PMA’s top 2 to aspiring soldiers: Leave comfort zone-A A +A
Sunday, March 16, 2014
MILITARY service is only for those who are willing to offer themselves for the flag and country, the salutatorian of this year’s Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Siklab Diwa Class said.
Speaking to state-run People’s Television (PTV), Cadet First Class Liza Dango advised aspiring soldiers to protect the nation as their priority more than anything else.
“Get out of your comfort zone. You have to realize that this is public service. The responsibilities could be overwhelming which you have to deal with as part of your duty,” she said in an interview aired before the start of the PMA’s 109th Commencement Exercises in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City.
Like other graduates, 25-year-old Dango did not go straight to PMA after finishing high school. In fact, she completed an education degree from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City before she finally had the courage to pursue her dream to become a soldier like her father and neighbors in a military camp while she was growing up.
“It started as a high school dream and I discussed this with my close friends. I have the opportunity, so why not grab it?” said Dango, who has three classmates at the Regional Science High School-Northern Mindanao campus who are also products of the elite military institution.
She recalled being asked by her father to carefully assess her desire to enter PMA but her determination to follow his footsteps prevailed.
Four years later, Dango not only joined the new batch of military officers, she also graduated with flying colors.
Dango, who is joining the Army next month, received the Vice Presidential Saber, the Philippine Army Saber, the Humanities Plaque and the Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award.
She is also the lone female in the Top 10. Cadet First Class Greg Philip Monsalud, also from Cagayan de Oro, wound up ninth and has been commissioned to the Philippine Navy.
“Through my accomplishment, I hope I can inspire other women to join the military. Women have a place in the PMA and they can excel if they want to,” said Dango.
Looking forward to Dango’s stint at the Army is PMA spokesperson Major Agnes Flores, who described her as a “very active” cadet.
“It’s good to be a teacher and soldier at the same time because she can apply these skills to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) get closer to the people,” she said, adding Dango used to assist her in promoting PMA to the public.
Siklab Diwa, which stands for Sundalong Ikinararangal ng Lahing Bayani sa Diwang Wagas, is composed of 222 members.
The batch has drawn a lot of attention following the dismissal of Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia for allegedly not telling the truth behind his two-minute class tardiness, a violation of the PMA Honor Code.
Cudia’s fate is now up to President Benigno Aquino III or the Supreme Court, where he questioned the guilty verdict handed down by his peers. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)