MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he expects the 261 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Mabalasik” Class of 2019 to “know what to do” if they believed the country is not being run the way it should be.
“Serve your country well. Die for your country if it needs be. Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children and those who are now studying. Don’t forget that,” said Duterte in his keynote speech during the commencement exercises of PMA cadet graduates at the Fort General Gregorio Del Pilar, Baguio City.
“If you think that the country is not run the way it is and if it will destroy your country, you should know what to do. Do you understand me?” he added.
The rain-drenched graduates immediately responded with: “Yes, sir!”
Duterte also gave the graduates three pieces of advice, which involve instilling the values of humility, gratitude, and faith in service.
“As your Commander-in-Chief, I lay down these vital points that I will ask you to instill within yourselves as [junior officers] of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines): Be humble. Nothing beats humility,” Duterte said.
The President reminded the graduates that rank, authority, and trust of their subordinates and the people that they serve are borne out of respect for the office that they carry.
He also urged them to be “teachable”, stressing that the way to success requires order and discipline.
“Next, always be grateful,” Duterte said, urging them to honor seniors, officers, professors, enlisted personnel and other civilians who prayed for and believed in them.
Finally, Duterte called on the graduates to watch out for each other, especially in the field since many complex and irrational state and non-state actors may pose danger to the country.
“Lastly, always look at each other’s backs. In the field, nobody wins alone. Where many old mindsets are fading fast and new ones are coming from the unprecedented sources,” Duterte said.
He also asked them to stick to their respective missions, embody courage and loyalty as they pursue different careers in the military.
“Given this reality, I ask you to always remain faithful to your mission: Be a good soldier who will serve the Constitution, protect the people, secure our sovereignty, and preserve the integrity of our national territory,” he added.
“Let these values be your beacon until your last taps are sung and your perpetual memory would be to see your country truly free,” he added.
The President, in closing, expressed confidence that the graduates would remain to be “idealistic” especially in their pursuit for lasting peace.
“With you behind me, I am confident that we can build the foundations of a better, safer, and more peaceful life for all Filipinos,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, the President also pardoned the outstanding punishments for PMA underclassmen, reminding them that he would give them a pass because he wanted “good and capable soldiers.”
Duterte also gave PMA class valedictorian Dionne Mae Umalla a Presidential Saber and a certificate of ownership for a one-unit house and lot and PMA goat Danmark Solomon a new pistol. (PNA)