President Rodrigo Duterte in a call leading the virtual simultaneous commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class of 2020 urged this year’s graduates to adapt to changes and remain faithful to their mandate.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the call to address PMA’s “Masidlawin” Class of 2020 and PNPA’s “Mandayug” Class of 2020 was carried out at the Malacañan’s Malago Clubhouse.
“Graduates, the world is changing and we have to adapt to the changes, lest we lag behind. But like someone, I said, we can change in the changing world and yet cling to the unchanging values of life,” Duterte said.
“Remain true to that sacred document (1987 Constitution) and remain as ever loyal to the Filipino flag,” the Chief executive added.
Duterte, in his keynote speech carried out through video communications application Zoom, extended his “warmest congratulations and best wishes” to PMA and PNPA graduates.
“Let not COVID-19 dampen the joy and pride that must be yours after going through grueling years of studying and rigorous training within the classroom walls and the parameters of the parade grounds of your alma mater,” said Duterte, who told the graduates to celebrate despite the current situation the country is facing due to the health crisis.
“These are values that make our society humane, and a nation progressive – a simple truth that is unassailable. I suppose that all of you are imbued with these values [love of country, honesty, integrity, concern for the poor and the needy, and adherence to the rule of law]. After all, that is what your alma mater prepared you for,” he said.
“I am really very happy for you tonight. I share your exhilaration. And I am confident that I will have soldiers, the finest from our military school, and police graduates that you will be there to secure the Republic for all time,” added Duterte, who reminded graduates that people would keep an eye on them as they become part of the state forces.
“Heaven forbid. Sana huwag naman (I hope it will not happen). For indeed that would be very sad. Keep that in mind always. The eyes of the Filipino, your fellow alumni, and your alma mater are upon you wherever you may be. By your conduct, your alma mater shall be judged. So also shall be, your fellow alumni be similarly treated,” Duterte said.
After his keynote speech, Duterte issued an order giving pardon to PMA and PNA cadets who are facing punishments.
“Believe me when I say that prouder still are your parents and loved ones because [of] what you have become,” he said. “All of you owe your parents so much. That is why I consider this special day as theirs as much as it is yours. This day belongs to you both.”
The PMA “Masidlawin” Class assembled at the Fort General Gregorio del Pilar in Baguio City, while the PNPA “Mandayug” Class gathered at Camp General Mariano Castañeda in Silang Cavite for their graduation rites.
The simultaneous commencement exercises are limited only to the graduating classes, meaning their families are unable to attend the event.