2016 will see lowest number of PMA graduates in decades
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City—The graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) that President Aquino will grace for the last time next month will see the smallest number of graduating cadets in 40 years.
PMA “Gabay Laya” Class of 2016 will be composed of 63 cadets, at least as of Feb. 20, said Lt. Col. Reynaldo Balido, PMA public affairs officer.
The class started in 2012 with 121 cadets out of 1,120 applicants who passed the 2011 PMA entrance examination. But when the class conducted its cadet immersion program in Pangasinan province in November last year, its strength went down to 65.
Balido said half of the class were no longer graduating in March due to bad grades or for violating regulations. Some cadets may have been “turned back,” a reference to those who failed to make the grade and had to join an underclass.
Balido did not say if some cadets were dismissed.
“The normal reason for the attrition rate was for violating regulations like the honor system and the honor code,” he said.
All cadets are bound by the honor system, which is best expressed by the oath: “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do.”
Previous classes have had their numbers cut down by almost half, like the Gabay Laya, Balido said.
For instance, PMA “SinagLahi” Class of 2015 started with 228 cadets in 2011 but only 172 of them graduated and were given military commissions.
The PMA class in 1936 started with 10 cadets but only eight graduated: Luis Franco, Dominador Garcia, Ramon Laconico, Aquilino Manapul, Romulo Manriquez, Dionisio Ojeda, Eustacio Oroba and Ricardo Papa.
In 1937, 13 cadets graduated. The following year, 27 graduated. Classes from 1936 to 1938 were the transition classes when the Philippine Constabulary Academy became the PMA, which offered a new curriculum.
According to the Scribe, the academy yearbook, 56 of 76 cadets graduated in 1941, the start of World War II. Members of what would become PMA Class of 1943 were commissioned as third lieutenants despite the fact that they were on their second class year.
The government graduated PMA Classes 1942 and 1943 so their members could serve in the war. PMA Classes of 1944 and 1945 “were disbanded,” according to the Scribe.
The graduates of PMA Class of 1942 numbered 71, out of the original 110 cadets, while 60 of the original 96 cadets of PMA Class of 1943 graduated formally in 1961.
After the war, what constituted PMA Class of 1944 graduated in 1979. They numbered 83 cadets and war veterans. PMA Class of 1945 graduated earlier, in February 1950, and they numbered 76 of the original 92 cadets.
Post-war PMA classes show the same attrition rate that PMA still deals with today, based on the Scribe’s records.
Only 36 cadets of PMA Class of 1952 graduated on March 10, 1952, out of the 67 cadets who were originally appointed.
PMA Class of 1957 had 105 appointed cadets for the first time but only 72 of them graduated on April 16, 1957.
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