TAGBILARAN CITY, April 23, (PIA) –Elements of the 47th Infantry Battalion, now based in Macaas, Tubigon train for a relatively different kind of work from which they have been trained for: public relations and information dissemination.
Instead of firearms and oversized back packs, the soldiers would soon be out, armed with the least likely of all: information and the public relations must have: ballpens, cameras and information materials.
Captain Rigor Borja, Civil Military Operations Officer admits, the unit’s assignment in Bohol is a challenge far more difficult that it was then: carrying firearms and rooting out the enemy in the mountains.
“It was fairly easy then,” recalled Maj. Borja, whose assignment in Negros included talking it out with the leftists to just express themselves through the legally accepted means.
“We just tell them to go out and rally in the streets,” he said. “This is much better than going after them in the mountains,” he added.
“But in Bohol, how could we say to them to go legal, when it is the legal teams that are working here in the absence of the armed components?” Capt. Borja asks.
The problem in even compounded because, as he admitted, soldiers are minimally trained in public speaking and information dissemination engagements.
While soldiers are expected to fight a conventional war, the 47th IB team assigned in Bohol saw a different battlefield.
In the absence of armed components of the insurgency movement that has hounded other areas in the region, the military has to shift tactics and adopt to the situation.
At the Governor Lino Chatto camp in Tubigon, the soldiers then took on crash courses in news writing and photojournalism, in an effort to expand their arsenal of soldiering.
“This is an in-house training we sought to get our men a starting tool before they are deployed for the Community Development Program Purok Power Movement,” Capt. Borja advanced the information.
During the training, the Philippine Information Agency in Bohol as well as Ric Obedencio of a local daily newspaper handled the trainings that lasted the whole day, April 22, 2016.
“We are never really formally trained to write,” admits an enlisted personnel at the camp who observed the intricate skills needed to package an information.
“Maybe, in time, as we continue to use the newfound skills, who knows what we can do,” he continued.