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No PDA, cross-dressing for gay cadets at PMA

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Military Academy said it would not discriminate against homosexual cadets but drew the line on public displays of affection (PDA) among gays and lesbians as well as cross-dressing, in accordance with PMA regulations.

PMA superintendent Maj. Gen. Nonato Peralta yesterday said all cadets – homosexuals or not – should pass all the exams and should be able to hurdle the rigorous academy training.

“We will not reject them (homosexuals). We will not say that it is prohibited. We are not prohibiting it,” Peralta said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

PMA spokesperson Capt. Agnes Flores said homosexuals should display behavior expected of cadets once they are admitted to the academy.

“Once they are admitted to the Philippine Military Academy, they are required to behave the way the cadets are to behave. That (behavior) is not what is expected of them. Because they entered the institution, they are to follow the rules and regulations of our organization,” Flores said when asked about prohibited acts.

The PMA will conduct its entrance examination on Aug. 26 in 37 testing centers nationwide.

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An applicant should be at least 5 feet tall, physically fit, a natural-born citizen, with good moral character, single and has never been married and at least a high school graduate.

Only applicants born between April 1, 1999 and April 1, 1996 are qualified to take the examination. Aspiring cadets should have no administrative or criminal case.

Successful applicants will become members of PMA class 2017. Application forms can be downloaded online at www.pma.ph. Interested parties may also call (074) 446-8002, (02) 913-6286 and mobile phone numbers 0949-4270584 and 0927-3810493.

Peralta encouraged the youth to consider entering the military service, saying this would provide them an opportunity to serve the country.

He said the PMA would provide them with education that could turn cadets into “well-rounded military officers.”

“After graduating from the academy, one is guaranteed of a progressive career as an officer in the Army, Navy or Air Force,” Peralta said.

The PMA recruits about 350 cadets every year.

Prime military school

The PMA is also reopening its gates to foreign military students next year.

Of about 10 military learning institutions in the Asia-Pacific, PMA retains its tag as one of the best military academies in the region for its principled leadership teachings that molded the cadets into well-rounded officers after graduation, Peralta said.

Asked if the academy is open to admit Chinese applicants, Peralta said they are leaving this to policy guidelines that would come from the higher leadership, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In 1975, Peralta said a Taiwanese cadet then enrolled at the academy was ordered to return home after the country declared a one-China policy.

Since its establishment on Dec. 21, 1936, PMA has produced 46 fine foreign military graduates coming from countries like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and United States.

The last foreign cadet graduated from the academy in 2001.

Aside from the needed endorsement from their country of origin, Peralta said that admission requirements for foreign cadets is almost the same as those required of local applicants.

This year the academy is throwing away its height requirements of 5’4” for male and 5’2” for female applicants.

“The lowering of the height requirement is aimed at widening our selection pool,” Peralta said.

He noted that scores of applicants, despite their excellent physical and educational skills, were disqualified because they failed to meet previous height requirements.

“The changes in the minimum height requirement came about when it was observed during the conduct of the Limited Physical Examination (LPE) in different examination centers, that many are denied the chance to go through the first phase of the selection process, solely for reason of not meeting the height requirements,” Peralta said.

He said that many Filipino youth with good educational background and physically fit are denied the opportunity to take the entrance examination.

With the height adjustment, which he said is also being observed in West Point in the US, the academy will be increasing its recruitment base. - Jaime Laude

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