THE Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Commencement Exercises are culmination of the hardships and triumph of the cadets who dedicated their success to their family, friends and relatives.
However, this year, the families were not able to attend the ceremony in view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
For the PMA Masidlawin Class 2020 topnotchers, it was regretful and sad that their families were not allowed to attend the ceremony on May 22 because of the current global health crisis.
Some cadets shared their family and love ones had already bought tickets and made reservations of their stay in preparation to the graduation ceremonies.
For newly designated Second Lieutenant Dencel Aina Bayaca, Top 10 of the Masidlawin Class who hails from Pampanga, it was her dream becoming part of the military force.
She admitted at first, she was in low morale hearing the non-traditional graduation ceremonies due to the unprecedented circumstance that she tried to understand and look on the brighter side.
Her father, an overseas Filipino worker, was unable to attend all her graduation ceremonies since she was a child due to his work and the PMA Graduation was her last chance to share her diploma with her father.
Second Lieutenant Rotes Gaile Jamandre, who hails from Lamut, Ifugao and Top 4 of the Masidlawin Class of 2020 said she was very regretful as her parents were not able to attend the ceremony, dedicating the four-year stay and hard work in the academy to her parents.
“Noong una, mahirap siyang tanggapin kasi ibang-iba siya sa mga nasaksihan kong mga traditional graduation sa PMA. Noong sila noong fourth class ako sabi ko ganito pala, noong third class ako, sabi ko darating din ako diyan tapos noong second class ako sabi ko konting konti na lang ako din iyong pupunta diyan,” she said.
“Sobrang nanghinayang ako at the same time malungkot din kasi noong simula noon naging first class ako, inisip nila na gagraduate na ako. Pinaplano na nila kung paano sila pupunta. Noong palapit iyong graduation day sobra silang nalungkot at nanghinayang ako,” Jamandre added.
Another Cordilleran, Second Lieutenant Jeb Bay-an from Kabayan, Benguet who finished Top 5 of their class said it was unfortunate that their parents missed the ceremony.
However, he also expressed that the decision of the academy is to protect the parents and their loved ones from the threat of Covid-19.
“It is really unfortunate. This is one of the biggest moments para sa akin at sa mga classmate ko and nakakalungkot na hindi makakapunta iyong mga relatives and parents namin. But I still consider this as a blessing we would still be able to graduate. And we are here together. And I know as a class we can pushed through this despite the pandemic,” added Bay-an.
For Second Lieutenant Catabay Ladyong from Tabuk City, Kalinga who finished top six of their class apologized to his family for not attending the ceremony because of the current circumstances.
“For me at first medyo nakakalungkot nakakapanghinayang pero noong nagkaroon ng time it was okay. I feel sad and apologetic to my parents and to the people who wanted to see me March and graduate.”
Newly commissioned officers June Giel Anne Factor (Top 8) and Vanelyn Angel Tabao (Top 7) also expressed sadness and disappointments at first that their families will not be able to attend their graduation while ninth placer Rubenson Abgao Maliwanag Baroy of Lanao del Norte said it was unfortunate that his source of inspiration was not able to attend citing as early as February, their family is planning on obtaining plane tickets to attend the graduation.
Cadet First Class Jefferson Salazar from Zamboanga City and Masidlawin Class Top 3 narrated his family was also preparing their accommodation and tickets to attend the graduation.