PMA cadet dies a month after start of training
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – A 19-year old cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) died on Monday, May 1, barely a month after he was admitted at the country's premier military school.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, May 2, Colonel Shiela Marie Jardiolyn, PMA resident physician, told Rappler that cadet Erwin Christian Vergara died at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) due to "hypovolemic shock secondary to upper gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to bleeding peptic ulcer."
Jardiolyn said Vergara was first admitted to the PMA emergency unit on April 25 when he complained of dizziness, weakness and blood in his feces.
Upon knowing that Vergara's blood hemoglobin count dipped to 5.8 – below the normal count of 13 – Jardiolyn said they "immediately evacuated" Vergara to BGHMC, where he had undergone 7 blood transfusions.
Jardiolyn ruled out hazing or foul play over Vergara's death, noting that the cadet had already been "complaining of on-and-off abdominal pains for three years," according to his medical examination before entering the PMA.
She said the parents already arrived to inspect Vergara's remains on Monday night.
On Tuesday, May 2, his body was brought to his hometown in Alcala, Cagayan.
PMA spokesman Lieutenant Coloner Reynaldo Balido promised to further investigate Vergara's death.
Vergara, a former student of Cagayan State University, was among the 293 plebes who entered the PMA last April 1 after passing both the written and medical examination.
He died halfway into the so-called "Beast Barracks" summer training before they are incorporated into the academy.
The PMA cadets would have to finish their training until the end of May before they are incorporated into the academy.
But even though Vergara has not been incorporated into the PMA, his family will be given financial assistance, said Balido.
Meanwhile, his friends and relatives from Cagayan expressed to social media their grief on his passing.
They described Vergara as "friendly" and "fun to be with."
Last year, another PMA plebe died of heat stroke. Then 19-year-old Cadet John Benedict Margin from Binangonan, Rizal, died in May 2016 during the Joint Field Training Exercises at Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite.
Margin was incorporated into the academy a week before his death. – Raymon Dullana and Frank Cimatu/Rappler.com