Poverty drove top PMA cadet to excellence

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Members of Siklab Diwa Class of PMA 2014 throw their hats into the air at the end of graduation ceremonies in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City, on Sunday. PHOTO BY THOM F.PICANA

Members of Siklab Diwa Class of PMA 2014 throw their hats into the air at the end of graduation ceremonies in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City, on Sunday. PHOTO BY THOM F.PICANA

To Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona, poverty was not a roadblock to excellence.

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The valedictorian of “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014 received the Presidential Saber from President Benigno Aquino 3rd during graduation rites on Sunday in Baguio City.

Llona, a 22-year-old farmer’s son from Maopi, Daraga, Albay, also received the Philippine Air Force Saber, Academic Group Award, Management Plaque, Air Force Professional Courses Plaque, Gen. Antonio Luna Award, Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award and Jusmag Award, which will allow him to study in the United States.

He said he and his six siblings were taught by their father, Nelson, to work hard to attain their dreams. He finished elementary with top honors and took up Accountancy in Bicol University of Legazpi before enrolling at the PMA.

He recalled that he had to hike to school everyday since their house was in the middle of a rice field in a remote barangay.

“Our parents advised us to strive hard to achieve our desires,” Llona said in a radio interview.

Llona’s triumph was lauded by his fellow Albayanos. The provincial government of Albay passed a resolution honoring Llona. A copy of the resolution was handed to him by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda shortly before the graduation ceremonies.

The Albayanos lauded Llona for pursuing his education and landing on top of his class.

Llona’s family, including his brother P01 Renan Llona, attended the graduation rites.

Besides Llona, who will be joining the Air Force, 15 other Bicolanos graduated from the academy.

Cadet First Class Liza Dango of Marawi City is the class salutatorian. The only female among the top 10 graduates, she received the Vice Presidential Saber, Philippine Army Saber, Humanities Plaque and the Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd awards the Presidential Saber to Cadet 1 Class Jheorge Llona, the valedictorian of PMA Class of 2014. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICANA

President Benigno Aquino 3rd awards the Presidential Saber to Cadet 1 Class Jheorge Llona, the valedictorian of PMA Class of 2014. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICANA

Honor code
In his speech, the President called on the graduates to practice the PMA’s Honor Code even after they have left the academy.

Aquino, the military’s commander-in-chief, said the graduates should continue to observe the PMA rules of “honesty, loyalty, and integrity” since it embodies the true meaning of service to their bosses, the Filipino people.

“If it’s our duty to implement the Honor Code in this institution, then we should also uphold it outside the PMA,” the President said in his speech before the 2014 Class Siklab Diwa, an acronym for Sundalong Ikinararangal ng Lahing Bayani sa Diwang Wagas.

The code has been under a cloud of controversy after the academy dismissed Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia weeks before the graduation rites.

Cudia supposedly violated the code by lying about his tardiness in one class.

The President has ordered Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista to investigate the case of Cudia after listening to the cadet’s concerns on Saturday.

Aquino met Cudia and his family for about two hours at The Mansion, the presidential summer residence in Baguio, on the eve of the academy’s commencement rites.

“If lying is not allowed in class and to our fellow cadets, then we should also not allow soldiers to deceive their fellow men and break the Constitution?” he said.

The President hopes that cadets will apply the principles they learned in the academy not to give in to temptations in the real world.

“If cheating in exams is strictly prohibited, then we should also avoid corruption such as when procuring military weaponry,” he said.

“If there’s punishment against cadets who steal from fellow cadets, then help prosecute those who steal public funds,” Aquino added.

The President mentioned his speech that the government will acquire new military equipment, including at least 20 aircraft.

He also announced the purchase of 63,000 new rifles to replace the decades-old guns that are still in service.

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5 Comments

  1. Pres Aquino cannot control everything. the corruption and inefficiency in the government is so wide spread that it needs government employees including the AFP and PNP for re-education in professionalism, honesty and how to live within your means. and this falls to us to ordinary citizens. Pnoy cannot do it all unless he becomes a dictator and rule the country thru presidential decrees. we all have to understand this. so lets not blame everything on him.

    just my one centavo

  2. Sana pag nasa pwesto ka na, di magbago yan… kaya ka nagpursige dahil sa kahirapan nyo, wag naman sana dumating ang araw na nakahiga ka na sa salapi galing sa kaban ng bayan

  3. Siony Camacho Bana on

    “If there is punishment against cadet who steal from fellow cadets then help prosecute those who steal from public funds. But Mr President during the three years your in office, Up to now your predecessor President GMA has not had a fair trial and yet she is being punished without any concrete evidence and has denied her the right for medical help she badly needed because of her deteriorating health and your own father was granted to seek treatment abroad by former Pres Marcos. .And when the accused is your allies , the Ombudsman are very selective of those who will be persecuted from malversation of funds and there are many of your allies who have personally enrich themselves at the expense of the poor (constituents) who live in the provinces. and its now disclosed, the Janet Lim Napoles pork barrel scam.

  4. Siony Camacho Bana on

    “If lying is not allowed in class and to our fellow cadet then we should not allow soldiers to deceive their fellow men and break the Constitution” BSA III told to PMA graduates. But Mr President, it is your Constitutional duty to help the Yolanda victim but they were denied help and had to march to Malacanang to express their needs and yet you ignore them. Had it not for the International Charity organization help they would not have water, food and medical help they immediately need .In times of emergency all Filipinos rich and poor alike or whatever political affiliation the victims the President gov’t shld be there to help them And yet DAP,PDAF (taxpayers money) was readily made available and used as incentive (bribe) without hesitation to Congressmen and Senators to unseat a sitting CJ for your personal vendetta .it doesn’t take an intelligent person to identify this form deception and dishonesty committed against the people, which you called them as your “Boss” but apparently it’s a form of propaganda questionable “Daang Matuwid “

  5. I think the President of the Philippines should create a special court to speed up
    the resolution of the worst corruption scandal perpetrated by people who betrayed
    the trust bestowed to them by the filipinos.