By Francis Wakefield
After enduring two months of arduous physical training, 74 new cadets joined the regular members of the Philippine Army (PA) Officer Candidate School (OCS) during their incorporation rites held at Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac on Thursday.
Class 52-2019, carrying the name “ALIBTAK” (Alagadng Lahing Ibinigkisng Tapang at Kagitingan), is composed of 67 male and seven female cadets. Alibtak is also the Ilocano term for fast and tenacious.
The 74 cadets were presented to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr., who led the ceremony at the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), PA.
“You have to prove your worth and do your best to meet the standards set by the Officer Candidate School which is preparing you on your future role in the Armed Forces as public servants, agents of change, nation-builders and peace makers,” Galvez said in his speech.
“Always remember the reason of it all—the fulfillment of our duty. The Filipino people expect so much from us soldiers and the only way we can repay their trust and confidence is through faithful and excellent service,” he added.
Also present during the ceremony were Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat, commander of the AFP’s Northern Luzon Command; Major General Roy Devesa, commander of TRADOC; Major General Filemon Santos Jr, commander of the Army’s 7thInfantry Division; and other AFP Joint and Personal Staff.
Members of Class ALIBTAK started training at TRADOC on August 17, 2018 and stayed in a separate barracks for two months.
“You were pushed to do intense physical exercises to strengthen your body and mind. All of your actions need to be orderly and precise. Many would tag the “dumbguard” days as the worst days of their lives. But always remember, it is our worst days that bring out the best versions of ourselves,” Galvez said.
Following the incorporation rites, they will be transferred to the Battalion Barracks with their seniors belonging to Class 51-2018 “REGALIA” which currently has 82 members.
The new cadets are now eligible to hold the rank of Probationary Second Lieutenant (P2LT). They are yet to undergo the Basic Officer Leadership Course 1 for one year before being commissioned as regular 2LTs.
All members are degree (BS and BA) holders and of them are licensed criminologists and civil service professionals. Others are licensed nurses, accountants, teachers, engineers, an architect and, an interior designer. They came from various regions in the country – 43 are from Luzon, 17 from Visayas, and 14 from Mindanao.
The incorporation ceremony is a significant tradition in the OCS as it symbolizes that the new cadets are truly fit and worthy of becoming military officers.