Duterte to new officers: Be loyal to flag, Constitution
BAGUIO CITY—“Just be true to your oath of office. Do not pledge loyalty to a person, a human being. It’s always to the flag and to the Constitution. That’s my advice to you, ” President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday told this year’s graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
With the top of the class dominated by women, the President hailed the event as historic.
Mr. Duterte also reminded the future leaders of the military that their greatest challenges would require not just brains or brawn, but their moral judgment as well.
He advised the new graduates to remain loyal to the flag and the Constitution, and not to a single person.
Aside from eight women in the Top 10, with Rovi Mairel Martinez as the valedictorian, the PMA 2017 Salaknib Class has the highest number of women graduates.
“Today, we make history. This is the first time female cadets occupied eight of the top 10 spots in their graduating class,” Mr. Duterte said.
Tribute to women
“With the highest number of graduating women in PMA’s history, this breakthrough is a fitting tribute to our mothers, sisters and daughters as we celebrate Women’s Month,” he added.
Mr. Duterte called on the Salaknib Class to “always stay true to your class name and defend the motherland with your honor and might.”
Salaknib is an Ilocano word meaning shield. The whole class name is “Sanggalang ay Lakas at Buhay Na Alay Para sa Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan.”
Mr. Duterte expressed confidence that the class would be able to live up to its name because its members were the cream of the crop who had surpassed the demands of the PMA.
He called on them to keep the values and learnings from the academy and let these guide them in their lives.
“Out there, the greatest challenge will not just require your intellectual or physical capabilities, but your sound moral judgment as well,” he said.
The soldiers must also remain loyal to the country, not to a person, he said.
“Never propagate or nurture loyalty to a government worker who is also like you. We are on the same boat, we work for the Filipinos,” he added.
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