BAGUIO CITY — A female cadet from Ilocos Sur province topped this year’s Mabalasik Class of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Cadet 1st Class Dionne Mae Apolog Umalla of Allilem Daya village in Alillem town lead the 263-strong graduates at the academy’s graduation on May 26. She is the fifth woman to graduate as valedictorian after the academy accepted female cadets in 1993.
“It is not about being male or female, it is all about how you contribute for the betterment of the PMA. It is all about performance,” said the 21-year-old cadet.
Umalla, who will be joining the Navy, recalled that she was in her second year taking up Education degree at the Saint Louis College in San Fernando City, La Union when she decided to enter the PMA.
She will receive the Presidential Saber, Philippine Navy Saber, Distinguished Cadet award, Academic Group award, Joint United States Military Assistance Group award, Australian Defense Best Overall Performance award, Spanish Armed Forces award, and the Association of Generals and Flag Officers award.
She will also get plaques in humanities, management, social sciences, natural science, and computing and information sciences.
Four other female cadets made it to the Top 10, in addition to Umalla. They are: Cdt 1Cl Jahziel Gumapac Tandoc of La Trinidad, Benguet is (3rd); Cdt 1Cl Marinel Dinihay Fundales of Leganes, Iloilo (7th); Cdt 1Cl Glyn Elinor Buansi Marapao of Buguias, Benguet (8th) and Cdt 1Cl Ruth Angelique Ricardo Pasos of Pasig City (9th).
The graduating class has 73 female cadets.
Ranking second is Cdt 1Cl Jonathan Mendoza of Sangley Point, Cavite; Cdt 1Cl Daniel Heinz Bugnosen Lucas of Barlig, Mt. Province (4th); Aldren Maambong Altamero of Kidapawan City (5th); Richard Balanag Lonogan of Sagada, Mt. Province (6th) and Daryl James Jalgalado Ligutan of Sta. Mesa, Manila (10th).
The other awardees are Cdt 1Cl Kimberly Joy Saliw-an Baculi of Tanudan, Kalinga and Nicolas Crisanto Raguine Guysayko of Naga City who will receive the Athletic Saber Awards; Cdt 1Cl Geoffrey Ortega Valdez of Davao City, Journalism Award; and Cdt 1Cl Jesriel Alvendia Calimag of Quezon City to receive Chief of Staff Saber award.
Of the 263 members of the 2019 Mabalasik Class, 134 will join the Army, 63 to the Air Force, and 66 to the Navy. The class name stands for “Mandirigma ng Bayan, Iaalay ang Sarili, Lakas at Tapang para sa Kapayapaan.”