PMA graduates from Apayao urge fellow youth to follow their footsteps
BAGUIO CITY — Two newly commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are encouraging their fellow Iapayao youth to follow their footsteps and enter the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Iapayao’s pride, Navy Ensign Mike Tugaoen and 2nd Lieutenant Dexter Tucrang are members of the 261-strong PMA “MABALASIK” Class of 2019 who graduated on May 26, at the Fort Del Pilar. They are among the few PMA graduates from the province of Apayao.
Tugaoen and Tucrang are strongly calling on their fellow youth to take the PMA entrance examinations, enter cadetship and be future leaders of the country.
“Sa mga kabataan sa aking bayan ng Apayao, nauna na kami sa PMA, at sana kayo naman ang sumunod,” Tugaoen said in an interview at the PMA Borromeo Field after the graduation rites.
Tugaoen from Barangay Turod in the town of Luna, lived a simple life and had dreamt of becoming a military man someday. He said that he entered the PMA to fulfill his ambition of being a peacekeeper of the country and at the same time help his family rise from poverty.
“Pangarap ko talagang maging sundalo para makatulong sa bansa at syempre para matulungan ko din ang pamilya ko na umangat sa buhay,” said Tugaoen who will join the Philippine Navy.
Tugaoen said the story about his hometown particularly Marag Valley which was a stronghold of the New People’s Army in the 1970s that it was called a “no man’s land” instigated his desire to become a soldier and defend the people and the country .
He was a 3rd year Criminology student at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City when he decided to take the PMA entrance examinations, which he passed. Aftetr four years of academics and trainings in the Academy, he has fulfilled his dream of becoming a soldier, a junior military officer.
“Take the PMA challenge and enter the road less traveled; enter the noblest profession,” said Tucrang to the younger generation of Apayao.
For Tucrang, he fulfilled the dream of his father of having at least one of his children graduate from the premiere military school in Asia.
“Super proud ako. Parang nanalo ako ng sweepstakes sa saya ko,” Robert Turang exclaimed when he met and hugged his son, Dexter, at the graduation grounds.
Tucrang who hails from Poblacion, Kabugao, said that he also aspired to become a PMA cadet and soldier to ensure peace and order in the country. He was a graduating engineering student of the Saint Louis Tuguegarao when he entered the PMA in 2015.
By becoming a cadet, he already helped his parents and his siblings in their daily lives and this would continue now that he is a full pledge member of the AFP as 2nd lieutenant of the Philippine Army.
Tucrang was a scholar of the Provincial Government of Apayao under the programs initiated by Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. and Cong. Eleanor Begtang to ensure that education would be given to the youth of Apayao. And as a scholar in the province and eventually at the PMA, he made sure to study hard and strive to graduate.
Kabugao Mayor-elect Bensmar Ligwang expressed his gladness for having a PMA cadet graduate who hails from their far-flung municipality.
“I am very happy that we have the first PMA graduate from Kabugao and I even witnessed it personally at the PMA grounds. This gives pride to our municipality and even to the province of Apayao and we will be giving recognition for this accomplishment,” Ligwang said.
The provincial government of Apayao is set to recognize the new graduates that made the people of Apayao proud and who serve as inspiration to the youth. **JDP/ RMC- PIA CAR