by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
BAGUIO CITY – A female cadet hailing from the province of Ilocos Sur has topped the graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) this year.
Cadet 1st Class Dionne Mae Apolog Umalla from Allilem town in Ilocos Sur led the 263 graduating cadets of PMA Mabalasik (Mandirigma ng Bayan, Iaalay ang Sarili, Lakas at Tapang, Para sa Kapayapaan) class of 2019 and is one of its five top ranking female cadets.
Umalla is the youngest and the only female of four siblings. They were raised by their single mother, Dionisia who is now a retired teacher, after their father left them when Umalla was still in grade two.
Although it was a painful episode for their family, Umalla said a reconciliation with their father remains welcome. She also expressed hope that her father will seek them out when reports about her achievement will reach him.
“Siguro naman proud siya na makita niya ako sa TV kaya feeling ko siya na ang maghahanap sa akin. Pero I’m not closing my door, welcome pa rin po siya kapag nagpakita siya po,” she said.
21-year old Umalla is the fifth female to emerge on top of their PMA Class. First was Arlene dela Cruz of PMA Class of 1999, followed by Tara Velasco in 2003, Andrelee Mojica in 2007 and Rovi Mariel Martinez in 2017.
The rest of top 10 cadets of PMA Class of 2019 are listed below:
Cadet 1CL Dionne Mae Umalla
Cadet 1CL Jonathan Mendoza
Cadet 1CL Jahziel Tandoc
Cadet 1CL Daniel Heinz Lucas
Cadet 1CL Aldren Altamero
Cadet 1CL Richard Lonogan
Cadet 1CL Marnel Fundales
Cadet 1CL Elinor Marapao
Cadet 1CL Angelique Pasos
Cadet 1CL Daryl James Ligutan
Four of them came from the Cordillera region and one hails from Mindanao.
“Siempre po, nakakaproud kasi akala ko nga po madami kami tapos kanina nalaman ko na ako lang pala, kaya siempre from Mindanao proud ka rin sa sarili mo,” said Cadet 1CL Aldren Altamero who ranked fifth.
“Inspiration [ko ‘yung] family, ‘yung parents ko ngayon papunta sa graduation. So, first time nila pupunta dito tapos yun na yung motivation ko para to strive hard,” he added.
Members of the PMA Class of 2019 will be commissioned as junior officers by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, May 26. (with details from Grace Doctolero)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Questions about President Rodrigo Duterte’s health heat up following his performance at Sunday’s graduation rites for the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Mabalasik Class of 2019.
Duterte arrived two hours late and seemingly wobbly when he almost fell while boarding the ‘white carabao,’ a military jeep commonly used for the traditional trooping-the-line ceremony.
But Malacañang was quick to defend the President.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained that the Chief Executive barely had sleep the night before the ceremony due to piles of documents that he needed to sign and reports that he needed to review.
Because the President is a night person, he usually stays up until 6:00 a.m. according to Panelo.
He added that it would explain why after awarding diplomas to the top two cadets of the graduating class, the President delegated the rest to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The Presidential Spokesperson assured that the President is in good shape and he is ever ready for his trip to Tokyo, Japan.
Duterte is set to fly to Japan on Tuesday (May 28) to attend the 25th Nikkei Conference on the future of Asia and to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a bilateral meeting. – (with details from Rosalie Coz)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) defended President Rodrigo Duterte for not personally handing out the diplomas to the graduates of PMA Mabalasik Class of 2019 on Sunday (May 26).
PMA Spokesperson Major Reynan Afan said it was the President’s prerogative to carry out the task or give someone his “delegated authority”.
During the ceremony, President Duterte awarded the diploma, presidential saber, and the house and lot certificate of ownership to the class valedictorian, Dionne Mae Umalla of Ilocos Sur.
Umalla was the fifth female valedictorian of the PMA graduating class since 1999.
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, handed the award of class salutatorian, Jonathan Mendoza.
For the rest of the graduating class, it was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who distributed the diplomas.
In his speech, the Commander-In-Chief reiterated to the 261-member of the PMA Mabalasik Class of 2019 to serve the country with humility, loyalty, and courage for today and the future generation.
“Serve your country well. Die for your country if it needs be,” the President said.
“Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children and those who are now studying. Huwag ninyong kalimutan iyan (Bear that in mind). And 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 PMA graduates responded with a resounding: “Yes, sir!” — Marje Pelayo
President Rodrigo Duterte | SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Duterte fired Philippine Military Academy(PMA) comptroller, Hector Maraña on Tuesday over alleged malversation of P15-M worth of cadets’ allowances.
“I approved his dismissal and he was the comptroller of PMA…He is recommended to be imprisoned 6-12 years,” Duterte said.
The dismissal follows the recent firing of AFP Medical Center officials due to alleged ghost deliveries of medical equipment and questionable procurement of medical equipment and supplies.
The President revealed that the series of corruption allegations involving government officials has compelled him to mull over the idea of stepping down.
“Ang sinabi ko sa mga sundalo at pulis (I said to soldiers and policemen), ‘Guys, I want you to know that I am thinking of stepping down because I’m tired. While I am not against or angry against anybody, my chase against graft and corruption seems to be endless and it has contaminated almost all government departments and offices,” he said.
The President added that corruption in the country is so deep-seated and extensive that it has become intrinsic in transactions with any government agency. — Rosalie Coz
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