PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY, FORT DEL PILAR, BAGUIO CITY- Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, on Sunday assured bereaved families of Filipino soldiers that the valiant sacrifices of their loved ones will not be in vain.
"To those who risked their lives and limbs to defend the country's sovereignty and those who continue to offer their sweat and blood to fortify the pillars of a great nation, rest assured that this administration will give you and your families the services, benefits and entitlements that you rightfully deserve," the President said in his speech to the graduating Philippine Military Academy - Sanggalang ay Lakas at Buhay na Alay sa Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan (PMA-SALAKNIB) Class of 2017.
"Taos puso akong nakikiramay sa mga naiwan ng mga nasawi sa kamay ng kalaban" (I send my wholehearted condolences to the bereaved family of those who perished in the hands of the enemy), the government will make sure that your needs will be taken cared of," he added. .
President Duterte thanked all Filipino soldiers for their loyalty to the Philippine Flag and assured them all necessary support and incentive for their valor and unwavering courage.
He said the soldiers will be provided with proper equipment and weapons to defend themselves even when they are off-duty.
Duterte said that in the next two or three years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will have simulators, radar and other related mechanisms which will help the military to be more effective to pursue its mandate in assisting law enforcement agencies in battling crime and illegal drugs and in undertaking relief and rescue efforts during disasters and calamities.
"With the people's continued support, we will have an AFP we can truly be proud of, an AFP that is at par with the rest of the world," the President said.
Duterte advised the graduating class to be true to their oath of office and to pledge loyalty only to the Philippine flag and the Constitution.
"Never propagate or nurture loyalty to a fellow government worker like you because we are all on the same boat, we work for the Filipino people," Duterte said.
Duterte acknowledged the graduating class of 167 for having 63 women, the highest number of graduating women in the history of the academy.
"This breakthrough is a fitting tribute to mothers, daughters and sisters in the observation of Women's Month," the President said.
Duterte hoped that the graduates will be true to their class name "SALAKNIB - Sanggalang ay Lakas at Buhay Para sa Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan", and defend the motherland with all honor and life.
"Your training and education in the academy are just part and parcel of the kind of soldier that all of you will become, but your true self will make the officer, soldier and leader in you," Duterte said.
"May the values imparted during your years in the academy be engraved in your hearts and guide you wherever your life leads you", he added.
Duterte encouraged the graduates to proceed with their heads up high, knowing that the government and the Filipino people are with them in every step of the way.
"Powered by strong convictions and shielded with faith in the Filipino people, let us overcome the challenges that are ahead and usher in a great future for our nation," the President said.
Source: Philippines News Agency