TOP GRAD. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (3rd from left) leads the awarding of recognitions to Philippine Military Academy “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024 valedictorian, Cadet 1st Class Jeneth Elumba, at the commencement exercises in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City on Saturday (May 18, 2024). Looking on are Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoror Jr. (left) and Vice President Sara Duterte. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

BAGUIO CITY – Seven female cadets of the male-dominated Philippine Military Academy (PMA) stood out in the commencement exercises at Fort del Pilar here on Saturday, earning praises from their Commander-In-Chief, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

The 278-strong “Bagong Sinag” Class of 2024 is led by valedictorian Cadet 1st Class Jeneth Elumba, who was magna cum laude.

“I am pleased that this batch has produced female cadets who have shown outstanding performance, many of whom proudly swarmed the elusive list of top 10 performers and special awardees,” President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said in his speech, according to a Presidential Communications Office news release.

A native of Surigao City, Elumba also received the Presidential Saber as valedictorian, Philippine Army Saber, Joint United States Military Assistance Group Saber and the Australian Defense Best Overall Performance Award.

She will be joining the Philippine Army, along with 143 others. The Philippine Air Force will have 62 of the grduates while 72 will be deployed to the Philippine Navy.

The six other top females in the batch are Cyril Joy Masculino, 4th, magna cum laude; Rosemel Dogello, 5th; Alexa Mye Valen, 6th; Giselle Tong, 8th, Mathematics Plaque; Danica Marie Viray, 9th; and Neriva Binag, 10th.

Seven of the 10 special awards were likewise given to female graduates — Paula Joy Aviquivil, Mitzi Binamira and Jenela Calumba, cum laude; Camille Joy Poblete, Athletic Saber; Samantha Zinampan, Department of Tactical Officers plaque; Zita Dewi Nirvana Messakareng, Humanities plaque; and Thrisha Mae Capul, Journalism Award.

Mark Armuel Boiles of Quezon City and Kim Harold Gilo of Butuan City, ranked second and third, respectively, while in seventh place is Floyd Nino Arthur Roxas of Iloilo province. 

“I share with your parents the immense pride and joy that I know they are feeling right now. Tomorrow, it will be the people’s turn to welcome you on your first tour as commissioned officers,” President Marcos said.

The President reminded the “Bagong Sinag” graduates to always put the people first.

He said the PMA has not only trained them to be proficient in warfare, but also to become champions of the welfare of the Filipino people.

“Because soldiering now is no longer limited to defending territories, but to improve the [lives] of the people who live there,” the Chief Executive said.

President Marcos also recognized the PMA instructors for their hard work in providing a responsive military education and ensuring that the cadets are equipped to become worthy torchbearers of freedom.

The PMA was established on Oct. 25, 1898 by virtue of a decree issued by President Emilio Aguinaldo and was formally created on Dec. 21, 1935. (PND/PNA)