Marcos orders review of PMA subjects, rallies grads vs ‘intruders’


PMA Bagong Sinag Class of 2024 —official Facebook page of Bongbong Marcos

FORT DEL PILAR, BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday ordered a review of the curriculum of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), citing the security challenges now facing the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Leading the graduation ceremony for PMA’s “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024, Marcos focused his speech on calls for territorial defense against external threats, in apparent reference to Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

“What we are facing now are a blatant disregard of internationally accepted principles and the deployment of weapons of ‘mass distraction’ by parties who seek to drive a wedge between a united citizenry. But people can see through such schemes,” the President said.

READ: Marcos: PH defending its territorial rights is not at the behest of US

“Against intruders who have been disrespecting our territorial integrity, we will vigorously defend what is ours but our conduct will always be guided by law and our responsibilities as a rules-abiding member of the community of nations” he added.

‘Great complexity’

Marcos ordered the AFP to introduce subjects that capture the “great complexity of the 21st century” so PMA graduates can continue to “keep Filipinos safe in their homes, our territory secure, our defenses against threats strong, and our democracy stable.”

The President’s remarks this year to the PMA served as a policy speech on security—in contrast to the first time he addressed the institution as President.

In his remarks to the “Madasigon” Class of 2023, Marcos focused on the institution of the Armed Forces, saying that the government was “strengthening [its] professionalism and merit system” as well as the “social protection” of all its personnel.

Members of the graduating class this year were just as aware of the issues now facing the military.

‘Prepared for future wars’

In an interview a week before their graduation, their superintendent, Lt. Gen. Rowen Tolentino, noted that the Bagong Sinag batch is “prepared for future wars.”

Navy Ensign Kim Harold Gilo, who placed third among the top 10 of this class, cited his experience as an observer during a mission to the West Philippine Sea where he saw firsthand Chinese vessels trespassing in Philippine waters.

He said this experience serves as an inspiration to other cadets in the class to take part in the military’s role of upholding the country’s sovereignty.

Of Bagong Sinag’s 278 cadets, 144 are joining the Philippine Army, 62 will be assigned to the Air Force and 72 are joining the Philippine Navy.

Fulfilling a dream

The class valedictorian, Army 2Lt. Jeneth Elumba, did not hide her emotions when she saw her parents arrive to watch her graduate.

“This is the first time I heard my father (Surigao City farmer Valentino) say he was proud of me,” Elumba told newsmen on Friday.

Valentino, a criminology graduate, and wife, Evelyn, took a boat to Butuan City, flew to Manila and then motored up for the first time to the summer capital to watch their daughter’s commencement exercise. The family reunited on Thursday during the traditional Ring Hop.

“Jeneth was able to fulfill what I dreamt of achieving as a soldier,” Valentino said.

The graduation rites was capped by a standing ovation for the class goat, 2Lt. Yanovic Las-ang of Nueva Ecija, who is the last ranking cadet of Bagong Sinag.

The graduates ceremonially turned over their duties as first class cadets to the “Siklab-Laya” Class of 2025.