'Masidlak': The PNPA Class of 2017
CAVITE, Philippines – The sun blazes across Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite as workers move around the open field, setting up the stage and the tables and the chairs for tonight’s ring hop, one of the many traditions at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
A few meters away, inside the academics building, are ten cadets clad in their tight, well-pressed maroon uniforms. They salute when a commissioned officers pass by and offer shy but warm nods and smiles when journalists come by to visit.
They hesitate to take a seat until their visitor, an outsider from the academy world, tells them it’s okay to relax and sit down.
If you look at the top 10 cadets of the PNPA “Masidlak” Class of 2017, it is both easy and difficult to realize that they aren’t that different from the usual 20-something leaving school to enter the “real world.”
When asked how they’re feeling, days before they finally graduate from the academy, the 10 flash shy smiles and let out a chuckle or two. “Of course, we’re happy (galak, in Filipino),” says Macdum Darping Enca, the class topnotcher.
“We’re excited,” says Harley Glenn Galpo, the 5th in the Class of 2017. Ian Rey Canen Diolanto, 8th in the class, chimes in: “We’re just like any other graduate. We’re nervous, excited.”
|PNPA Class of 2017: Fast Facts|
“Masidlak” is also short for “Mandirigmang Ahon sa Silangan Ipaglalaban ang Bansang may Dangal, Layunin, At Katarungan.”
But as the conversation progresses, it becomes apparent that unlike the thousands of young adults who will march in their togas this year, the PNPA Class of 2017 has an extra burden to carry.
Enca quotes Theologian William Barclay: “There are two great days in a person's life —the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
Enca, Galpo, Diolanto, and the 141 other members of the class are graduating on Friday, March 24 after 4 years of education, training, and formation at the PNPA.
“Masidlak” in the Visayan language means “to shine” or “reflect light.” And if all goes according to plan, that’s what all 144 class members intend to do.
Soon, they’ll join the “real world” as the newest set of commissioned officers for the country’s police, fire, and jail bureaus.
Mindanaoans top class
Of the class’ top 10 cadets, 7 hail from Mindanao.
Enca, the class topnotcher, was born and raised in Cotabato City.
The second in the class, Midzfar Hamis, hails from Tawi-Tawi and is a Badjao who belongs to the ethnic group Sama. Four other top-notchers also come from the southern Philippines:
- Galpo, 5th in the class, from Cagayan de Oro City
- Sailani Bacarat Armama, 6th in the class, a native Maranao who was raised in Cagayan de Oro City
- Michael Salendab Daunotan, 7th in the class, from Buluan, Maguindanao
- Diolanto, 8th in the class, from Polomolok, South Cotabato
- Michael John Suniega Sentinta, 9th in the class, from Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat
The other top-notchers hail from Luzon:
- Jan Ace Elcid Pascua Layug, 3rd in the class, from Tondo, Manila
- Juan Paulo Alday Porciuncula, 4th in the class, from Sta Maria, Bulacan
- Maysy Villaflor Cataquiz, 10th in the class, from Quezon Province
That most of the PNPA’s top cadets hail from Mindanao was highlighted by Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno when he spoke during the academy’s homecoming mid-March. President Rodrigo Duterte, longtime mayor of Davao City and the country’s first Mindanaoan president, was surely proud of this fact, noted Sueno, who himself was a local chief executive in South Cotabato.
For Daliton, who also hails from South Cotabato, the dominance of Mindanaoan cadets in their class only goes to show that one’s future isn’t bound by a person’s origins. “It’s an opportunity to prove that [Mindanao isn’t] necessary that behind, especially in terms of education,” added Sentinta.
Duterte will be leading the graduation of the Masidlak class – his first time to face the PNPA as President. – Rappler.com