A 23-year-old female Tausug proved that women can also excel in the male-dominated military after she ranked first from a Philippine Army (PA) candidate soldier course in Indanan, Sulu, the 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division (11ID) said Wednesday, September 22.
Private Nerna Arip, a native of Parang, Sulu, graduated on top of the “MAKAGILAS” (Muslim at Kristiyano Alakdan Galing, Isip, Liksi Aming Sandata) Class of 2021 after obtaining a general average of 95.50 percent.
Two other Tausugs landed on the second and third spots namely Private Salip Nadir Sawadjaan and Private Nuriza Mohammad with general averages of 95.38 percent and 94.88 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, Private Awie Mohammad, who is also a Tausug, got the highest rating in the Physical Fitness Test with a general average of 97.78 percent.
The 245-member class finished their four-month training at the 11ID “Mastal” Training School in Camp Bud Datu, Brgy. Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu last Monday. They will officially be new members of the Alakdan Division and deployed to different line units once they finish a 60-day Infantry Orientation Course.
The class is comprised of 234 males and 11 females. Nine are from Luzon, four are from Visayas, and 232 are from Mindanao — including 166 from Sulu.
In her speech during their commencement exercises, Arip said she wants to serve her fellow Mindanaoans in her home province of Sulu, which is plagued by terrorism and insurgency.
“I want to serve especially in Sulu to preserve the peace and development here. For other Muslims like me who continue to dream, just continue fighting and never give up because it is our weapon against any fight that we will encounter in life,” she said.
Major Gen. William Gonzales, commander of 11ID, congratulated the MAKAGILAS Class of 2021 “for successfully hurdling the rigorous and tremendous military training.”
“Now that you have finished your training, it does not mean that your struggles will also end. Along with the powers you have obtained is a great responsibility,” he said.