Vice President Leni Robredo had meaningful words to say when she attended virtually the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Masaligan” Class of 2021 and awarded the Vice Presidential Saber to CDT 1CL Daryl Brix Colita of Malalag, Davao del Sur.
“We join you in prayer as you embark on your first assignments protecting our country after graduation,” she said in a Facebook post on Monday, May 10.
Although she did not refer to it, Robredo might have been referring to the threat posed by China in the country’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The vice president has been a vocal critic of President Duterte’s defeatist stand against China. On weekend, she slammed the Chief Executive’s remark that the country’s 2016 arbitral win was a mere “scrap of paper.”
Despite the pandemic and only being able to attend virtually, Robredo made sure her presence is known by the cadets.
“We will not allow the pandemic to diminish the meaning of this event and our pride of Masaligan Class of 2021 and of all the 164 young cadets and cadettes graduating today,” she said.
Masaligan stands for MAndirigmang SAmahan na Lakas at SandIGAN ng Bayan. This year’s graduates are composed of 138 males and 26 females.
Colita will also receive the Philippine Army Saber, the Australian Defense Saber and the Army Professional Award. Because she only attended virtually, Robredo said that AFP Chief of Staff Cirilito Sobejana, a Medal of Valor Awardee, will do the awarding.
Prior to attending the military academy, Colita attended the University of Southeastern Philippines in Mindanao for his Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering degree.
Colita, who will join the Philippine Army, was class valedictorian in high school. He is also the Alfa Company commander and the 1st battalion commander.
Robredo also congratulated Class Valedictorian CDT 1CL Jan Rey Artus of San Enrique, Negros Occidental who joins the Philippine Navy.
Since 1939, the PMA has produced top military graduates who went on to lead the country’s armed forces and police. Thousands of men and women try entering the academy every year, but only a few can get in and eventually graduate.