Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
The PMA Class of 2013:
“Something Happened” on Their Reception
Today, April 1, at Fort del Pilar in Baguio City, the home of the Philippine Military Academy, a total of 191 Filipino youth from all over the country – 171 men and 20 women – took their oath as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the new batch of “fourthclassmen” of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines. The equivalent of freshmen in civilian colleges and universities, they are better known as ‘plebes,’ occupying the lowest rung of cadets among three other classes – yearling, cow, firstie, or, the equivalent of sophomore, junior and senior, respectively.
Today’s event was no different from other “Reception Day” in the past for previous PMA classes at precisely this day of the year - ”a rite of passage,” the first day of transition from civilian to military life for the PMA Class of 2013.
Like similar occasions in the past, the afternoon affair on the parade grounds of PMA caused a ripple neither in the community of Loakan where the PMA is situated nor in the City of Baguio. To our knowledge, it did not even rate an item in the local, let alone national, newspapers.
Reports reaching us, however, reveal that “something happened” to make it not your usual Reception Day of years past.
Our source, on condition of anonymity, tells us that the PMA administration is in possession of a ‘manifesto’ from the Class of 2013.
The manifesto, we have been told, begins with a declaration that the Class of 2013, deploring the state of the nation, including the military, have pledged to be a “part of a movement for change, real change, for change that alters the culture of the nation, a culture that is geared towards changing the behaviors of our people, a culture that values integrity over greedy materialism.”
“We will start with change within ourselves.” And then, they will go from there, “wherever and however it brings us.”
What is “ominous,” our source says, is the “explicit warning” from the 191 signatories of the manifesto – a “pact,” they call it - that they are prepared to support any movement for changes in the rest of Philippine society, starting with the military, including the removal of those that makes that society sick, “not excluding the commander-in-chief, if necessary.” (Emphasis ours).
Our efforts to obtain a copy of the manifesto were unsuccessful, our source reiterating his demand for complete anonymity in exchange for this “exclusive.”
Why he chose WTW over, say, an established column like Ramon J. Farolan’s “Reveille,” he did not tell us. And we forgot to ask.
At this time, this is a closely guarded secret as far as the PMA administration is concerned, our source insisted, “perhaps because they still can’t make heads or tails of it and its significance, and especially of the reference to the C-in-C.”
Meanwhile, we have learned that members of the “fraternal” organization of PMA “cavaliers” that call themselves the “Cebu Squad” had plans for a reenactment of “Recognition Day,” also on April 1.
It could not be ascertained whether this reenactment in the Visayas, the first of its kind in PMA alumni history anywhere in the Philippines, was linked to the Recognition Day of Class 2013 in Luzon and the manifesto.
Despite some apprehension of members over the perception of its “divisiveness” – this group has not been sanctioned by the PMAAAI – indications point to the fact that this event, a brainchild of two of the group’s stalwarts, Cavaliers Alfonso “Ponswa” Alvarez ’83 and Augusto “Jun” Marquez ’84, is simply that: a reenactment, an exercise in nostalgia.
We could not ascertain either if there was any link between these two events and the recent posting of Cavalier Nebuchadnezzar Alejandrino x77 in PlebesaNdCavaliers, PnC, a popular and vibrant mail group of PMA alumni on the Internet.
In part, Alejandrino, known to his fellow Cavaliers as Nebu, wrote on the subject, “Ideology of Change:”
“Who are we?
“We are simple-minded citizens who want change. Real change. A change that alters the culture of the nation, a culture that is geared towards changing the behaviors of our people, a culture that values integrity over greedy-materialism (sic).
“The fact that we recognize the need for change is enough to start a movement. The idealist, the pragmatist, and the non-conformist, they are all out there ready to be a part of a movement for real change. The challenge is how to bring them together as one.”
Nebu is advocating change and a movement for that change and one will note that the ‘preamble’ of the manifesto of the PMA Class of 2013 has been practically lifted from the above posting.
As far as we know, Nebu is in Boston, Massachusetts where he is a doctoral student at Harvard University. He hasn’t been in the Philippines since he headed the Delegation of DJLF Foundation to the awarding ceremonies for the Scholars of the Loakan Educational Assistance Project, LEAP, during the PMA Alumni Homecoming in 2007.
Happy April Fool’s Day to all!
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