By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Army has deployed new batch of officers composed of 240 newly commissioned 2nd lieutenants through a simple send-off ceremony held in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Friday.
The 240 new officers consists of 102 male and 37 female graduates of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Alab Tala” Class of 2018, 88 male and 12 female graduates of the Officer Candidate School (OCC) “Adusque” Class 49-17, and one graduate of the British Army Commissioning Course 163 of Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).
Major Gen. Chad D. Isleta, acting commanding general of the Philippine Army, led the send-off ceremony along with HPA-based officers, civilian employees as well as the families of the new officers to show their infinite support and motivation.
“I commend all of you for making the Philippine Army your choice and for willingly accepting the challenges that come with our profession, even if this means having to voluntarily leave behind your families, friends, and loved ones to protect a greater family – the Filipino citizenry. Take pride that you are now a part of a force that is rapidly transforming into a world-class organization,” Isleta said.
The bulk of the new officers shall be deployed to various Army field units to strengthen leadership at the tactical level which is essential in quelling the various threats besetting the country, particularly insurgency and terrorism.
According to 2nd Lt. Harold Frugalidad, who graduated from the British Army Commissioning Course 163 RMAS, he intends to apply the skills he acquired from Sandhurst in Urban Combat Operations training to contribute for the mission accomplishment of the Command.
On the other hand, 2nd Lt. Liwaden, a member of the PMA “Alab Tala” Class of 2018 said, “we would like to thank the Filipino people for the scholarship and training that we were provided through the government. We assure you that we will deliver and make sure that we will contribute to the Army’s effort to thwart insurgency and terrorism in the country.”
Further, 2nd Lt. Allan Kenneth Punzalan, top member of the OCC Class 49-17 who rose from the ranks as former enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force said “never stop chasing your dream and be proud because this profession is extraordinary and honorable, the pride of our nation”.
Lastly, 2nd Lt. Catherine Regalario, one of the 49 female officers, encouraged the Army applicants to work hard and do their best in all endeavors.
“To the women who want to be part of the Army, I have learned during my training that we are also capable to undergo the required rigorous training. Do not be afraid to pursue your vision,” she said.
Lt. Col. Louie D. Villanueva, Army spokesperson, said the deployment of the new lieutenants is very timely as the Army, through its ground units, just heightened and intensified its security campaign to suppress terrorism and insurgency the soonest possible time.
“The new set of officers were fully trained on war fighting and tactical leadership. They were also taught and equipped with knowledge on rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law, which is essential in the discharge of their duties and accomplishment of their assigned mission,” he said.
“The Philippine Army is consistent in its efforts to build up its force, providing opportunity for anyone especially the youth to serve the country through the noble profession of soldiery,” he added.