350 freshmen cadets start training in PMA’s ‘new normal’
BAGUIO CITY—After receiving a clean bill of health, 350 freshmen cadets belonging to Philippine Military Academy Class of 2024 stepped into Borromeo Field at Fort Del Pilar for the first time on Monday (June 15) for their reception rites.
The cadets underwent medical tests and went on quarantine before being driven on Sunday (June 14) to the academy, according to Navy Capt. Cheryl Tindog, PMA spokesperson.
“Today’s reception rites is very different from what had been done before,” said Vice Admiral Allan Ferdinand Cusi, PMA superindendent.
“In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced all of us to the ‘new normal,’ your class shall be undergoing the reception rites with only the PMA community to bear witness to your first steps in the hallowed grounds of the Borromeo Field,” he said.
The new cadets were given their first tests of physical endurance during the ceremony.
Donning masks, 70 female cadets and 280 male cadets performed rigorous diagnostic exercises like push-ups and sit-ups and were made to run through the muddy field under the supervision of a select group of senior cadets.
“At its surface, this reception is a simple ceremony to test and gauge your physical strength prior to the formal start of the trainings,” Cusi said during the program.
“In its symbolic and military tradition on the other hand, the reception rites herald the start of your regimented military life and your gradual transformation into professional and disciplined young military leaders,” he said.
Cusi said all the cadets, who were allowed to enter the academy, were not infected with SARS Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It was a requirement of the country’s premiere military school which had managed to keep students safe from the virus since the pandemic was declared.
Before Luzon was locked down in March, PMA had closed its gates to the public and scaled down participation in school activities including the May 22 graduation of PMA Masidlawin Class of 2020.
Classroom activities were also reduced with cadets given assignments instead during the quarantine, according to some of the academy’s teachers.
To enforce quarantine rules, the cadets will be physically separated during combat or sports training.
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