Arroyo 2 hours late for PMA graduation; cites achievements
By Vincent Cabreza, Frank Cimatu
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer Northern Luzon
FORT DEL PILAR, BAGUIO CITY—There was no formal farewell from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her last appearance as commander in chief at the Philippine Military Academy graduation ceremonies here Monday.
In her address to the 226 graduating members of the PMA Masidlak Class of 2010, the President kept making references to her nine-year administration’s legacy.
“[First], we gave more power and growth to each region away from the domination of [Metro] Manila,” she said.
Ms Arroyo said programs for the environment, economy and education were the second principal achievements of her administration.
Her third achievement, she said, was the “continuous focus on youth development.”
The President flew in at 12:22 p.m. from Mt. Data in Mountain Province, where she inspected the rehabilitation of the Halsema Highway.
The parents of graduating cadets had been fidgeting in their seats set up under a large tent at the Borromeo Field as they waited for the President as early as 10 a.m.
The Masidlak (Mandirigmang Sibol ng Dakilang Lahing Kayumanggi) members joined their parents at 11 a.m.
The parents applauded Ms Arroyo when she credited the academy for shaping “a brilliant class,” which she said represented what her administration had long been fighting for—a good educational foundation that “makes the future bright for the next generation.”
Vice Adm. Leonardo Calderon Jr., PMA superintendent, said the class was the product of a reformed curriculum, part of a major reform undertaking called the PMA Roadmap to 2015.
In her speech, Ms Arroyo instructed Calderon to draft a new curriculum that would emphasize technology. She described technology and education as “the twin pillars upon which the future of the nation rests.”
The new technology-dedicated curriculum would be part of a P6-million PMA master plan that would be drawn up by a special review team, Calderon said.
Stipend now P19K
Ms Arroyo said a technology-driven curriculum must be pursued with the same vigor that the PMA generated when it first revised its courses.
The President received more applause when she announced an increase in the cadets’ monthly stipend from P10,000 in 2000 to almost P19,000 this year.
She said the increase afforded the cadets to send more money to their parents, much like Masidlak valedictorian Eraño Belen, whose father, Julito, is a tricycle driver.