A Modern Constitution & a Modern Military

Manila Bulletin, March 26, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Modern Constitution & a Modern Military


Byline: President GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO

(Speech at the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy aMandirigma ng Dangal ng Lahia (Mandala) Class of 2006 in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City, March 25, 2006)

DEAREST friends and countrymen.

First of all, congratulations to the biggest graduating class in the history of the Philippine Military Academy and special mention to the female graduates because there were only 77 female graduates before this class and now you will add 37 to the 77, a 30 percent increase in the female graduates in the history of the Philippine Military Academy. I had a wonderful time with you and your parents last night.

When I home after that, I was reflecting that regardless of our rank, our origin or economic circumstance, as your valedictorian alluded to in his very touching personal valedictory, we are all equal under God and we all call ourselves Filipinos. This great institution, the Philippine Military Academy does the Lordas work and the nationas work. It produces leaders who hold God and country sacred and to fulfill your obligations to God and country, academy soldiers live by a simple but a powerful creed a" Courage, Integrity, and Loyalty. I had the chance to speak with your parents and siblings last night, I can see that every parent, friend, and neighbor who is here today sharing this moment with you feels as I do, proud to know you, proud of what you are doing, proud that you will be contributing to the future strength and glory of our nation. You represent the future and we must ever be moving forward and never retreat.

The nation is once again at a crossroads and there are many forces that wish to drag us back and stop our forward progress. Some of you know that personally. Some of you have been the objects of attempts at recruitment. There are the communist thugs who still live by an outmoded godless ideology devoid of the values you live and die for every day. You are in the frontlines of crushing an ideology that wishes to tear down everything you believe in a" God, country, and the fight against poverty. And as if the communists were not enough of a threat to our way of life, there are terrorist extremists who have so perverted religion as to make it unrecognizable to peace-loving Muslims and Christians alike. Against the backdrop of the threat posed by these extremists and faithless thugs, you our military compatriots, are a vital part of bringing us to the brink of peace in Mindanao. The combined political will of our government, of which you are a part, and our international friends and neighbors will make a lasting peace in Mindanao that will make us proud.

While you wage war against enemies of the state, I am also waging war against poverty and its destructive power. Just as peace in Mindanao will alleviate many burdens for our fighting men and women, so too will the alleviation of poverty across our nation allow you to defend our nation from enemies outside our borders or from transnational global enemies rather than having to contend with enemies from within.

Our great nation puts its faith in God, draws inspiration from people, and draws strength from the Constitution and I was so gratified to hear about the Constitution. …

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