President preaches gospel of sobriety

Fort Del Pilar — President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday exhorted the 124 new graduates of the Philippine Military Academy to be models of sobriety and reason in confronting the challenges they will face as military officers. “When confronted with small and big problems in your career, place yourselves in the place of those who are aggrieved, those who are willfully abused and those who are living in extreme poverty and you will find the right solution based on your sound evaluation and assessment,” said Mr. Aquino, the guest of honor and speaker at the PMA’s 108th graduation
108th Commencement Exercises. President Benigno Aquino III troops the line with Philippine Military Academy Supt. Lt. Gen. Irineo Espino at Fort Del Pilar during the graduation of the members of PMA Class 2013. At left, the members of Class 2013 throw their hats into the air after graduation.
National and local officials exercising sobriety and reason in decision-making should be admired, Mr. Aquino said. Jestoni Arman Lanaja, the valedictorian of the Class of 2013, said the officers produced by the PMA should be at the forefront of advancing the cause of internal and regional peace. Lanaja comes from a poor family in Davao del Sur and, as a child, had sold boiled bananas to help his mother, a housewife, and his father who gathered coconut sap for a living. “In my younger years I realized that we could be happy as long as we had a house to stay and food to eat,” Lanaja said. President Aquino cited as a good example of sobriety and reason the formalization of the Bangsa Moro framework agreement between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that underwent a series of responsible and analytical discussions. He also cited the need for consultations and the use of diplomacy to solve problems such as the crisis in Sabah, which started when the followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III intruded there to press his claim to the Malaysian state. “We must seriously consider the plight of the more than 800,000 Filipino Workers in Malaysia who are now under threat of being sent home as a result of the conflict and the lives and sources of livelihood of the people directly and indirectly involved in the brewing conflict,” Mr. Aquino said. He accused those behind the Sabah standoff of being conspirators who were working to negate his administration’s significant gains, especially in his drive to eradicate corruption and improve the lives of Filipinos living in the countryside.
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