Top 6 Masidlawin grad from Kalinga: “Take the PMA Challenge”

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Recently commissioned Philippine Army Officer 2nd Lieutenant Catabay Ladyong, Top 6 of the 196 graduates of the 2020 Masidlawin Class of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is encouraging the young people of Kalinga and the Cordillera to take the PMA challenge and enroll in the academy.

Through online interview, Ladyong, who hails from Lubuagan said that there are a lot of good reasons why the youth should opt to study at the PMA.

On top of the full scholarship, pay and allowances, glory and honor, he said is the opportunity to have the best leadership training and to make the best out of their potentials.

PMA, he added is the beginning of a selfless service for the country and the people.

Ladyong desires to become a soldier of the country’s Armed Forces to defend the people and the nation. Becoming a peacekeeper of the country and to help his family in the best he can, he said were his reasons for joining the PMA.

He also described life inside the academy saying it is simple but overly complicated.

‘’Life in the academy is quite different from the outside. The academy takes good care of every cadet’s health not only physically but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There is also no or very minimal discrimination inside regardless of gender, culture, religion or personality of the cadet. The academy is sort of a utopia wherein the living conditions are particularly good and ideal. However, living in the academy is not all about privileges, comfort and fun. Every day is a struggle offering different challenges in various faces,’’ he narrated.

As to the day-to- day experiences of a cadet, Ladyong noted that cadet’s life is regimented since there is an existing program that is followed upon entry until graduation.

“Our schedules were routine, following a certain pattern depending on the day, week, month or term. For example, during weekdays of academic semesters, our morning and part of the afternoon is allotted for classes then after the last period class of the day, we either engage in athletics or conduct military drills. During Saturdays, we have barracks inspections, ranks inspection and testimonial parades or. On Sundays we attend to our respective religious services.

We also have what we call ‘Schedule of Calls’ which contains the list of activities for the next day. This schedule is not absolute though since our daily activities can change any moment,” he relates.

The outstanding cadet who believes that cadetship is one of the most challenging yet most fulfilling life experiences also shared the sacrifices he made before reaching his success.

“The very first sacrifice that not only I, but every one of us made is surrendering our freedom. Upon taking oath as a cadet, we already turned over our lives to the government. We were already considered government property and one of the most expensive assets of the country. To be successful, you have to sacrifice personal comfort without compromising your welfare as well. Maintaining balance has been one of the most important factors in my success.

A cadet is being trained in four aspects or what we call CAMP (Character, Academics, Military, and Physical). Each of these has its own assessment which compromises our grade as a cadet,’’ he told.

Asked if he is willing to be deployed in war-torn areas of the country, Ladyong replied in the affirmative saying that he will accept it wholeheartedly and do his best wherever is his assignment.

He added that war-infested areas are a good venue to apply their training. Being assigned in war-torn areas can greatly enhance the combat and war-fighting capabilities of a soldier and could also provide them insights on how to deal with communities affected insurgency.

Ladyong, who took the PMA entrance exam after finishing Information Technology in 2016 at Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) confessed that he was not good in technical subjects but performed well in social sciences and humanities subjects.

During the interview, he also shed light on the hazing issues inside the PMA arguing that in the academy, they don’t use the term hazing, and at times it has a different meaning for them.

He said that maltreatment in the academy is not tolerated, that it became a primary reason why some cadets are discharged in the academy and a lot have been punished for committing such.

By Darwin Serion