By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is set to lead the graduation ceremony of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Masidlawin Class of 2020 via Zoom due to quarantine restrictions prompted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that President Duterte will lead the ceremony from Malacañang. He said President Duterte will be doing this for both PMA and Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation rites.
“Well, for now ito yung pinakauna-unahang pagkakataon na naka-Zoom o teleconferencing ang Presidente na nag-a-attend ng graduation (For now, this is the first time that the President will be leading the graduation ceremony via Zoom or through teleconferencing),” he said.
“Magkaparehong PMA at PNPA (This will happen for both PMA and PNPA),” he added.
The move is to ensure that President Duterte will get to observe physical distancing to avoid catching the dreaded virus, Roque said.
“Titignan kung paano nila gagawin yun na social distancing, na graduation. Bagay, sila naman magkakasama naman sila sa isang kampo lang (We’ll see how they will implement physical distancing during the graduation. But anyway, they are in the same camp),” he said.
This is the first time Duterte will not be physically present during the PMA graduation ceremony in Baguio City since he became President.
This year, a female cadet from Echague, Isabela – 25-year-old Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui – topped the PMA Masidlawin Class of 2020.
Sugui, who earned an economics degree from the University of the Philippines-Baguio, is a daughter of a farmer and a public school teacher. She will be commissioned as a junior officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) along with 195 other graduates.
The cadets have been locked inside Fort del Pilar since the pandemic hit the country.