Fifty-three new soldiers are preparing for deployment to the 11th Infantry Division’s (11ID) line units that are fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Sulu.
The 53 new soldiers of the Candidate Soldiers Course Class 655-2020 graduated on Saturday from a rigorous four-month basic military training at the 11th Division “Mastal” Training School (11DTS) in Camp Bud Datu, Barangay Tagbak, Indanan.
They are now undergoing a 45-day Infantry Orientation Course to ensure their preparedness.
“At the surface, you might see this as an extension of your calvaries. But really, you should look at this as a privilege. With all the learning that you acquire, you gain confidence to face challenges head on. To win war, we need competent and confident individuals. As they say, warriors are made not just born,” the 11DTS said in a statement Tuesday, quoting the message to the soldiers of Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, the 11ID commander.
The 11DTS is responsible for the conduct of basic soldier skills training, specialization, in-service, and unit training for organic personnel and units of the 11ID.
“Mastal” is a Tausug word which means teacher. Its letters stand for the school’s mantra — Mastery, Attitude and Skills, for Training Army Leaders.
Class 655-2020 will become part of the youngest infantry division of the Philippine Army, dedicated to fighting the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria-affiliated ASG.
Candidate soldier Ken Pandacan, 22, from Barangay Man-uling Cauayan in Negros Occidental, topped the class with a general average of 94.75 percent.
He also obtained the highest rating in the physical fitness proficiency with a grade of 98 percent.
In December 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte, accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, led the activation of the 11ID “Alakdan” Division on at Camp General Teofilo Bautista, which houses the headquarters of the Joint Task Force-Sulu in Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo. (PNA)