MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday lauded top female graduates of the country's premier military school, saying the feat is a fitting tribute to Filipinas.
In a speech during the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) commencement exercises, Duterte praised top female graduates of the PMA as they made history by occupying most of the spots in the top 10 in their class.
“Today we make history. This is the first time that female cadets have occupied 8 of the top spots in their graduating class,” Duterte said.
“With the highest number of graduating women in PMA, this breakthrough is a fitting tribute to our mothers, sisters, daughters as we celebrate women’s month,” he added.
Eight women graduated top of their class at the PMA Salaknib ("Sanggalang ay Lakas at Bukay Para sa Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan") Class of 2017. The Class is led by a female valedictorian, Rovi Mairel Valino Martinez of Cabanatuan City.
The President also expressed hope that the newest batch of graduates will serve the country well, and told them to pledge loyalty to the flag and constitution.
“To the Salaknib Class of 2017 may you stay true to your class name and defend the motherland with all your honor and might,” the President said.
"Do not pledge loyalty to a person or human being. It’s always to the flag or the constitution,” he added.
Duterte also promised the graduates government support, including new equipment for the military in the next 2 to 3 years.
“Rest assured that the government will reciprocate your valor and unwavering courage by providing you with all the necessary support and incentives,” Duterte said.
The President said new flight simulators, patrol and assault vehicles, and fighter aircraft will be provided so that the military can better patrol the country’s borders and conduct rescue operations during natural calamities.
Duterte, who often cursed in past speeches, stayed mostly on topic as he read a prepared speech during his address to the PMA graduates.
The only time he veered off the prepared speech was when he apologized to Vice President Leni Robredo for not acknowledging her earlier in his address.