Army eyes program to stop soldiers from turning into mercenaries
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army will be conducting programs to ensure that their “skilled” personnel would not be of use to criminal elements even after they bow out of military service.
In a phone interview, Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said among those that they had discussed at the sidelines of a meeting in Malacañang on Monday were to monitor the post-military service activities of all of Army personnel with “special skills.”
Currently, the Army only keeps track of its bomb disposal experts, who could be tapped by terrorists to become bomb makers.
“But now, I am ordering our units to also generate a list of our snipers, assaulters, special forces, and LRR (Light Reaction Regiment, the Army’s premier counterterrorist unit under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Special Operations Command), so that when they’re discharged, we already have intel on them,” he said.
The Army would intensify its “values formation,” to discourage its personnel, regardless if they are in active service, retired or discharged, from using their “military skills to harm innocent civilians.”
“We will also pair everybody with a second career, to help them gain employment should they go out of service,” Brawner said of Army personnel, both honorably and dishonorably discharged from service.
Brawner said the Army would also strengthen its counterintelligence forces to monitor especially its personnel who have been dishonorably discharged.
“We need to pour funds for our counterintelligence so it could grow bigger, and can do more of its work,” he noted.
Most of the armed men involved in the attack on Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo were former Army soldiers who have been dishonorably discharged from service.
Unlike the Philippine National Police, the Army has no dedicated counterintelligence command, with its counterintelligence functions embedded in its intelligence units.
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