PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday called on the new graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to live by the three core values of the school – courage, integrity and loyalty.
“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,” Duterte told the 282 members of the Alagad ng Lahing PInagbigkis ng Tapang at Lakas (Alab Tala) class of 2018.
“As you dedicate your life in the service of God, country and people, know that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has the government’s full support,” he added.
“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.”
“To the “Alab-Tala” Class of 2018, this achievement is only the beginning of the many future successes. May you continue to become a source of strength and inspiration to your fellow soldiers and instruments of meaningful change in our society,” Duterte said.
“You have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel but how far can you go will depend greatly on your discipline, determination and faith,” he added.
The commander-in-chief gave assurances that the government will continue to support the military. He said aside from increasing the base pay of Armed Forces personnel, the administration is working to implement the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
“Priority projects [of the RAFPMP]are currently in several stages of completion to ensure that our men and women in uniform are provided the benefits and armed with the equipment to perform their duties effectively,” Duterte said.
The President also gifted the “class goat” or the cadet on the bottom of the class, a caliber .45 pistol.
Incoming Second Lieutenant Haezzer Keith Atiwag, who is from Barlig, Mt. Province, was cheered loudly when the President handed him his gift.
Atiwag bowed before his classmates and the guests including Duterte, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, PMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Donato San Juan, and other high-ranking military and government officials.
Atiwag will join the Philippine Army.
Among the notable class goats of the PMA was former Armed Forces chief and senator Rodolfo Biazon, who graduated in 1961.
This year’s PMA class yielded the most number of women graduates at 75, three of which are in the top 10.