The 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division welcomed new army recruits to comprise the Candidate Soldier Course 539- 2018 followed by the Oathtaking and Reception Rites here, Monday, March 19. The said activity was graced by Major General Jesus A Manangquil Jr AFP, Commander, 9ID as the Keynote Speaker. The activity marked the last day of candidate soldiers’ civilian lives and the start of their military career. The said batch is composed of 250 successful applicants: 239 males and 11 female recruits. Majority of them are from the different provinces of Bicol, approximately 10 percent of the class came from other places outside the region. The selection process started when the applicants took the Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test (AFPSAT) as qualifying exam for the military service. The passers were required to undergo complete physical examinations such as physical fitness test, neuro psychiatric test, drug test, medical, and dental exam. The selection process also includes trade/skill test, and interview. In the reception rites, the new candidate soldiers were subjected to physical exercises under the heat of the sun to test their endurance and determination before the four months of rigid basic military training. They will be trained under the supervision of the 9th Division Training School 9DTS to become full-pledged soldiers. In his message to the trainees, General Manangquil expressed his hope to all 250-strong candidate soldiers will be able to finish their training. Along this line, he emphasized the objectives of the training those are to instill in them the strength and discipline befitting a soldier, and to transform them into professional soldiers who can serve people and defend the land. The Commander further stressed that for them to be successful in the first phase of their career, they must take each challenge one day at a time.