officers. The Philippine Navy has 1,660 for enlisted personnel and 140 for officers.
“With the specific number of recruits to be sourced from among Muslim applicants, we hope to be able to organize a battalion of Muslim soldiers. And in the long run, a brigade or division composed of Muslims. They will be appropriately deployed to areas where Islam is the predominant religion,” Arevalo said.
“The Muslim soldiers will comprise the units best deployable to Muslim communities because of their being abreast of the culture and knowledgeable of the sensitivities of the Islam religion,” he added.
Arevalo took note that most of Filipino Muslims perceive the deployment of almost 100 percent Christian soldiers in their communities as “invading” or “occupational forces.”
“We hope to avoid this through the deployment of pure Muslim units in their communities,” he said.
For his part, Año said that the AFP desires a military force that shall represent a “cross-section of our society.”
“We would like to ensure that as we modernize, we would not be focusing our attention only in armaments and equipment but in empowering specific sectors within the AFP like women, Indigenous Peoples, and Muslims,” Año pointed out. (MNS)