CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will in future recruitment, set aside five percent (5%) of the total number of applicants to come from Muslim Filipinos, Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Chief disclosed Saturday, April 8.
“The AFP Chief of Staff, General Eduardo Año ordered the allocation of a maximum of 5% of the total number of aspirants in the AFP either as Officers, Cadets, or Enlisted Personnel for our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Colonel Arevalo said.
At present, all recruitment quotas in the AFP have a 10% allocated to female soldiers while 5% are allotted for Indigenous People (IP), reinstatement, and special enlistment.
In the Philippine Army alone, this year’s quota is 3,600 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 will be dedicated to Muslim applicants.
The Philippine Air Force, on the other hand, has a quota of 600 for Enlisted Personnel and 80 for Military Officers while 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,” Colonel 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,” Colonel Arevalo stated.
“Most of our Muslim brothers and sisters perceive the deployment of almost 100% 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,” Colonel Arevalo added.
“We desire an Armed Forces of the Philippines 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,” General Eduardo Año, AFP Chief of Staff said.