AFP to use former US Army facilities in Maguindanao

by Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Apr 29 2014 08:03 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2014 04:03 AM

MAGUINDANAO - Around 2 hectares of former US Army facilities inside Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao will be used by soldiers of the 6th Infantry Division (6ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the military said Tuesday.

6ID spokesperson Col. Dickson Hermoso said American soldiers left the facilities last April 17, about two weeks before US President Barack Obama visited the Philippines.

"Ito ang kagandahan, parang ito yung lease contract, yung mga facilities nila tulad nung 8 buildings na fully airconditioned at may water and electrical facility, may mga ref at washing machines at mga office equipment iniwan nila para magamit ng ating kasundaluhan," Hermoso said.

According to Hermoso, two teams of US soldiers composed of about 20 individuals stayed at the 6ID's camp since 2008.

"Nagre-position sila at tapos na yung mission nila rito sa Central Mindanao at nagsi-uwian na sila dun sa kanilang mother unit," Hermoso said.

"Ang kanilang role dito ay tulungan tayo sa training, yung paggamit ng mga equipment na gawa sa Amerika, at sa humanitarian assistance at disaster response operation," he added.

Now that the United States and the Philippine government have signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDAC), Hermoso said US soldiers might come back to their camp anytime soon.

"Hindi natin mai-aalis na the American forces helped us a lot in terms of skills acquisition, capacitating us sa mga bagay na wala sa ating imbentaryo at of course yung mas malawak na pananaw sa pag intindi sa conflict," he said.

The 6ID is planning to move some of its offices to the buildings previously used by the American soldiers.