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After 50 years, AFP disbands WAC

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has unmanned its women military outfit that served as an administrative arm of the military for 50 years.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said that the 14 female officers and 595 active enlisted personnel of the Women Auxiliary Corps (WAC) are to be integrated to the major services or into the military service of their choice.

WAC’s equipment and facilities have been transferred to the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (J4).

The WAC Corps was deactivated in 1996 and reactivated in March 2010. The unmanning of WAC is pursuant to the defense planning guidance ordering the deactivation of military service support and separate units with duplicating roles and functions.

“Legally, the WAC could not yet be deactivated as long as Republic Act 3895 as amended remains, thus the unmanning of the office and the integration of its personnel to other units or major services of the AFP,” Zagala explained.

AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gregorio Macapagal, on the other hand, said that the unmanning and integration of the WAC to the major services would elevate its female officers and enlisted personnel as coequal with their male counterparts in the active service.

“As they are no longer confined in only performing technical, administrative and non-combat rules but have extended their horizon to field duty assignments,” Macapagal added.

In the unmanning ceremony held at the AFP headquarters presided over by Macapagal last Friday, WAC’s flag was symbolically folded, marking the conclusion of the unit’s functions in the presence of the unit’s all-women officers and enlisted personnel.

“The Corps flag may now be folded and encased but as to whether it will be unfurled once more or consigned permanently as a relic of the rich history of the AFP, only time and subsequent developments can tell,” said WAC chief Col. Yolanda Joaquin.

WAC was established in 1963 by virtue of Republic Act No. 3835. The first WAC chief was Col. Eufrencia Alfonso, now retired.

WAC Corps was founded by Josefa Borromeo Capistrano, who first organized the Women’s Auxillary Service in Mindanao with its Filipina soldiers assigned to nursing wounded Filipino revolutionaries.

“Our women in uniform showed the other side of the AFP and debunked the myth that soldiery is purely a man’s world. The office of the Chief, Women’s Auxiliary Corps became a beacon of optimism for the women not only in the military but the whole nation as well,” Macapagal said.

AFP ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AUXILIARY CORPS AUXILLARY SERVICE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF EUFRENCIA ALFONSO GREGORIO MACAPAGAL JOSEFA BORROMEO CAPISTRANO MACAPAGAL WAC
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