Philippine Military Academy

4 females among top Philippine Military Academy graduates for 2021

Jairo Bolledo
4 females among top Philippine Military Academy graduates for 2021

Philippine Military Academy cadets march for newly installed armed forces chief of staff Major General Jessie Dellosa during the turn over ceremonies at the military headquarters on December 12, 2011. Dellosa is a highly decorated combat general who once served as the aide de camp of Aquino's late mother, the democracy icon Corazon Aquino. AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

While most of the top 10, including the valedictorian, are male, the top 4 female graduates stand out in an 84-year-old institution known for its patriarchal culture

Four female cadets made it to the top 10 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 2021, the PMA announced on Monday, May 3. 

A female cadet from La Trinidad, Benguet, Cadet 1st Class Valerie May Dicang, is the third highest ranking graduate of the PMA Masaligan Class of 2021. She is graduating magna cum laude.

“The most difficult is to prove your spot. A small girl competing with 138 men is preposterous but I did it. Service has no gender,” Dicang said.

Dicang is joined in the top 10 by 3 other female cadets: Cadet 1st Class Christine Joyce Andog from Cabanatuan City (rank 5, cum laude); Cadet 1st Class Pamela Avila Calleja from Malinao, Albay (rank 8); and Cadet 1st Class Shirley Fatima Lim from Tacloban City (rank 10, cum laude). 

While most of the top 10, including the valedictorian, are male, the top 4 female graduates stand out in an 84-year-old institution known for its patriarchal culture.

Only 6 female cadets have topped the graduating class since the PMA started to accept female cadets in 1993. The latest was Cadet First Class Gemalyn Deocares Sugui, valedictorian of PMA Masidlawin Class of 2020. 

For this year, Cadet 1st Class Janray Artus is the valedictorian and is graduating summa cum laude. The 25-year-old Negros Occidental native was a former chemical engineering student at the University of the Philippines Visayas and will join the Philippine Navy. 

The PMA said 164 cadets are expected to graduate during official rites on May 10. 

Of these graduates, 138 are male or 84% of the total graduates. Meanwhile, 26 are female or 16% of the graduates. 

According to the PMA, 82 graduating cadets will join the Philippine Army, 46 will join the Philippine Navy, while 36 will join the Philippine Air Force. 

The PMA is the top military school in the country, whose alumni are currently leading the armed forces and the police. Some of these alumni are currently part of the cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Private affair

The graduation of the PMA Masaligan Class of 2021 on May 10 will again be a private affair because of the restrictions brought by COVID-19.

And despite official pronouncements from PMA officials that Fort del Pilar is now COVID-free, attendance will again be restricted at the graduation exercises just like last year.

Only those who can present a negative RT-PCR test will be allowed. It is not yet confirmed if Duterte or Vice President Leni Robredo will attend the graduation.

A total of 164 cadets will comprise the Mandirigmang Samahan na Lakas at Sandigan ng Bayan (Masaligan) Class of which 138 are male and 26 are female.

Artus, the class valedictorian, is a 25-year-old son of a retired soldier and a teacher from San Enrique. He will receive the Presidential Saber from Duterte for topping his class, the Philippine Navy Saber for being the top incoming Navy ensign, the Australian Defense Award, the Spanish Armed Forces Award, the General Antonio Luna Award, Academic Group Award, and the Jusmag Award.

He will also receive plaques for various courses.

The salutatorian is Daryl Brix Ramos Colita of Malalag, Davao del Sur. The 22-year-old mining engineering undergraduate will receive the Vice Presidential Saber, Army Saber for being the top Army recruit and the Australian Defense Saber. – with reports from Frank Cimatu/Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.