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 Baro nga piloto ti Bacarra!! 18 September 2007

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mcjilloft
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PostSubject: Baro nga piloto ti Bacarra!! 18 September 2007   Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:42 pm

Baro nga piloto ti Bacarra!! 18 September 2007
2nd Lt. Geraldine Hallar

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PostSubject: PMA's Sanlingan Class of 2005, Hallar of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte   Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:30 pm



Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City – After this year's graduation ceremonies at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz expected newly commissioned Second Lieutenants Geraldine Abigail Hallar, Carol Ena Sabijon, Deodelyn Aguilar, and Marjorie Mukay to make their hometown high schools their first ports of call instead of the battlefield.

Cruz had advised the Corps of Cadets and its graduating class to give testimony to PMA's good points before other graduation ceremonies in their hometowns in order to draw fresh blood to the century-old institution.

In the hierarchy of this year's graduates of the PMA's Sanlingan Class of 2005, Hallar of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, is fourth; Sabijon of Iloilo, fifth; Aguilar of San Quintin, Pangasinan, sixth; and Mukay of Tabuk, Kalinga, 10th.

PMA has encountered a steady decline in acceptable applicants, eleven years after the male-dominated academy first allowed female recruits to train side by side with male cadets.

But some PMA officials admitted that it is the men who apparently no longer find the academy such a popular career option. In comparison, women recruits have slowly but steadily increased, according to the PMA's latest statistical records.

By encouraging the new female graduates to the take the limelight, Secretary Cruz obviously wants them to project the changes women have brought into the Philippine military.

Indeed, the strides that female cadets have made in the academy are by no means insignificant. PMA's first seven female graduates owned three of the top ten slots of Kalasag Lahi Class of 1979.

Female cadets henceforth always had a slot in the top ten of every graduating class, culminating in 1999 with then-Cadet First Class Arlene de la Cruz obtaining the highest rank among PMA Masikhay Class of 1999.

Republic Act 7192, the law that grants women equal opportunities for nation building, helped open up PMA to female recruits in 1993. That year was a period of cultural transition for the academy. Retired Gen. Victor Mayo, who was then PMA superintendent, was enacting one of the academy's first internal agreements with the Corps of Cadets about discontinuing "traditional hazing."

Soon, top military officials began peeling off layers upon layers of academy traditions.

In 2003, retired Gen. Narciso Abaya vented his ire on PMA's famous silent drill parades when he was Armed Force Chief of Staff. "One factor that has been identified as contributing to cadet attrition is the excessive (amount of) activities that slashes precious time, (which) could otherwise be devoted toward more relevant endeavors," Abaya told cadets during the 2003 PMA graduation rites.

"The aura and prestige of the cadet silent drill has been diluted (by the adoption of other institutions of their versions of the drill). The silent drill, I feel, has lost its uniqueness and mystique; even its distinct annotation," said Abaya, a member of Class 1971 but who finished his course at the United States Military Academy at West Point Academy.

By 2004, then-PMA superintendent Maj. Gen. Edilberto Adan had incorporated these small reform efforts into a comprehensive reform plan for the aging institution, but not after dwelling on charges that it was R.A. 7192, which placed PMA in such a precarious situation.

For many PMA alumni, female cadets have shaken some PMA traditions, which are "being forced to evolve into something else to accommodate the women," as one critic admitted during this year's alumni homecoming.

He gives the "Kaydet Girl" as an example of a tradition that has lost its luster. The "Kaydet Girls" are girlfriends or romantic interests who supply male cadets their "inspirations," and were often "worshipped." But the presence of female cadets has diluted the relevance of "Kaydet Girls."

Maj. Edgard Arevalo, PMA spokesman, said many of the PMA female graduates have become the new "muses" of junior cadets.

Newly commissioned Second Lt. Hallar discussed the dilemma that female cadets have placed on PMA traditions. She belongs to the group of female cadets who tried in 2002 to formulate a female version of the "Kaydet Girl."

At one point, female cadets adopted the term "Dragons" to represent their "muses," and a tradition all their own, but the term did not prosper.

Arevalo said the changes female cadets have helped spawn are genuine, and not just the petty reactions to "bras, panties and female tampons now being sold at the PMA cadet store."

PMA's first female graduates tested various military policies, as soon as they were assigned to the field.

Ambassador Roy Cimatu once disclosed to newsmen a circular that restricted PMA's female graduates to non-combat or semi-combat duties. Cimatu, a retired major general who commanded the Philippine Army's 4 th Infantry Division in Mindanao, said the circular prevented him from allowing qualified women officers to be combatants.

The said circular barred Air Force Lt. Consuelo Nunag, the seventh ranking cadet of Kalasag-Lahi Class of 1997, from flying missions in Mindanao. Instead, to her chagrin, Nunag was shipped back to PMA with Mistah (classmate), Arlene Orejana, to supervise the second and third batches of female cadets.

The military also had to deal with a PMA female graduate who sought a non-combatant assignment too early in her career to rear her children.

Pregnancies, marriages and childrearing were eventually factored into new military policies governing alternative career mobility within the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Orejana, who is married to Lt. second grade Antonio Trillanes IV, is now a captain and a member of the PMA Corps of Professors. This is despite her husband's leading role in the Oakwood Mutiny.

With positive female policies already ingrained in the Philippine military, Secretary Cruz said Hallar and company must now bear the task of marketing PMA to the country's youth.

The secretary emphasized that PMA serves to accelerate social mobility because cadets who come from different social backgrounds uniformly "rise in standing once they graduate from the academy."

Lt. Gen. Cristolito Balaoing, the current PMA superintendent, points out that the majority of PMA cadets come from poor families. Mukay's own life story has been described as "one of PMA's most poignant" because Kalinga is one of the country's poorest provinces.
Although the largest single clusters of PMA cadets come from military families (10.81 percent) and families whose parents work in government (20.85 percent), there is no stopping the triumphal march of women into the academy's hallowed halls.
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