FAST FACTS: Meet the women mistahs
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – When the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) announced early this week that women cadets dominate the top 10 of the 2017 graduating class, the public welcomed it as a fitting celebration of International Women's Day.
The PMA graduation on Saturday, March 11, was indeed a women's affair. The valedictorian of the Salaknib class is Rovi Martinez. She is joined by 7 other females on the top 10. In addition, the awardees for best in math, computer, and journalism courses are female.
The eldest graduate of 2017 is female: Rinze Marion Eviota, who will be 27 on May 20. The youngest – and also 3rd in her class – is also a woman: Eda Glis Buansi Marapao, who just turned 20 last March 5.
Republic Act 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act of 1992 opened the PMA to women. The next year, Asia's premier military academy began admitting women.
Seven of them graduated in 1997. The Magnificent Seven were Ma. Consuelo Nunag Castillo, now Army Lieutent Colonel Leah Lorenzo Santiago, Arlene Orejana Trillanes, Marissa Arlene Andres, Maria Victoria Blancaflor Agoncillo, Sheryl Uy Cabasan, and Aileen Somera Reyes.
Santiago, who is now assigned as senior tactical officer at PMA, was 3rd in their class. She was the one in her batch who was most likely to become the first female Army general. Of the 7, only she, Agoncillo, Andres, and Nunag remain active in service.
Since the Magnificent 7, almost 600 women have graduated from the PMA.
Before Martinez this year, there had been 3 female valedictorians from the PMA, in 1999, 2003, and 2007. The first ever woman valedictorian, Arlene dela Cruz, died in a car crash in Bataan in December 2008.
Of the 167 members of the 2017 graduating class, 67 are women, the highest number since PMA started accepting women, according to a Philippine Star report.
The PMA class that entered in 2013 had the highest number of female in history – 84 of the 182 plebes, or almost a third of the batch. – Rappler.com