BAGUIO CITY, May 24 (PIA) --Celebrations are expected in the different provinces in the region as 40 cadets from the Cordillera region, four of them topnotchers and one athletic awardee, will graduate from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Sunday (May 26).
PMA Superintendent LtGen. Ronnie Evangelista on Tuesday presented the Top 10 and other awardees of the 263-strong PMA MABALASIK Class of 2019. He also bared that by region, the Cordillerans compose the biggest number of the graduating cadets.
Leading the Cordilleran graduates is Cadet First Class Jahziel Gumapac Tandoc of Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet who is the Top 3. The 21-year old is among the youngest graduates of the class.
She will receive the Secretary of National Defense Saber from DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippine Army Saber for being the top graduate joining the Philippine Army, the Army Professional Courses Plaque, and the Australian Defense Best Overall Performance.
In the Top 4 is Cadet First Class Daniel Heinz Bugnosen Lucas of Gawana, Barlig, Mountain Province.
Lucas is a licensed teacher who graduated as cum laude in Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Mathematics from the Saint Louis University before entering the academy. He will receive the Air Force Professional Courses Plaque.
Lucas achievement makes it two PMA topnotchers in a row for the small village of Gawana with Cdt 1Cl Ricardo Witawit Liwaden graduating as Top 2 of PMA Alab Tala Class of 2018.
Cadet First Class Richard Balabag Lonogan from Antadao, Sagada, Mountain Province is the Top 6 of the class. Lonogan who is the Delta Company Intelligence Officer and the Delta Company Commander will be joining the Philippine Navy.
In 8th place is Cadet First Class Glyn Elinor Buansi Marapao of Lengaoan, Buguias, Benguet. She will receive the Navy Professional Courses Plaque.
Marapao said she was inspired to strive to excel by her sister, Navy Ensign Eda Glis, who graduated as Top 3 of the PMA Salaknib Class of 2017.
Another Cordilleran, Cadet First Class Kimberly Joy Saliw-an Baculi of Taloctoc, Tanudan, Kalinga is this year's Athletic Saber Female Awardee. Her graduation awards include the Tactics Group Award and the Sports and Physical Development Plaque.
These top graduates shared that as Cordillerans, they have advantage physically, emotionally and psychologically over their classmates from other regions.
"Cordilleran cadets have advantage upon entering the PMA which include the weather and climate since they already are accustomed to it," Tandoc said. Be it male or female, Cordillerans have an advantage physically with their built, and the terrain they are going thru during trainings is very familiar to them, she added.
"Aside from the weather and climate, the way of living of Cordilleran in our respective home towns has molded us to what we are today," Baculi said.
She said that household chores such as getting firewood in the forests and helping in rice and vegetable planting and harvesting, walking several kilometers to and from the schools and home and other activities which they did when they were children were great lessons that helped them in their studies and training at the PMA.
"We never get homesick, most of the times we see our family members inside the camp since they are just around Baguio City. Even if we don't speak with each other, their mere presence is very much helpful to us as cadets of the PMA," Marapao shared. .
Lucas also attributed their achievements to the help of the Cordilleran community inside the PMA where the upper class has been guiding the lower class to ensure that they are in the right path.
"We have a Cordilleran community among the cadets that always guides us and always reminds us not to violate any rule and regulation while inside the academy," he said.
The PMA MABALASIK (Mandirigma ng Bayan, Iaalay ang Sarili, Lakas at Tapang, Para sa Kapayapaan) Class of 2019 will receive their diplomas from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, May 26, at the PMA Fort Del Pilar here, (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)