THE safety of all cadets, including females, were assured by Philippine Military Academy (PMA) amid the recent death of Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio.
Captain Cheryl Tindog, PMA public information officer, said although the academy is considered male dominated, equal rights between male and female are practiced and observed, giving the female cadets safety from maltreatment, abuse, rape or even sexual favors.
"The academy promotes gender awareness and development, and implements strict policies against maltreatment, abuse, rape or sexual favors regardless of gender. The female cadets are properly and rightfully given equal opportunity to excel and lead in the academy. Their rights and safety are always observed," Tindog said.
Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr., PMA commandant of cadets, said female cadets have separate barracks from their male counterpart.
"We have many systems that we are employing so that women are protected such as, we have assigned tactical female officers. Male cadets and male officers are not allowed to just enter the barracks of the females," Brawner added.
Despite the tragic hazing incident inside the academy, Tindog said cadets are finding measures to combat maltreatment.
"The cadets are saddened by the recent incident, however, this also motivated them to stand strong against hazing and any form of maltreatment in the academy. They even signed a manifesto among themselves as an expression of their unity to promote wellness and positive leadership in the Cadet Corps," Tindog added.
Brawner, meanwhile, assured to parents the safety of incoming cadets.
"By the time they enter PMA next year, they will enter PMA with better services and better cadet core," Brawner told reporters last week.
Close to 400 plebes who will be part of Class 2024 are expected to report to PMA on June 1, 2020 for the oath-taking ceremony and start their cadet training at Fort Del Pilar.
Brawner added that before the death of Dormitorio, a record breaking 33,000 individuals took the examination, with 1,600 passing the written exams.
"I'm assuring those who are entering next year. Dapat huwag silang matakot because we are instituting reforms," Brawner added.
Short- and long-term solutions are pushed in the academy, including integration of all levels of cadets in one room, installation of additional CCTV cameras, additional tactical officers, and improvement of the honor system among others.
Brawner, who was chief of the 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi City, replaced former commandant of cadets Brigadier General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, while new PMA Superintendent Vice Admiral Ferdinand Cusi replaced Lieutenant General Ronnie Evangelista.