AFP Turns CAFGU into Business
Ariel Montero | NPA-Northeastern Mindanao / New People’s Army
November 21, 2018
Duterte’s statement that the AFP is untainted by corruption because it is disciplined, degrades the people. The fact that soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), from the lowest among its ranks to its generals, are linked to varying forms and gravity of corruption and bribes, aside from their abuses, is clear to the people. One evident source of AFP corruption is the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) or Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA).
The AFP has turned the CAFGU into a business by deliberately withholding the release of salaries for 3-4 months. In North Eastern Mindanao Region, there are currently more than 100 CAFGU/CAA detachments, apart from the SCAA of mining companies and plantations. Each detachment has more or less 40 assigned CAFGU members divided into two groups taking turns with duty shifts for 15-20 days a month. They are paid about P4,500.00 monthly. So, there are about 4,000 CAFGU members in the region with a total budget for salaries reaching P18 million every month. In three months, this totals to about P54 million or P216 million a year.
But the amount for a month worth of salaries is used to bankroll businessmen and for lending, from which 5% to 20% interest is profited, before releasing it to the CAFGU members, while another month worth of salaries continue to be used in the enterprise. Thus, officials of the 401st and 402nd Infantry Brigades, Philippine Army (PA) of the AFP in the region, profit not less than P2.7 million–P10.8 million from the CAFGUs within 3 months. Such modus of the military officials continue throughout the year. Thus, millions of pesos have been appropriated by officers within a year while the families of CAFGU members suffer in poverty.
To appease the worry of the families of the CAFGUs who did not receive salaries, the AFP established cooperatives or conspired with several businessmen to provide loans, to enable families to meet their daily needs. These are deducted from the salaries, from which the cadreman also profits from the interest and commissions given by the businessmen.
The CAFGUs are further fried in their own grease inside the detachment especially with their food expenses. They each contribute P1,500.00 monthly for their food, but the cadreman who earns no less than P30,000 monthly salary, does not. The CAFGUs are treated as servants in the military camps. They wash the clothes, fetch water, cook and gather firewood while the officers do nothing. The names of CAFGUs who left the service are retained in the payroll, their salaries secretly pocketed by the officials.
The cadreman and other military officers also pocket large shares from payoffs, a standard operating procedure (SOP), given by businessmen and those operating in the area such as buyers of lumber and gold, loggers, small scale gold miners, haulages, fish peddlers and others.
Another source of corruption by AFP officers is multiplying the number of surrenderees to get bigger funds from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) for assistance and livelihood. But most of the civilians forced to surrender never received the amount, and of the others who were forced to join the CAFGU, few even received the meager P15,000.00 cash assistance from the promised P65,000.00. A few may have received larger amounts but these were only done by the AFP to give credibility (to the program).
In Surigao del Sur, some “surrenderees” were trained by the TESDA and were given 30 sacks of rice by the local government unit (LGU) for their food in one training session. But they (CAFGU) did not receive these because it was delivered to the detachment in Sitio Manlapso, Brgy. Magroyong, San Miguel and to the main camp of the 36th IB in Brgy. Dayoan, Tago, Surigao del Sur. This is the reason why many did not finish (the training).
These are but few of the cases of widespread corruption inside the AFP, apart from its connections to bribes given by mining companies, plantations and syndicates such as illegal drugs, smuggling and others. It is of no wonder then that the generals of the AFP and the police are millionaires by the time they retire from active duty. In the meantime, the families of the ordinary policemen, soldiers and CAFGU continue to suffer in poverty.
Thus, we call on the CAFGU members to leave the service because you have become the milking cows of your officers. Expose and oppose the exploitation committed by your officers. Earn a decent living and join your neighbors in their efforts to earn a living without threats to your lives.
Celebrate with pride the 50th anniversary of the CPP!###