Additional slots for the Special Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary (SCAA) for Negros Oriental are available for the proposed Tamlang Valley detachment in Santa Catalina town.
Lt. Col. Roderick R. Salayo, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion (11IB) based in Siaton, told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday that the 50 slots for the new SCAA, now known as CAA 2, will be funded by the provincial government.
“It is commendable that the province of Negros Oriental has sustained its efforts and support over the years in providing funds for these paramilitary forces because they are important for peace and security purposes, and also to help protect critical infrastructure,” Salayo said in mixed English and Filipino.
Regular CAAs are reservists who are paid by the national government while the CAA 2 militiamen are covered by provincial or local government funds and private corporations with a memorandum of agreement with the Department of National Defense, he said.
They support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in peacekeeping efforts, internal and external security threats, securing conflict-affect areas, and disaster response.
Salayo said there are currently 205 SCAAs distributed in Mabinay, Pamplona, Bayawan City and other parts of the province, with the additional 50 slots eyed for training soon.
“As per our assessment, we are looking at the start of the year in putting up a detachment in Tamlang Valley but we still have to talk to the local government of Sta. Catalina to align our efforts under the whole-of-nation approach,” he said.
A SCAA detachment has one regular Army soldier as its commander and sometimes with one additional soldier, he noted.
Meanwhile, Maj. Niño Tornalejo, 11IB Executive Officer (Ex-O), said they are looking at starting the training for the additional SCAAs for Tamlang Valley by December.
“All the slots are for those residing in Tamlang and its vicinity areas because they act not just as force multipliers but they are familiar with the community and the terrain,” Tornalejo said in mixed English and Filipino.
The training will run for one month and a half before they are provided with uniforms, firearms, and ammunition, and will be officially deployed to the area, he said.
Tornalejo said being a member of the CAA 2 is purely voluntary and they receive a PHP6,000 monthly allowance from the requesting local government.
They report to the patrol base for 20 days of duty and are allowed to return to their homes for 10 days with pay so they can earn additional income from other sources, he said.
“Receptive and maganda ang pagtanggap ng idea dito dahil hindi naman natin ma-i-distribute lahat ang mga sundalo sa bawa’t sulok ng probinsya (the province is receptive with the idea of funding SCAAs as it is difficult for us to deploy our troops in all parts of the province),” he added.
The 11IB commander is hopeful that LGUs will also fund their own paramilitary forces as these help with territorial defense and peace and security, particularly in the fight against the communist group New People’s Army (NPA).
Source: Philippines News Agency