Duterte guest of honor
BAGUIO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte is guest of honor during Philippine Military Academy graduation rites here today (March 12) where seven young women belong to top 10 of this year’s "Salaknib" Class at Fort Del Pilar.
Rovi Mariel Martinez, 23, topped her class of 166 young hopefuls at this top military academy.
The youngest of two daughters of a barangay kagawad (village chief), Martinez said her father is a "frustrated soldier," and she was determined to make his dream hers.
In her third year as an accountancy student at Araullo University, Martinez entered the Philippine Military Academy to pursue her dream.
She is expected to be ranked second lieutenant.
Graduating cum laude, Martinez will also receive 10 other awards, including the academic group award and the social sciences plaque.
Cadet First Class Philip Viscaya, ranked second, will receive the vice presidential saber from Vice President Leni Robredo.
He will also receive the Philippine Army saber.
The rest of the top 10 have also the rank of CFC.
Eda Glis Marapao, ranked third, will receive the Secretary of National Defense saber.
Cathleen Jovi Baybayan, ranked fourth, will receive the Australian defense best overall performance award and natural sciences plaque.
Carlo Canlas, ranked fifth, will receive the Philippine Air Force saber.
Shiela Joy Jallorina, ranked sixth, will receive the tactics group award and Emilio Aguinaldo saber.
Sheila Marie De Guzman, ranked seventh, will receive the Gen. Antonio Luna award.
Johnny Marohombsar III will receive the Chief of Staff saber while Cadet First Class Franklin Dellomos will receive the athletic saber.
Michelle Calusor will be given the journalism award; Cadet First Class Karen Joy Gamboa, the computing and information science plaque; and Cadet First Class Maria Isaia Pearl Paracale, the mathematics plaque.
Army Lt. Col. Lea Lorenzo-Santiago, one of the first female graduates of the military school, said ladies have the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
The female cadets were even holding key positions in the corps, she said.
Lorenzo-Santiago headed the 30th Infantry Battalion in Mindanao for four years before becoming an artillery commander.
She returned to the academy in April this year as senior tactical officer to help train younger candidates for the armed forces.
Female cadets all live together in one barracks with upper class cadets.
Martinez's climb to the top of her class was not expected in her earlier years at the PMA.
She intended to quit only to be helped by older cadets in the academy, but later found balance between academics and military training.
She said here accountancy background helped her a lot, adding time management and running marathons shed off stress in pursuit of her dream to graduate.