PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo distributed diplomas for the 226 members of Mandirigmang Sibol ng Dakilang Lahing Kayumanggi (Masidlak) Class of 2010.

Arroyo personally awarded top cadet Erano Belen the Presidential Saber, Presidential Achievement Award for academic excellence, Philippine Air Force Saber, Academic Group Award, Natural Sciences Award, Air Force Professional Courses plaque, Jusmag Award, Agfo Award, and the Australian Defense Best Overall Performance awards.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Full military arrival honors were conferred Arroyo as the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Last year, Arroyo announced “belt tightening” measures for the Department of National Defense (DND), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Philippine National Police (PNP) slashing 1.5 percent of their maintenance budgets to save P7 billion for government.

PMA superintendent, Vice Admiral Leonardo Calderon Jr., received AFP Chief of Staff Victor Ibrado and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales at the PMA platform sundial also with full military honors.

Of the 226 cadets of the Masidlak class, 195 are male while 31 are female, the highest since the academy started accepting women in 1997.

Last week, Calderon lauded efforts of alumni and adopted members of the academy in keeping the institution free from politics. The 111th PMA alumni homecoming brought over 2,000 alumni with their families.

Arroyo departed after lunch for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) project opening in Rosales, Pangasinan.

Earlier, the President went to Mt. Data Hotel in Bontoc to oversee the opening of the Halsema phase II project. (Maria Elena Catajan)