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ACE 99


On the Occasion of the Graduation Ceremony of the PAFROPP Sinaglahi Class of 2010 [AETC, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City] 27 July 2010 AMENITIES [At the end of the list of greetings] ..Once again, a pleasant morning to all of you, and welcome to the Summer Capital of the Philippine Air Force, Fernando Air Base! Today, we are all happy witnesses to the

culmination of a 15-month journey of this indomitable group of fifty-eight brand-new Air Force officers and future leaders. Forty gentlemen and eighteen lady officers, who have just taken their oath as officers of Armed Forces of the Philippines, have now embarked on a journey to serve God, country and people but with the added dimension of being practitioners upholding the core values of In-STEP: Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Excellence and Professionalism.

I consider not as an accident that this Class the second to have graduated under the revitalized Philippine Air Force Regular Officer Procurement Program (PAFROPP) decided to carry the nickname Sinaglahi, or Simbolo ng Nagkakaisang Lahi. For at this juncture of our countrys history, on the threshold of a new era under a new President and Commander-in-Chief, ating bayan. Therefore it is but fitting that today, on the day of your graduation, and on the first day of your life in service as Airmen and women, you should hear from an esteemed defense leader who can best relay to you what it takes to live a life of service, and to be continually answering the beck and call of our country. Ladies and gentlemen of Class 2010, guests and friends, allow me to introduce to you todays Guest of Honor and Speaker. He hails from the plains of Central Luzon, from a town called Moncada, Tarlac. Himself the son of another distinguished general, it was not hard to imagine that his journey would take him to the kailangan natin ang pagkakaisa ng ating lahi, para sa ikabubuti ng

Philippine Military Academy, where he would graduate with the Class of 1968. Having trained with the Special Forces and the airborne, he is a multi-awarded combat veteran who has commanded three army battalions the 26th Infantry and 45th Infantry Battalions and the 2nd Ranger Battalion. These field stints would serve him well in thwarting several coup attempts in the late 1980s when he headed the Presidential Security Group, PSG, under the late President Corazon Aquino, until the end of her term in 1992. Thereafter, he was sent to Washington, DC to be the Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the United States of America. He subsequently commanded the 103rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division in 1995, followed by the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) and later the Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army in 1997 and the Southern Luzon Command in 1998. In honor of his command and leadership

achievements, he was picked to head the largest major service of the Armed Forces as Commanding General of the Philippine Army in 1999. In the year









honorable and dedicated service to the country. It would not take long for the call of public service to beckon to him again as he was appointed by the former President as Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia from 2002 to 2004. Not many people know that our Guest of Honors date with history came as a young captain, where he was the custodial officer of a young and brilliant fellow Tarlaqueno senator, who was husband to a silent but strong wife and father to four daughters and an only son. That Tarlac senator, imprisoned by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was Benigno Ninoy Aquino who would become our martyred hero. The constant lady visitor, of course, would become our beloved President Cory. Then Mrs. Corazon Aquino would

remember the kind and understanding ways of a very firm but very professional custodial officer when she became President and Commander-in-Chief, naming our Guest of Honor as the head of her very own Presidential Guards. Who would have known, too, that their only son would now be our beloved P-Noy, or President Benigno Simeon Aquino III?

To this day, he remains a close confidant to the beloved First Family Ladies and gentlemen, a true friend, a consummate military professional, a leader of outstanding caliber, a diplomat and statesman, the Secretary of National Defense, the Honorable VOLTAIRE TUVERA GAZMIN!