Zamboanga siege evacuee among top PMA grads
ZAMBOANGA CITY—-One of the evacuees during the siege of this city in September 2013 is among the top graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Masidlawin Class of 2020.
Together with his family and the rest of their neighborhood, Jefferson Yamson Salazar was among those who were displaced when followers of Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari holed themselves up in Barangay Santa Catalina and adjacent villages and fought government troops.
The 20-day siege displaced some 100,000 people and ravaged their houses from intense close-quarter fighting.
Today, more than six years on, Salazar completes military training at the PMA, ranking third in his class. He has chosen to be part of the Philippine Navy.
In an interview in August of 2019, Salazar admitted that he was inspired to join the academy so he can pursue a career that gives him the opportunity to help bring peace.
Salazar’s family lives in Sampaguita Drive of Barangay Santa Catalina. His father, Jose Jr., earns a living as a driver while his mother Marites takes care of the household.
Prior to entering the PMA, Salazar was already in his fourth year of Bachelor of Science in Physics studies at the Western Mindanao State University.
Technical Sergeant Harry Tañamor, physical fitness training course director at the PMA, who is also from Zamboanga City, describes Salazar as “a silent worker, religious and diligent.”
“I am like a proud father here,” said Tañamor, who competed in boxing during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Salazar will receive the Secretary of National Defense Saber Award, Australian Defense Best Over-all Performance Award, Mathematics Plaque and Philippine Navy Saber during graduation rites on Friday, May 22.
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