By Martin Sadongdong
SILANG, Cavite – Twenty-four-year-old Police Lieutenant Jervis Allen Ramos of Tondo, Manila did not only fulfill his late father’s wish for him to be a cop.
He exceeded expectations when he graduated valedictorian of Sansiklab Class 2019 during the 40th commencement exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) at Camp General Mariano Castaneda here Friday.
Sansiklab stands for Sandigan ng Mamamayan na may Sigasig na Itaguyod ang kapayapaan at Ipaglaban ang Bayan.
Before entering the police academy, Ramos, a criminology graduate of Universidad de Manila (UDM) placed third in the October 2014 Criminology Licensure Examination.
President Duterte, who graced the event, challenged the graduates to “be the best version of yourself” and sought their help in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, terrorism and corruption.
He said the “success” story of Ramos should serve as an inspiration.
“May it always remind you that amidst all the adversities and obstacles of life, nothing is impossible as long as you keep your eye on your goals,” the President said.
Ramos received the Presidential Kampilan Award, the Chief PNP Kampilan Award, Best in Forensic Science, Best in Thesis and Plaque of Merit for being the Top 1.
He also received a Jericho 941 9mm pistol and house-and-lot worth P2 million. The certificate of ownership was handed to Ramos by President Duterte during the graduation rites.
In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, Ramos’ mother Priscilla, 58 said she had to work extra hard to support the studies of her only son, the youngest of three siblings.
Jorge, Ramos’ father, who died in 2009 of a liver disease wanted his son to be a cop, Priscilla shared.
With three children studying, Priscilla said it was “very difficult” for their family because she only sells merienda in their small neighborhood at Kagitingan, Moriones, Tondo.
Eventually, Ramos’ elder sister graduated and helped in their finances allowing Ramos to pursue his studies.
“When my husband died, life was so difficult. We had to endure so much. Now, he is able to reach his dream with the help of his siblings, I am very happy for him,” Priscila told Manila Bulletin.
In Ramos’ valedictory speech, he looked back at his childhood and thanked his parents and two elder sisters for helping his reach his goal and honor his father.
“Tila baga isang panaginip na maituturing na ang isang simpleng kabataan na hinubog ng reyalidad ng buhay sa Tundo ay nabigyan ng pagkakataong tumayo at magsalita sa libu-libong mamamayang Pilipino (It seems like a dream that a simple child honed by the realities of life in Tondo was given a chance to stand and speak before thousands of Filipino people now),” Ramos said.
“Pa, salamat sa sakripisyong iyong ipinagkaloob sa amin. Kayo po ni mama ang matibay na sandigan, ang aking inspirasyon. Alay ko po sa inyo ang tagumpay na ito (Pa, thank you for your sacrifices. You and mom are my rock, my inspiration. I offer this feat to the both of you),” he said.
He also challenged his classmates to strive hard and stay on the right path as they forge their own careers.
“Hindi natin maikukubli ang mga batikos at kritisismo na pilit ikinakabit sa aming napiling propesyon. Madalas naibabalita ang mga iilang nasasangkot sa katiwalian at gawaing ilegal. Ito ay mga hadlang na susukat ng aming katatagan at katapatan (We cannot deny the criticisms that are being linked to our chosen profession. Some [cops] who are involved in corruption and illegal activities are usually in the news. These are barriers which will gauge our resilience and honesty),” Ramos said.
“Napakarami pa ring naglilingkod sa ating bayan ng tapat at hindi papanig sa kasamaan. Sila ang aming ehemplo na gumawa ng tama at mabuti upang inyong maipagmalaki (There are still a lot who serve our nation honestly and will not side with evil. They are our inspiration to do what is good and right so you can be proud of us),” he added.
Meanwhile, six female cadets dominated the top 10 in their class.
They are police Lieutenants Merriefin Carisusa of Cebu (Top 2); Mary Grace Pabilario of Negros Occidental (Top 3); Janila Andrea Garan of Sorsogon (Top 6) ; Ciara Ley Capule of North Cotabato (Top 7); Mary Ann De Los Santos of Cagayan Valley (Top 8); and Anna May Mangabo of Occidental Mindoro (Top 9).
Completing the list are Police Lieutenants Ferdinand Mark Lagchana of Ifugao (Top 4); Christian Albus of Camarines Sur (Top 5); and Salvador Pidlaoan of Pangasinan (Top 10).
Lts. Jake Sawey and Darwin Sernio received special recognition for Best in Thesis.
The Sansiklab Class is composed of 201 cadets — 154 male and 47 female cadets.
Of the 201 — 138 are joining the Philippine National Police (PNP), 41 are joining the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP); while the remaining 22 are joining the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)
Gender not a hindrance
The class salutatorian, Carisusa said being a woman is not a hindrance in excelling in a field dominated by men.
“Lagi ko pong sinasabi sa sarili ko na (I always tell myself that) being a woman is not a hindrance para ma-achieve mo ‘yong (to achieve your) dreams,” she told reporters.
Carisusa’s parents, Rodel, a farmer, and Rita, a housewife were present at the graduation rites.