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Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 10:26 (GMT+7)
Effectiveness of Corps 15’s economic-defense activities in strategic Central Highlands

Our Party reiterates its consistent policy of closely combining economy, culture and society with national defense and security and vice versa. Grounded in this policy, since its inception, Corps 15 has always effectively fulfilled its functions as “an army ready for work and production” while being prepared for national defense tasks if need be, thereby affirming remarkable performance produced by an economic-defense in the strategic Central Highlands.

1.Unlocking untapped economic potentials of a post-war undeveloped land

The resistance wars left the strategic Central Highlands undeveloped, culturally and economically retarded and mostly illiterate. Meanwhile, it is chief among prime targets of hostile forces’ sabotage plots to undermine great national unity. Against this backdrop, on February 20th, 1985, Chairman of the Council of Ministers (now Prime Minister) issued Decision No.68/CT on the establishment of Corps 15 stationed in the strategic Central Highlands, responsible for economic and defense tasks. On its very first days, Corps 15 faced countless hardships and challenges due to its mostly remote stationed locality and inadequate manpower, varieties of food crops and livestock. Being fully aware of its enormous responsibility as an economic-defense unit and bringing into full play fine traditions of Uncle Ho’s soldiers and the spirit of “determination to fight, determination to win”, “overcoming hardships, being attached to the people”, the  entire Corps 15 unlocked its stationed locality’s untapped economic potentials little by little, joining the locals in transforming vast tracts of uncultivated land into tens of thousands of green hectares of rubber, coffee, pepper, and deepwater rice along 250 km-long borders of the Central Highlands’ provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum. In the face of its sluggish consumption market, Corps 15 produced  1.77032 trillion VND’s worth of output in 2016 (exceeding 10.86% of the target), 63.70 billion VND’s worth of profits and 268.20 billion VND’s worth of the State budget while its monthly average income was approximately 4.6 million VND per capita.

Not only is Corps 15’s outstanding performance reflected in its economic achievements but also it is mirrored in its significant contributions to the locality’s economic, cultural and social development. So far, Corps 15 has invested in constructing 450 kilometers of medium, low-voltage electricity lines, 95 transformer stations and hydropower stations, hundreds of bridges, irrigation dams and clean water systems, building 1,500 kilometers of roads and repairing thousands of kilometers of roads, greatly contributing to the locality’s economic development and the locals’ improved living standards. Pursuing a preferential  recruitment policy for the local ethic minorities, Corps 15 has created 17,000 steady jobs, 7,000 out of which are offered to the local ethnic minorities. On the rubber plantations, Corps 15’s companies have joined their employees and local ethnic minorities in cultivating over 4,000 hectares of short-duration food crops such as rice, beans, peanuts, etc, producing tonnes of food and contributing to hunger eradication and poverty reduction. At the same time, they have assisted the locals in capital, varieties of food crops and livestock, farming techniques and consumption market, thereby facilitating the development of household economy, gradually shaping and developing the latter’s mentality of commodity production in a market economy, and lifting numerous local households out of poverty.

Corps’ exercise in 2016

2. Proactively participating in making  political systems at grassroots-level  strong

Fulfiling its function as “an army ready for work”, Corps 15 has proactively joined local Party executive committees and authorities in strengthening the role of local mass organizations, village/hamlet elders and patriarchs among local ethnic minorities. Corps 15’s Party Committee has trained and initiated hundreds of local ethnics working in its production teams  into the Party. Quite a few cadres of Corps 15 have been granted with membership of local People’s Councils, local committees for Vietnam Fatherland Front and local mass organizations, or assumed leadership of local hamlets and so on, positively contributing to consolidated political systems at grassroots-level.

Corps 15’s contingent of cadres and employees strictly observe the Party’s lines and the State’s policies and laws while encouraging the locals to do in kind. Also, they actively take the initiative to expose and foil sabotage plots and artifices by hostile and reactionary forces against the Vietnamese revolution as well as to encourage the locals to abandon such heretical religions as Ha Mon and Degar Protestantism. Consequently, the locals hold a firm belief in the Party’s leadership and the State’s sound policies, foster their sense of communal solidarity and maintain constant vigilance against misleading allegations by hostile and reactionary forces. This is epitomized by the previous outbreak of riots instigated by hostile and reactionary forces in the Central Highlands, which involved none of the ethnics in Corps 15’s stationed locality.

