Fort General Gregorio Del Pilar, Baguio City
March 18, 2017

President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ‘Alab Tala’ (Alagad ng Lahing Binigkis ng Tapang at Lakas) Class 2018 at the Fort General Gregorio Del Pilar in Baguio City.

In his speech, the Commander-in-Chief assured the PMA ‘Alab Tala’ members of a strong armed forces and police force under his leadership, which include implementation of the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) that focuses on the acquisition of major defense equipment, and the passage of Joint Resolution (JR) No. 1 that would increase the base pay, bonuses and allowances of military and uniformed personnel.

“To the ‘Alab Tala’ Class of 2018, this achievement is only the beginning of the many future successes. May you continue to become a source of strength and inspiration to your fellow soldiers and instruments of meaningful change in our society,” President Duterte said.

Topping 281 of his ‘mistahs’ (classmate) is this year’s valedictorian, Cadet First Class Jaywardene Galilea Hontoria, 25, who is also the class ‘baron’ or the class brigade commander – the topmost military commander in the PMA Cadet Corps. His milestone achievement also broke the 67-year drought by becoming the third baron in the history of the PMA to accomplish this feat.

Hontoria, the son of a farmer and a housewife from Balabag, Municipality of Pavia in Iloilo province, received the Presidential Saber Award, and a house and lot certificate title from President Duterte. He is also scheduled to marry his fiancé later in the day.

The ‘Alab Tala’ Class 2018 also boasted of having the highest female graduates since 1993 with 75 female cadets, four (4) of whom received this year’s top awards and recognition.

The President was joined onstage by Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and PMA Superintendent Lieutenant General Donato San Juan II.

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