The Naval Forces Western Mindanao through the 1st Western Mindanao SCAA Squadron (1st WMSS) convened a Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) Basic Military Training (BMT) CY-2018 for newly-recruited SCAA members on Wednesday in this city.

The opening ceremony was attended by Rear Adm. Rene Medina, Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NAVFORWEM) commander, as the guest speaker with the Deputy Commander for Marine Operations, Col. Hernanie Songano and Commander of 1st Western Mindanao SCAA Squadron, Lt. Col. Noel R Precioso.

Composed of 196 individuals from different fishing companies of SOPHIL, BMT Class 2018 will undergo 10 days training to learn the basic military doctrine and policies.

It is to equip them with knowledge and skills essential in the performance of their role as the Navy’s partner in maintaining peace and stability in waters surrounding Western Mindanao.

Prior to the said training of new members of SCAA, NAVFORWEM conducted refresher training for other SCAA members last January 23 to 27 January. This was initiated to continuously improve their capabilities and individual abilities to counteract attempt of piracy and seajacking.

Under the direct control of NAVFORWEM, SCAA plays a significant role in accomplishing the command’s mission.

By putting eyes and ears on different ships and through cooperation of fishing companies in the SCAA program, NAVFORWEM captured Omar Amping, the fourth most wanted person in Zamboanga City, together with five others believed to be Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members on 20 November 2017 off the vicinity of Bolod Island, Tonquil, Sulu.

Knowing that this program helps the Navy perform its mandate in Western Mindanao not only in operational but also in administrative, NAVFORWEM convened this BMT Class 2018.

“Initial military training is an intensive resident programme normally lasting several weeks or months, which aims to teach the new recruits or applicants the social norms and essential tasks of the armed forces. The main purpose of this training is not to impose fear nor is it there for you to be battered into purple mesh. But it is to break your old self and mold you into a better person, a person with values and principles, a person with hope and vision,” Medina said.

Through this effort, NAVFORWEM aims to completely eradicate or at least lessen the number of seajacking and other lawless acts in the region. It is in order to provide a safe sea for commerce, trade and peaceful living. (PNA)