April 22, 2024

A stumbling block should not be a reason to give up on life’s challenges for with hard work, perseverance, and determination, dreams come true.
Second Lt. Warren Leonor has emphasized this in his valedictory address during the graduation of the 310-strong members of the Philippine Military Academy Madasigon Class of 2023 at Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City on May 21.
Coming from a modest family, Leonor said he too had his share of difficulties before he reached milestones in his life, such as graduating at the top of his class at the PMA.
Having graduated with high honors in senior high school, Leonor recalled he had many chances to join international competitions but had to give these up due to financial challenges. He never blamed anyone for this and considered it as just a setback.
He said lacking in something is just a temporary obstacle but with hard work and perseverance, opportunities will come knocking.
Leonor thanked his parents, siblings, mentors, professors, upperclassmen, and underclassmen for their contributions in what he has achieved.
Leonor also remembered his batchmates – Darwin Dormitorio and Mario Telan, Jr. who both died in 2019 in their freshmen year due to hazing and drowning, respectively.
Leonor said on top of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, Dormitorio and Telan’s deaths broke their class “bodily and in spirit,” but he assured both will be remembered as part of the Mandirigmang may dangal simbolo ng galing at pagbangon, which the class acronym came from.
Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. welcomed the 310 members of the class into the armed forces.
In his keynote message, the President, who jokingly called Madasigon class as the “class na walang uwian,” said he will work closely with the latest batch of the armed forces who will face “true battles” and challenges in a rapidly evolving security environment.
The Madasigon class is the batch that for two years was not able to visit their families and could not hold celebrations because of the lockdowns implemented during the term of then President Rodrigo Duterte.
Marcos said the graduates will join the ranks of brave and selfless soldiers who dedicate their lives to defending the republic.
The graduates will also join the military as the institution moves into modernization, following the President’s signing of Republic Act 11709 or the law that continues the modernization initiatives in the AFP by prescribing fixed terms for key officers and increasing the mandatory retirement age of generals and flag officers.
Madasigon class is supposed to have 311 graduates but one has been dropped from the list due to the cadet’s alleged breach of internal rules.
The PMA has not released any other detail of the supposed breach committed by the cadet.
Of the 310 graduates, 158 will join the Army, 75 will join the Air Force, and 77 will join the Navy. – Rimaliza A. Opiña