Baguio City—Be humble, teachable, and grateful, President Rodrigo Duterte told the graduates of Philippine Military Academy on Sunday, urging them to have each other’s back as “complex and irrational state and non-state actors” may be a threat to the country.
READ: Five women on top of PMA class ‘19 (Mabalasik)
Speaking at the commencement exercises of the Mabalasik graduating Class of 2019, the President, who arrived two hours late at the venue, addressed 261 young lieutenants, who were soaked under a heavy downpour.
In his speech, the Chief Executive laid down “vital points” that he asked the new junior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “take part in the journey towards the noble profession of arms.”
“Be humble. Nothing beats humility. Always remember that the rank, authority, and trust of your subordinates and the people that you serve are borne out of respect for the office that you carry,” he said.
“Be teachable. In all definitions of disciplines and endeavors, the way to success requires order and discipline,” he continued.
“Next, always be grateful. Honor your seniors, your officers, your professors, enlisted personnel and other civilians who have taught you, prayed for you, and believed in you,” he added.
The President also urged them to have each other’s backs as nobody wins alone.
“Our security is not anymore just about arms and equipment. At this time, complex and irrational state and non-state actors may even pose danger to our country,” he said.
President Duterte reminded them to “always remain faithful to your mission.”
“Be a good soldier who will serve the Constitution, protect the people, secure our sovereignty, and preserve the integrity of our national territory,” he said.
Aside from witnessing the oathtaking of the cadets and the handing out of their awards, the President also granted pardons of demerits and punishments of the PMA underclassmen.
Aside from Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo were also present at the event.
AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal, PMA Supt. Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista; Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde and outgoing Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan were also in attendance.
As the President recognized the presence of Robredo, Duterte quipped that she had not smiled at him when he looked at her.
This was the first time the two top leaders met after the President accused the opposition Liberal Party that Robredo leads of seeking to destabilize his government.
The PMA, meanwhile, said two of the original 263 cadets set to graduate would be held back for unspecified violations.
Cadet First Class Dionne Mae Apolog Umalla of Alilem town, Ilocos Sur province, graduated at the top of the class. Umalla, 21, will be the fifth woman to graduate as class valedictorian since women were accepted into the academy in 1993.
Arlene dela Cruz first graduated as class valedictorian in 1999, Tara Velasco in 2003, Andrelee Mojica in 2007, and Rovi Mariel Martinez in 2017. With PNA
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