Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Commencement Exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “BAGONG SINAG” Class of 2024

Event Commencement Exercises of Philippine Military Academy “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024 in Baguio City
Location Borromeo Field, Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Baguio City

Thank you, Vice President Sara Duterte for your kind introduction. Before we proceed, the troop commander will give the order of tikas pahinga.

The Australian Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines –

[Please take your seats.]

The Australian Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, Her Excellency, Hae Kyong Yu; the National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr; the other members of the Cabinet who are here present; the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner and the major service commanders; Philippine National Police General Rommel Francisco Marbil; Philippine Coast Guard Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan; Philippine Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Rowen Tolentino; the Baguio City lone district Representative Marquez Go; Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong; the officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees of the Philippine Military Academy; the Cadet Corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines led by PMA Bagong Sinag Class of 2024; the all-important parents and loved ones, mentors and supporters of our PMA graduating class, my fellow workers in government; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant morning to you all.

Today, I extend my congratulations to the 278-strong graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy’s “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024.

We are proud to see you parade as cadets for the last time.

I am pleased that this batch has produced female cadets who have shown outstanding performance – many of whom proudly swarmed the elusive list of top ten performers and special awardees.

Let us all congratulate this year’s valedictorian, Cadet 1st Class Jeneth B. Elumba, a proud daughter of Surigao City. [applause]

I share with your parents the immense pride and joy that I know they are feeling right now.

Tomorrow, it will be the people’s turn to welcome you on your first tour as commissioned officers.

Sa pagbaba ninyo sa kanila, alam kong dala-dala ninyo ang tanglaw ng bagong sinag na akma ninyong ipinangalan sa inyong hanay.

The rays that will not only blaze the path of your careers, but will illuminate the good, defeat the darkness, and be a source of enlightenment. [applause]

You have fought hard, and for the cherished spot that you now occupy in The Long Gray Line of torchbearers of freedom.

And as you consecrate your lives to the defense of the Republic, I know you will neither fear nor falter, nor will you fall back.

For you are products of the best military school in the world. You come from a great tradition of excellence. [applause]

This academy has not only trained you to be proficient in warfare, but to be the champions of the welfare of our people.

Because soldiering now is no longer limited to defending territories, but to improve the lives of the people who live there.

This is what you have signed up for in your military career, for which you have given up the simplicity and the safety of civilian life. Discipline and honor code are your non-negotiables.

Like those who have come before you, you will forgo the comforts of home so our people will be secure in theirs.

You will endure physical separation from your loved ones so that families can live in peace in communities that you will protect.

Your sacrifices will not be in vain.

Your gallantry will not be squandered by those who benefit from it.

More so if they see that you have adhered to the following tenets of your calling and the demands of the public trust that you hold:

You will respect civilian authority.

You will protect the life and liberty of our people.

You will defend the sovereignty of the state.

And you will ensure the integrity of the national territory.

You will abide by these words, even in the most trying of circumstances.

When rations grow thin, morale is low, let these words continue to sustain you.

It is this very sense of mission which makes your profession most noble.

And you have answered the call to serve at a crucial time in our nation’s great and storied history.

Akmang-akma ang pangalan ng inyong “Bagong Sinag” sa isinusulong nating adhikain ngayon na “Bagong Pilipinas.”

Both are excellent battle cries. [applause]

For when we say “Bagong Pilipinas,” we do not only mean a great nation yet to come. We also refer to a great nation that we are actively building, one day at a time.

Bagong Pilipinas is now being slowly born.

This a time of birth pains—sadly, of opportunism, blatant attempts of destabilization, and last-ditch to cling to the rapidly disappearing past.

But we must be resolute. We must hold on. We cannot turn back.

The people can see and feel the progress and peace which we have worked on for the past two years.

The southern front has been relatively quiet. Development has replaced the blast of bombs and cannons, and booms.

What we are facing now are a blatant disregard of internationally accepted principles and deployment of weapons of mass distraction by parties who seek to drive a wedge between a united citizenry.

But people are not fooled. They can see through such schemes.

So, these attempts to divert our attention, dissipate our energy better spent on making the country should not draw us away from the urgent tasks ahead.

And that is to keep our people safe in their homes, our territory secure, our defenses against threats strong, and our democracy stable.

You are now inductees in the national effort to attain the following:

Against parties whose fossilized ideas have been rejected by a people tired of war, no quarter will be given, but we offer peace, of the principled kind that will uproot the causes of social discontent.

Against intruders who have been disrespecting our territorial integrity, we will vigorously defend what is ours, but our conduct always guided by law and [by] our responsibility as a rules-abiding member of the community of nations.

Against evolving threats that harm our people and corrode social and political trust, we will be adept, we will be flexible, and we will be ready in repelling such things.

So, to carry this out, our future cadets will have to be ready. To the PMA instructors, I recognize your hard work in providing responsive military education and ensuring that our cadets are equipped to become worthy protectors of our state.

The PMA has long been a reliable institution in nation-building. However, in this time of great complexity, the PMA needs to step up and take on the task of ensuring that the next generation of leaders in the country are ready for the emerging and future challenges.

So, I direct the DND and AFP leadership to review the PMA curriculum to ensure that our cadets will be equipped with the 21st century skills necessary to counter conventional and asymmetric threats.

In the digital battlefield, a clear vision for truth, integrity, and patriotism, are necessary tools to combat attempts at disinformation and infiltration.

And to all the members of the AFP, be assured that this government has a continued assurance in improving the welfare and morale of our uniformed officials and personnel, and of course to include your respective families.

Kaisa ang lakas ng Bagong SINAG, sama-sama tayong maglalakbay tungo sa inaasam na mas mapayapa at maunlad na Bagong Pilipinas.

Once again, a snappy salute to the brave men and women of the Bagong SINAG Class of 2024! [applause]

Mabuhay ang Philippine Military Academy!

Mabuhay ang Republika ng Pilipinas! [applause]