FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City—The country’s premier military training institution received on Monday its biggest batch of female cadets yet, when it accepted 82 women to be part of the 245-member Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 2017.
Lt. Gen. Irineo Espino, PMA superintendent, said the incoming class has the highest number of female cadets since Republic Act No. 7192 required the military institution in 1993 to accept women. Cadets who graduate are automatically commissioned as officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The AFP sets a 20-percent quota for female cadets, but Espino said accepting 82 female cadets does not breach this limit.
The PMA, on its website, said the academy has been accepting a small number of women due to “the limited availability of adequate facilities for women.”
“The PMA all through these years has primarily been a school for men and it is understandable that changes could not be effected overnight,” it said.
“With the [entry] of female cadets, numerous adjustments needed to be done not only in the physical training but also in many other aspects to accommodate the very different needs of [women],” it said.
“The physical fitness training (program) has to be restudied to make it work for both sexes. New female barracks were constructed and female tactical officers were brought in,” it added.
Espino said the female barracks today could house all of the 82 female cadets.
Capt. Agnes Lynette Flores, PMA spokesperson, said the AFP medical board also allowed the academy to receive all female cadets who passed rigorous entrance examination and physical and medical tests that followed.
PMA had expected 276 newly selected cadets to arrive here on Monday for the traditional reception and oath-taking rites, among them 19 valedictorians of various high schools in the country.
Flores said they were selected by the PMA cadet procurement board from the 1,096 who passed the entrance examinations in August last year. Vincent Cabreza and Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon