BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines —The commencement exercise of the graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Monday, May 10 was under strict quarantine rules similar to last year’s event.
It was attended by only a small audience made up of teachers who witnessed 163 members of the PMA Masaligan Class of 2021 graduate and join the Armed Forces of the Philippines as junior officers during ceremonies held indoors at the Yap Hall. The Masaligan acronym means “Mandirigmang Samahan na Lakas at Sandigan ng Bayan.”
President Duterte participated in the ceremonies through video conference. The premier military academy school was locked down as early as February last year to prevent the cadets from contracting the coronavirus disease (Covid19).
The Masaligan Class, led by valedictorian Cadet First Class Janrey Artus of San Enrique town in Negros Occidental, is composed of 138 men and 25 women in their early 20s.
The youngest graduating cadet is Giovanni Agbuya, 20, who is among 82 Masaligan members who will serve as Army officers. The oldest cadet is Marc Simon Sercado, 26, who is joining the Air Force along with 35 other graduates. About 40 of them are joining the Navy while the remaining six will serve in the Marines.
Twenty members of Masaligan completed college before passing the PMA entrance examination, while four joined the PMA after finishing high school, according to a fact sheet provided by Air Force 1Lt. Christine Mae Calima, PMA spokesperson.
A good number of Masaligan Class cadets were pursuing undergraduate courses in accountancy; mechanical, electronics and civil engineering; and criminology when they shifted to a bachelor of science course in general military science at the PMA.
Aside from Artus, who is summa cum laude, this year’s top-performing cadets include Daryl Brix Colita, second; Valerie Mae Dicang, third, and is magna cum laude; class president Jan Hernan Perez, fourth; and Christine Joyce Andog, fifth.
Those who ranked from sixth to 10th are Feljoy Ending, Harold Mars Sastado, Pamela Calleja, Michael Angelo Madriaga and Shirley Fatima Lim. Andog, Sastado and Lim are graduating with cum laude honors.
Photo: Philippine Star