3. Contributing to local socio-cultural development

Corps 15 has always attached much importance to contributing to socio-cultural development, social welfare and building of new-type rural areas in the stationed locality. So far, its units have built and handed over 08 primary and secondary schools, run 10 nursery schools, 01 boarding primary school, and 01 semi-boarding secondary school. Additionally, Corps 15 has joined local authorities in providing better healthcare for the locals by building  01 second-tier hospital, 11 Military - Civilian dispensaries and a pool of military doctors/nurses in its production teams.

Firmly grasping the Party’s resolutions and directives and Ho Chi Minh’s Thought on mass mobilization, Corps 15 has been twinned with localities at various levels, ranging from provincial, district levels to commune, village and hamlet levels. Accordingly, its units and companies have been twinned with 37 villages; 174 production teams with 271 hamlets and villages; 4,020 Kinh households with the equivalent of ethnic minority peers. The model of Kinh to ethnic minority twinning is a new development of  “dexterous mass mobilization”  in line with Ho Chi Minh’s Thought, reflecting Corps 15’s efficiency in mass mobilization. Corps 15’s activities have contributed to strong political systems at grassroots level, socio-economic, cultural development as well as ensured social order and safety in its stationed locality. More importantly, Corps 15 has helped to fundamentally heighten local ethnic minorities’ awareness of work discipline, household economy development, healthcare and environmental protection while enabling quite a few households of ethnic minorities to get out of poverty, to break with outmoded traditions and to preserve and promote their own fined cultural traditions, thereby fostering solidarity among local  ethnic groups.

Selected by the Ministry of National Defense as a model of the emulation movement “the military’s joining hands in building new-type rural areas”, Corps 15 has actively built “employees’ villages” and assisted local authorities in building ethnic minorities’ hamlets /villages, thereby becoming a bright spot in building new-type rural areas. Its companies have invested hundreds of billion VND in infrastructure, including electricity networks, road systems, schools, community houses, stadiums, hundreds of “gratitude” houses and charity houses for beneficiaries of special policies and needy households of ethnic minorities respectively. Corps 15 has frequently organized film shows and invited civilian and military artistic troupes to serve the locals; held cultural, musical and sporting exchanges; visited and presented gifts to war invalids, diseased soldiers, war martyrs’ families, beneficiaries of special policies, children with disabilities, Agent Orange victims, village/hamlet patriarchs on public holidays. Those activities have greatly contributed to improving spiritual and cultural life, building an equitable, democratic and civilized society, ensuring the wellbeing and happiness of all citizens, and consolidating a firm “people’s hearts and minds” posture in Corps 15’s stationed locality

4. Contributing to strengthened defense capability and border protection, and preserved political security and social order and safety

Being fully aware of functions and tasks of an economic-defense unit stationed in a strategic area, alongside its economic activities, Corps 15 has always effectively implemented tasks of participating in building defense zones and combat readiness. Its companies, units, production teams and factories have been well placed for socio-economic development planning and the building of provincial and district defense zones in conformity with the strategic Central Highlands’ overall defense posture.

In  compliance with the Government’s Decree 77/2010/NĐ-CP, Corps 15 has closely cooperated with local Party executive committees, authorities, military and security forces, and border guards in preserving  political security and social order and safety, preventing illegal border crossings and unlawful religious activities, and opportunely dealing with problems within jurisdiction. Corps 15 has introduced regulations concerning coordination with district People’s Committees, provincial departments of police and provincial border guard commands  whereby quarterly meetings and regular contact are organized and made respectively in order to firmly grasp the local situations. Attention has also been paid to designing, supplementing and practising  operational plans, on-the-sport combat plans and plans for political security, social order and safety, search and rescue, natural disaster relief. So far, Corps 15 has joined with local authorities in planning and building 10 residential clusters made up of 26 residential sub-clusters along the border, thereby facilitating the local ethnic minorities’ social, economic and cultural development, and creating residential clusters in border belts within all-people defense-security-border guard postures.

Corps’ Reserve, properly organized into a division, maintains a constant and widespread presence in production teams. Thanks to this, it always effectively fulfils its tasks of protecting the locals and  production facilities while being thoroughly prepared for contingencies.

Corps 15’s aforementioned achievements have affirmed remarkable performance produced by an economic-defense in the strategic Central Highlands. They epitomize the unquestionable correctness of the Party’s line, highlighted in the 12th National Party Congress: “Closely combining economy, culture and society with national defense and security and vice versa shall be incorporated into every single socio-economic development strategy with a focus on remote, border, coastal and island areas”.

Maj. Gen. Dang Anh Dzung, Commander of Corps 15


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