Bishop urges 317 new soldiers to take duties to heart

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Isabela — Bishop Prudencio Andaya of the Tabuk Diocese has urged 317 new soldiers to take their duties to heart and put into practice what they learned in the training.

“Gain confidence in times of combat and in times of peace. You are in a different world but make necessary adjustments as the call for service to God and people need you to respond,” Andaya said as he addressed the new soldiers as guest speaker during their graduation rites held at the training grounds here Friday.

“This is a gift of life as you young soldiers (imbibe) discipline, service, leadership, integrity, and goodwill as men in uniform,” he added.

Maj. Gen. Pablo Lorenzo, the Army’s 5th Infantry Division commander, rallied the graduates to be like microscopes that “move, change and affect the visible world.”

“Change towards the Army and change towards your life… we can see moving and changing gentlemen to fill peace in the nation,” he added.

The graduates came from two classes.

James Toribio, 19, of Upi, Gamu, Isabela, bested his colleagues in one class after earning 92.690 points, or an average of 92.69 percent, to top the CSC 580-19 class, while Maj. John Ballesteros topped the CSC 581-19 class after earning 948.93 points, or an average of 94.89 percent.

“Being a soldier is not just easy. You need to pass through all the challenges. You need to lean on 99-percent perspiration and one-percent inspiration to pursue your ambition,” said Toribio, who finished an auto-mechanic vocational course after graduating from high school.

He also bagged the sharpshooters’ marksmanship badge for his class with a 97.50-percent clip while Jan Christopher Ilustrado topped the other class with a 99-percent clip.

Ballesteros, a former Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit member, said he tried his luck to be a regular soldier and succeeded. Born to a family of farmers, he said he wanted to rise out of poverty to help his family.

“I would like to thank God for not letting me (become) troubled or sick during my risky training. I would like to thank those who trained me (from being) a civilian to (become a member of the) military,” Ballesteros said.  Villamor Visaya, Jr / PNA –