The application for special enlistment of Paalam and Magno was approved by the navy on Friday during the courtesy call of the two boxing champions at the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila.
Paalam and Magno are now donning the rank of apprentice seaman/ seawoman. Major General Nestor Herico, navy’s vice commander, facilitated the oath taking on behalf of navy chief Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado.
Paalam won a flyweight silver medal during the Tokyo Games, helping the Philippines record its best Olympic medal haul of one gold, two silvers, and one bronze.
Meanwhile, Magno is the first Filipina boxer in history to qualify in the Olympics. Her Tokyo Olympic run ended during the boxing round of 16.
Dream come true
Paalam, a scavenger-turned-Olympic medalist, said his enlistment was a dream come true.
“Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat kasi pangarap ko talagang maging sundalo (My deepest gratitude to all of you because I really want to become a soldier),” Paalam said on Friday.
Meanwhile, navy vice commander Herico said the navy is honored to accept the boxing champions in their ranks.
“The Philippine Navy is honored and glad that you have chosen to serve and belong with us. Malugod namin kayong tinatanggap bilang mga Special Enlist personnel ng Hukbong Dagat ng Pilipinas,” Herico said.
According to the navy, the two boxing champions will be considered as regular navy personnel. The boxing champions also have three years to decide if they will continue serving in the navy.
The navy added that if Paalam and Magno continued, they would be compelled to undergo basic military training.
So far, there are four Olympians who are part of the country’s military – Paalam and Magno under the navy, and gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial under the Philippine Air Force. – Rappler.com