Duterte tells PMA grads to be 'instruments of change'

Artemio Dumlao - Philstar.com
Duterte tells PMA grads to be 'instruments of change'
Philippine Military Academy cadets march in formation at the graduation ceremonies of the "Bagsik Diwa" Class of 2022 on May 15, 2022 in this screenshot.
Screenshot from RTVM

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte called on the graduates of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2022 to "be many things at the same time", especially as instruments of change while ensuring they remain true to their oath as soldiers of the land.

Speaking during the graduation rites of the 214-strong "Bagsik Diwa" class of 2022, Duterte said although there is "some degree of change or transformation" among the cadets, they remain rooted to the basic concept of soldiering.

"Today, the man in uniform must be many things at the same time if he is to be relevant to the changing times. He must be both a warrior and a peacemaker; an arms-bearer and a pencil pusher; skilled in the art of war and adept as a lifesaver; an offensive machine and a fierce defender; a tribune and a diplomat; a soldier and a civil servant. You can be all these if you want," he told the graduates led by Cadet First Class Krystlenn Ivany Quemado.

Duterte said he believes PMA Duterte has sufficiently prepared the graduates for all possibilities and all eventualities.

Duterte also gave a special congratulations to the top graduating cadets of this class who have shown "remarkable leadership qualities and academic excellence."

"The eyes of the Filipino people are upon you. Always remain true to your oath. By your actuations in public, the Philippine Military Academy, shall be judged. You are the face of your alma mater," he added.

Duterte said as he steps down as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines by June 30, the graduates will only be starting their responsibility to uphold, protect and secure people’s rights, lives, and properties.

The president acknowledged that society's ills such as "corruption, red tape, illegal drugs, and crime and criminalities" still hound the nation but is hopeful that the next generation of Filipinos would accept the challenge addressing these.

"I guess it is in the hands of the next generation of Filipino leaders and movers where our salvation rests. You, the Bagsik Diwa Class of 2022 belong to that generation," he said, as he described the graduates as "the best that the youth of this land can offer."

Meanwhile, Duterte awarded a house and lot to Quemado, who topped the "Bagsik Diwa" Class of 2022. She was also awarded the Presidential Saber, Philippine Navy Saber, medal for academic excellence, academic group award, Department of Humanities plaque, Department of Management plaque, Department of Social Sciences plaque, Department of Leadership plaque, Navy Professional Courses plaque, Joint US Military Assistance Group award, Association of Generals and Flag Officers award, Spanish Armed Forces award, and Australian Defense Best Overall Performance award.

Quemado, who on Sunday became an ensign in the Philippine Navy, is the seventh woman to top a PMA class since it began accepting female cadets in 1993.

Duterte also awarded the class "goat" — the cadet in last place of the graduating class — Cadet First Class Romulo Balabag Dawilan III, a .45 caliber pistol.

Quemado is from Koronadal City, South Cotabato while Dawilan is from Sagada, Mountain Province.

Sunday's PMA commencement rites were the first in-person graduation exercises for the academy since the pandemic.



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