President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo attended the commencement exercises for the Philippine Military Academy's Mabalasik Class of 2019, held at Fort General Gregorio H. Del Pilar in Baguio City on Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP, handout
Duterte to PMA grads: Be humble, be good soldiers
Alexis Romero ( - May 26, 2019 - 5:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday called on military cadets to act if the Philippines is "not run the way it is" and to be good soldiers who are ready to die defending the country's sovereignty. 

Speaking during the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Mabalasik" class 2019, Duterte urged cadets to remain faithful to their mission as they face what he called "complex and irrational state and non-state actors" that may pose a danger to the country.

"Be a good soldier who will serve the Constitution, protect the people, secure our sovereignty, and preserve the integrity of our national territory," Duterte told this year's PMA graduates at Fort del Pilar in Baguio City. 

Towards the end of his 13-minute speech, Duterte said the cadets should be prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for the country. 

"Serve your country well. Die for your country if it needs be. Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children and those who are now studying. Do not forget that," Duterte said, drawing affirmative responses from the cadets.

"And if you think that the country is not run the way it is and if it will destroy your country, you should know what to do. Do you understand me? Good," he added. 

Duterte did not elaborate on his statement.

In his previous speeches, he had claimed that some government officials are into the illegal drugs trade, an activity that he said is destroying the country and the future generation. The president has also been saying that security forces are free to oust him if they are no longer satisfied with his performance or if he lies to them.

Even bigger challenges ahead

Duterte reminded the 261 members of PMA class 2019 that their graduation marks the start of an even bigger challenge as they enter their chosen branch of military service and assume leadership roles in our armed the forces.

He urged the new PMA graduates to be humble and to maintain discipline in all their endeavors. 

"Be humble. Nothing beats humility. Always remember that the rank, authority, and trust of your subordinates and the people that you serve are borne out of respect for the office that you carry," Duterte said.  

"Be teachable. In all definitions of disciplines and endeavors, the way to success requires order and discipline," he added. 

Duterte also asked members of the "Mabalasik" class 2019 to be grateful to their seniors, officers, professors, enlisted personnel and other civilians who taught them, prayed for them, and believed in them. 

"Always [watch] each other’s backs. In the field, nobody wins alone. Where many old mindsets are fading fast and new ones are coming from the unprecedented sources," the president said.  

"I urge you to always embody courage and loyalty as you pursue your noble careers in the military. Let these values be your beacon until your last taps are sung and your perpetual memory would be to see your country truly free," he added.  

Duterte expressed hope that this year's PMA graduates would strengthen their dedication to work for lasting peace. 

"With you behind me, I am confident that we can build the foundations of a better, safer, and more peaceful life for all Filipinos," he said.

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