Duterte assured the new PMA graduates that he would protect them if they face legal problems while they are performing their duty. File photo

Duterte to PMA grads: Bear sacrifice, stay with Constitution
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - March 18, 2018 - 6:20pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday advised new graduates of the Philippine Military Academy to brace for "complex" realities and to be ready to sacrifice for the country as they combat threats like illegal drugs and terrorism.
 
Speaking during the graduation of the PMA "Alab Tala" class of 2018, Duterte said the incoming military officers should be worried because of the daunting tasks ahead of them.  
 
"In war, we are facing ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). It will never end in about five years... Then, there's the drug menace. You have to worry. You know you have plenty of work to do," the President said. 
 
"I do not pity you but I can see that the sacrifice in the coming days that you have to bear for the country. That's why I talk to each one of you," he added. 
 
Duterte assured the new PMA graduates that he would protect them if they face legal problems while they are performing their duty. 
 
"I said do not be afraid. Just do your duty in accordance with law. I got your back," the president said. 
 
"As you leave the halls of PMA and enter your chosen branches of service, you will be faced with realities that are far more complex than what you have been prepared for. Mistakes will always be inevitable but have confidence in knowing that the rules of the academy have honed you for the responsibilities that await you as you assume leadership roles in the armed forces," he added.
 
Duterte said the 282 members of the "Alab Tala" class have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel but how far they go would depend greatly on their discipline, determination and faith.

'Become a source of sttength for fellow soldiers'

He also urged the incoming military officers to "become a source of strength and inspiration" to their fellow soldiers and to become "instruments of meaningful change" in society."
 
"Your courage and bravery have been tested numerous times but despite all of these trials, you have emerged victorious and ready to take on bigger challenges ahead," Duterte said. 
 
"Remember always the three words that have been ingrained deeply in your hearts: courage, integrity and loyalty. Embody these words and use them to guide your actions throughout your careers," he added, referring to the motto of the PMA. 
 
The president said the military has the full support of the government, citing the increase in base pay of soldiers and police officers and the implementation of the second tranche of the Armed Forces Modernization Program. Despite the support given by the administration to the armed forces, Duterte reminded the PMA graduates to be loyal to the Constitution and not to him. 
 
"Stay with the Constitution, stay in the chain of command, love the Filipino people that you serve. I never mentioned my name. I do not want to nurture loyalty. I find it corny. After my time, I will go," the Philippine leader said. 
 
"If there is a perfected constitution by 2020, I’m announcing it to you now, I will step down. I will not wait for 2022. I will step down once a federal government is established," he added.

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