MANILA—Showing that it does not tolerate divisiveness and discrimination, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday announced that it is allocating 5 percent of its applicant quota for Muslim Filipinos who want to join the military.
“The AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Eduardo Año, ordered the allocation of a maximum of 5 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 office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
At present, all recruitment quotas in the AFP have a 10 percent allocation for female soldiers and 5 percent 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 and 180 for either the IP, reinstatement, or special enlistment.
If the new allocation is not implemented, another 180 will be dedicated to Muslim applicants, Arevalo stressed.
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,” Arevalo said.
“The Muslim soldiers will comprise the units best deployable to Muslim communities because of their being abreast of the culture and knowledge of the sensitivities of the Islam religion.”
“Most of our Muslim brothers and sisters 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,” Arevalo said.