President Benigno S. Aquino III told the fresh graduates of the Armed Forces of the
(AFP) Officer Candidate Courses not to give in to temptations as they perform
their new role as military officers. Philippines
"Ibang klaseng tapang at dangal din ang hihilingin sa inyo sa pagharap sa tuksong maaaring makaengkuwentro habang nagsisilbi sa bayan. May mga magtutulak ng sobreng hitik sa salapi, kapalit ng pirma. May mga magtatangkang padaliin ang buhay ninyo, kapalit ang prinsipyo," the President said during his speech at the officers’ graduation ceremony held at the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
"Alam kong gagawin ninyo ang tama, dahil tiwala akong nakikita ninyo ang magandang bunga sa pagtahak natin sa tuwid na daan," he said.
President Aquino noted that as officers, more are expected of them.
“Magkakaroon ng mga pagkakataon kung kailan buhay ng inyong mga kapwa-sundalo ang nakataya sa inyong desisyon. Sa panahon ng pangangailangan, sa inyo babaling para sa direksyon at inspirasyon ang inyong hanay. Higit sa lahat, sa harap ng taumbayan, kayo ang magiging mukha ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas,” he said.
The President said that as new officers, their main tasks not only involve facing terrorists and bandits but leading rescue operations during disasters, as well.
Yet despite all their efforts, he said, they could be the subject of criticisms as well.
“Ngunit hindi naman parangal at papuri ang habol natin nang pumasok tayo sa serbisyong pampubliko, di po ba? Basta’t makatulong ka, sapat na iyon; basta’t makaambag ka sa positibong pagbabago, sapat na iyon,” he said.
During the ceremony, the President presented the Presidential Saber Award to 2nd Lt. Rodel Bacquial (Army), 2nd Lt. Kenneth Aquino (Air Force), and Ensign Cathleen Joy Cruz (Navy); the Secretary of National Defense Saber Award to 2nd Lt. Noccolo Bayona (Army), 2nd Lt. Reden Jane Hucalla (Air Force), and Ensign May Joy Allauigan (Navy); and the Chief of Staff Saber Award to 2nd Lt. Cristinson Caampued (Army), 2nd Lt. Ronnie Rizal (Air Force), and Ensign Kristia Marie Villegas (Navy).
To the awardees, he said, “Sa pagsulong ng inyong mga karera, kayo ang magiging pinuno ng kasundaluhan. Nawa’y marangal ninyong tanganan ang mga espadang ipagkakaloob sa inyo sa araw na ito."
For his part, AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang congratulated the new officers and told them: "You have what it takes to be fine soldiers."
Present during the ceremony were Defense Secretary Voltiare Gazmin; Lt. General Hernando Iriberri, Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Lt. General Jeffrey Delgado, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force; and Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy, and other military officers.
A total of 146 students of the course graduated and joined the military as second lieutenant and ensigns. Of the figure, 65 joined the Army, 47 joined the Navy, and 34 joined the Air Force.