BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) received on Monday the 350 plebes who will compose Class 2024.
The annual reception saw the arrival of 280 males and 70 females who took their oath as members of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines (CCAFP).
“All aboard, all accounted for, all Covid-19-free, all ready for cadet-ship,” said Major Cherry Tindog, PMA information officer, in a text message to the Philippine News Agency on Monday evening.
She said the 350 new cadets are those who passed and completed the rigid screening process prior to entry into the country’s premier military institution.
There were over 33,000 examinees in August last year, the biggest in PMA’s history.
There were 1,600 passers of the written examination who proceeded to the next stage, the physical examination.
Several other examinations and tests ensued such as the neuro and psychological examination that trimmed down the number of cadets to those who actually entered the grounds of PMA on Monday.
Tindog said the examinees were unaffected by the hazing incidents that came September 2019 and onwards as the passers went on to pursue the required screening process.
The officer said that following the “new normal”, the usual reception exercises were also done.
“With their masks on and observing physical distancing, the PMA Class 2024 performed exercises that are diagnostic in nature and serve as a benchmark of their physical strength and stamina. The traditional reception rites deviated from the usual raucous ceremony with the upperclassmen as spectators,” Tindog said.
Unlike in previous years when parents, relatives and the public get to send off their children and see them start their dream to become a soldier, the public was barred as a precaution from the possible spread of the coronavirus disease.
“No parents, [it was] not open to the general public,” Tindog said.
“For this reception rites, selected PMA officers and a few upperclassmen were designated to facilitate on the grounds and record the performance of the incoming cadets. The rest of the cadet corps witnessed the events as spectators,” she said.
“Today’s reception rites is very different from what had been done before. In consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced all of us to the ‘new normal’, your class shall be undergoing the reception rites with only the PMA Community to bear witness to your first steps in the hallowed grounds of the Borromeo Field,” PMA Superintendent, Vice Admiral Allan Ferdinand Cusi, told the cadets after administering their oath.
“At its surface, this reception is a simple ceremony to test and gauge your physical strength prior to the formal start of the training. In its symbolic and military tradition, on the other hand, the reception rites herald the start of your regimented military life and your gradual transformation into professional and disciplined young military leaders,” Cusi added. Liza Agoot /PNA – northboundasia.com