FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City — Two combat heroes were among 45 departed graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) who were honored in last weekend’s alumni homecoming here.
Second Lieutenants Miguel Victor Alejo and Estelito Saldua Jr., who died in 2017, were given tribute along with older alumni in a memorial unveiled on Feb. 16, a day before the homecoming that was graced by businessman Enrique Razon Jr., chair and president of International Container Terminal Services Inc.
Both Alejo and Saldua graduated in 2015, as members of “Sinaglahi” class. Alejo was killed by communist rebels in a clash in Davao Oriental province, while Saldua died fighting Abu Sayyaf forces in Bohol province. Saldua was also a recipient of the Gold Cross medal.
The memorial also honored departed alumni who graduated after World War II. Among them were Brigadier Generals Amado Santiago of Class 1951, Jose Bello Jr. of Class 1956 and Arturo Castro of Class 1959.
“The names etched on the wall died under different circumstances. Many paid the supreme sacrifice in the field of battle. All of them possessed determination and selflessness—qualities needed to fulfill dreams larger than themselves,” retired Gen. Melchor Rosales, chair of the PMA Alumni Association, said in his tribute at the Alumni Memorial Park in Relics Point here.
On Saturday, Razon lauded the military and the police for embracing a policy of political neutrality since the end of the regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
“Over the years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has matured into the backbone for which we are able to develop and grow our economy and be more competitive in the global marketplace,” he said in a speech at the Borromeo Field.
Razon said he hoped to see the time when political power was no longer used against perceived enemies.
“I can only hope that at some point our politics will mature and our laws apply to all and not just used against political opponents by one administration after the other.”