MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged this year’s graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) to adapt to changes and remain faithful to their mandate.
Duterte made the call as he led the virtual simultaneous commencement exercises of the PMA “Masidlawin” Class of 2020 and the PNPA “Mandayug” Class of 2020 at Malacañan’s Malago Clubhouse amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Graduates, the world is changing and we have to adapt to the changes, lest we lag behind. But like someone, I said, we can change in the changing world and yet cling to the unchanging values of life,” Duterte said. “Remain true to that sacred document (1987 Constitution) and remain as ever loyal to the Filipino flag.”
Due to the pandemic, Duterte led the graduation rites through video communications application Zoom.
Duterte, in his keynote speech, extended his “warmest congratulations and best wishes” to PMA and PNPA graduates.
He also told the graduates to celebrate despite the current situation the country is facing due to the pandemic.
“Let not Covid-19 dampen the joy and pride that must be yours after going through grueling years of studying and rigorous training within the classroom walls and the parameters of the parade grounds of your alma mater,” Duterte said.
Duterte expressed hope that the incoming military and police officers would imbibe good values like love of country, honesty, integrity, concern for the poor and the needy, and adherence to the rule of law.
“These are values that make our society humane, and a nation progressive – a simple truth that is unassailable. I suppose that all of you are imbued with these values. After all, that is what your alma mater prepared you for,” he said.
Duterte also reminded graduates that people would keep an eye on them as they become part of the state forces.
He was confident that he will have a good working relationship with the incoming AFP and PNP officers.
“I am really very happy for you tonight. I share your exhilaration. And I am confident that I will have soldiers, the finest from our military school, and police graduates that you will be there to secure the Republic for all time,” Duterte said.
He also expressed optimism that the graduates would not fail their alma mater and waste the efforts of their mentors.
“Heaven forbid. Sana huwag naman (I hope it will not happen). For indeed that would be very sad. Keep that in mind always. The eyes of the Filipino, your fellow alumni, and your alma mater are upon you wherever you may be. By your conduct, your alma mater shall be judged. So also shall be, your fellow alumni be similarly treated,” Duterte said.
After his keynote speech, Duterte issued an order giving pardon to PMA and PNA cadets who are facing punishments.
The PMA “Masidlawin” Class assembled at the Fort General Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City, while the PNPA “Mandayug” Class gathered at Camp General Mariano Castañeda in SIlang Cavite for their graduation rites.
The simultaneous commencement exercises are limited only to the graduating classes, meaning their families are unable to attend the event.
Duterte, who for the first time led the simultaneous virtual graduation ceremonies, told graduates that their parents are proud of them.
He said graduates should hand over their diplomas, medals, or plaques to their parents as a “sign of respect and filial piety.”
“Believe me when I say that prouder still are your parents and loved ones because [of] what you have become,” he said. “All of you owe your parents so much. That is why I consider this special day as theirs as much as it is yours. This day belongs to you both.”
The PMA Masidlawin Class has 196 cadets. Of the 196 graduates, 100 will join the Philippine Army, 45 will be with the Philippine Air Force, and 51 will go to the Philippine Navy.
On the other hand, the PNPA Mandayug Class has 227 cadets. Around 202 of the graduates will join the police service, 59 will go to the Bureau of Fire and Protection, and 16 will be with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. (ia/PNA)