PA gets lion's share of PMA's 2012 graduating batch

March 17, 2012 1:06 am 

MANILA, March 16 – The Philippine Army, the largest branch of service in the Armed Forces, has attracted the best and the brightest officers produced by the Philippine Military Academy.

The soon-to-be-commissioned Army officers include the new topnotcher, Cadet Tom Puertollano of "Bagwis" Class 2012.

Puertollano is following the footsteps of his seniors, similarly distinguished cadets of their times, by choosing the adventurous path of Army life.

A Batangueño native from Lipa City, Puertollano is one of the 102 cadets from the total of 187 graduates to join the PA.

As a young boy, he attended both his elementary and secondary education inside an Air Force base, exposing him to the military circles.

The sight of helicopters and light planes soaring in the skies had helped shape his dreams of becoming a military man someday.

His desire to help his poor family inspired him to take on a chance at the PMA.

With his long list of PMA accomplishments, he is suddenly thrown in the limelight.

Cadet Puertollano will receive several recognitions on March 18, their graduation day.

These include the Presidential Saber award from President Aquino and the Army Saber award from Gen. Bautista.

Interestingly, these men of notable academic and military commendations all chose to take the difficult road to soldiery when they can always opt to walk down a more convenient path.

They share the common belief that praises and recognitions that they earned in the PMA will be meaningless if they will not give back by serving the people.

Puertollano is soon to join these men to stamp his own legacy in the Army's transformation roadmap.

Unlike Puertollano, whose foremost reason is to help his family financially, Gen. Bautista joined the service to carry on the bequest of his father who died as an honorable soldier.

Both Bautista and Puertollano have dreamed of donning the military uniform by becoming a soldier since high school.

Puertollano's parents fully supported him; in contrast, Bautista’s mother unyieldingly opposed, offering his young son a brand new car just to discourage him from pursuing a career in the military.

Yet, determined as he is, Bautista persisted and found himself dodging enemy bullets in Mindanao as a young Scout Ranger.

Later, he would become a true peace advocate and climbed the ladder of the military hierarchy to become Army chief.

“I chose to be in the Army because it is where I can have direct involvement with the people. I can be a true leader and a brave combatant, most of all, I can effect change in the community where I will be in,” Puertollano said.

“I admire my leaders and so when I become one, I particularly want to focus on the capability of the Army. I would like to address concerns so that we can achieve complete transformation and that misleading issues will no longer be a problem,” Puertollano, who also wants to be a future Army chief, shared. (PNA)

hbc/PFN

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