A TEMPERED President Rodrigo Duterte faced over 2,000 Philippine Military Academy alumni during Saturday’s homecoming.
Duterte, clad in a black leather jacket, was guest of honor and keynote speaker in the weekend celebration of Asia’s premier military school where he read an eight minute speech, lacking the usual side comments to his political rivals and expletives the country has gotten used to.
The President was adopted as an honorary member of PMA Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAAI) in simple rites as thousands of alumni and their families looked on.
Duterte said he “feels at home “ at the PMA as they share the same mission to train and develop graduates with character and skill armed with the choice to live with courage and principle.
The Chief Executive relayed he shares the same love for country and compassion for the poor and needy congruent with the ideals of the academy which is described as a reflection of pride in being a Filipino.
PMAAAI headed by Cavalier Anselmo Avenido Jr. pledged their unwavering support to president’s advocacies in fighting corruption and criminality, drugs, heinous crimes, and terrorism to attain lasting peace as the association adopted the president as a member.
Avenido, reading a manifesto of support said the PMAAAI, will continue to become an example in leadership and living a life with courage, integrity and loyalty as he called on the Filipino people for support to work for a better and brighter future.
Duterte said he has a long standing harmonious relationship with the PMA alumnus not about political considerations. He was adopted as a member of Class 1967 which he considers an honor enough but elaborated to be adopted by the PMAAAI is a “double honor.”
To be inclined in the prestigious PMAAAI, a person has to be backed at least three PMA classes, in the President’s case he was first adopted by class 67 in 1997 when he was still a mayor in Davao, then by classes 66 and 88.
Duterte lauded the PMA’s template of discipline and civility and asked the academy to continue its tradition to be able to build a nation worthy of the Filipino and a Filipino worthy of their nation.
The President earned applause from the alumni crowd when he opted to troop the line by foot leaving the prepared white carabao at the sidelines.
Duterte awarded PMA Diamond Jubilarians (Class ’57), Golden Jubilarians (Class ’67) and Silver Jubilarians (Class ’92).
The oldest alumni who attended the homecoming is Delfin Castro, 91 – years – old, a member of PMA class 1951 while the youngest is Karl Angelo Torres, 22 – years – old, from PMA class of 2016 were also awarded and cited by the president.
Senators Manny Paquiao and Allan Peter Cayetano were also at the homecoming, being adopted members of different classes themselves together with Panfilo Lacson, is a member of Class 71.
Duterte administered the oath of incoming PMAAAI Board of Directors with Cavaleirs Melchor Rosales ’68, Erick Kagaoan ’87, Leo Angelo Leuterio ’88, Christopher Catutot Sr. ’90, Demosthenes Doplayna ’82, Eliezer Galam ’87, Rosalino Alquiza ’55, Fredelino Bautista ’66, Jaime Delos Santos ’69 and Danilo Servando ’81.