History of the Philippine Military Academy
The Philippine Military Academy traces its beginnings to the officers’ school of the Philippine Constabulary in Manila, which opened on February 15, 1905 at the Sta. Lucia Barracks in Intramuros.
The school transferred to Baguio three years later, on September 1, 1908, with Major James F. Quin as Head. The passage of Act No. 2319 by the Philippine Legislature on April 14, 1914, provided funds for the maintenance of the officers’ school. Subsequently, Act No. 2605 was passed on February 4, 1916 and renamed the school “Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary.” It extended its course of instruction to carry out its mission to train men to become officers of the Philippine Constabulary. The passage of this Act marked the beginning of the requirement that candidates must pass a competitive examination.
On December 8, 1926, Act No. 3496 was passed by the Philippine Legislature and declared the official name of the school as the Philippine Constabulary Academy. The nine-month course transitioned to two years, until it became three years in accordance with the provision of a subsequent amending Act. A modification of the act also provided for the strengthening of the Acadamy’s faculty and the readjustments of its curriculum.
By this time, the Academy had already earned the status of college. Colonel R.A. Buckworthford, who was the Superintendent from 1929 to 1932, stated:
“The Academy is vested by law with the status of a college. The diplomas awarded to the Academy graduates should be recognized as equivalent to an AB or BS degree in the same way as West Point diplomas are recognized by most universities and other collegiate institutions in the United States.”
The rise of the Constabulary Academy to full college status came with the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 1 (the National Defense Act) on December 21. 1935. Prior to the Commonwealth, the colonial status of the Philippines meant that it could not provide for its own armed forces. With the transition period to full independence; however, the Commonwealth government embarked on putting in place the institutions necessary for a professional officer corps. The academy further extended its course of instruction to four years, conferred on its graduates the degree of Bachelor of Science, and authorized the final change of its name to “Philippine Military Academy.” In signing the National Defense Act, Pres. Manuel L. Quezon reaffirmed the need for a competent officers’ school and its important role in the building of a strong Philippines.
From the time of its transfer to Baguio on September 1, 1908 to 1936, the Academy was situated on Constabulary Hill, which was subsequently named Camp Henry T. Allen in honor of the man who was greatly responsible for its growth and development. In 1936, the Academy transferred to a bigger though temporary location at Teacher’s Camp, also in Baguio City. Again, the Academy saw extensive changes in its course of instructions in both military and academic courses.
The outbreak of World War II disrupted entirely what had auspiciously begun. The cadets of Class ’42 and ’43 graduated ahead of schedule. They and their officers and instructors were assigned to combat units in Bataan and other sectors of the country.
The Philippine Military Academy officially reopened on May 5, 1947 in Baguio City. Classes began on the first week of June and were held at the old Camp Allen. Rehabilitation and development went hand in hand with the training of the then singular class of cadets. In the absence of upperclassmen, a few members of Class ’44 and ’45 were given the responsibility of indoctrinating the cadets until the integration of underclassmen to the Corps. Because of the need for wider grounds, a site in Loakan was acquired. The Academic Building, which was constructed at a cost of P 1,300.000, was initially erected on this new camp. Because the Corps was still small, the Academic Building was used as barracks and classrooms for the cadets. In early 1963, it was given the name Melchor Hall, after Col. Alejandro Melchor, who was Dean of the Academy.
After the construction of Melchor Hall, additional buildings were built. There were the officers’ quarters, the Station Hospital, and Yap Hall, which served as the cadet mess hall. For sports, a gymnasium was built and named Jurado Hall. There is also the covered court complex that doubles as auditorium, martial arts facilities, three tennis courts, and a 25-meter swimming pool.
To accommodate the increasing number of cadets, three additional barracks were constructed – the Regis Hall, the Central Barracks, and the Mayo Hall, and two newly constructed barracks which are collectively called Ramos Hall.
The Philippine Military Academy today has undergone many innovations—the Tri-Service Curriculum, infrastructure projects, the Faculty Merit System, and the acceptance of women into the Cadet Corps. But the Academy continues to be a symbol, a name, and a school. It epitomizes the best traditions of the service. It bears the standards of character founded on honor and fortified by discipline. It is a school that has trained men for over eighty years in the defense of the state and furtherance of peace and order. It has a proud heritage to cherish, a glorious tradition to uphold, a noble standard to maintain, and a vital mission to accomplish.
With its history considered, the Academy continues to endure and looks forward to the future guided by its motto “COURAGE, INTEGRITY, AND LOYALTY.”
The Philippine Military Academy Bagwis Class of 2012
BAGWIS is the abbreviated form of the phrase “Bagong Kawal na may Iisang Lakas”. They claim to be the “New Breed of Soldiers, which has a Unified Strength”. The word “BAGWIS” alone also stands for the class description. It is a Tagalog word that stands for the “STRENGTH OF WIND THAT COMES FROM THE FLAPPING OF THE BIRD’S WING.” Backed by all the values they learned in the Academy, the class aims to use the Unified Strength that they have to help in nation-building. The class will be the BAGWIS or Pakpak (wings) of the AFP as it soars to a more unified actions towards a better military organization for the Filipino people.
PMA graduation exercise traditions
The Valedictorian and the Baron
The Presidential Saber is traditionally given by the incumbent President of the Philippines to the PMA Class Valedictorian. The 2012 recipient of the Presidential Saber is Cadet Tom V. Puertollano.
Cadet First Class Mark Anthony Sy Tito, in the meantime, serves as the first captain of the cadet corps, by tradition called the Class Baron of 2012. The Baron is the most ranking cadet in the Corps and is technically the immediate assistant of the Commandant of Cadets in the discipline, interior administration, training, and general efficiency of the Cadet Corps. The Baron has the distinction of wearing the longest chevron in the corps of cadets.
The Presidential Saber was first awarded by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1938 to Cadet Aristeo Ferraren, also the Baron of his class.
As per correspondence between columnist Ramon J. Farolan and blogger Winston Arpon, only three recipients of the Presidential Saber were also the Barons of their class: Cadet Leopoldo Regis, class of 1951 (and who died in the plane crash that also claimed President Magsaysay’s life in 1957), Cadet Manuel Arevalo, class of 1964, and Cadet Ferraren.
The Goat is the cadet who graduates last in the class. This tradition was carried over from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Though discontinued at West Point since 1978, every cadet at the graduation ceremony knows who the class Goat is and when his or her name is read in the alphabetical list, the crowd bursts into sustained cheers.
Distribution of Rank Insignia
In 1957, Pilar Hidalgo Lim, wife of the late General Vicente Lim, started the tradition of giving all members of the PMA graduating classes their First Rank insignia, which they call their “Lieutenant’s triangles.” Every year, as a pre-graduation rite, the insignias are given to every member of the graduating class, together with 2 letters: a copy of the original letter of Mrs. Pilar Lim, and a letter of a representative of the Lim family, which has continued the tradition. This year, the Distribution of rank insignias was held on March 16, Friday.
Official class names
The tradition of naming PMA Classes started with the Dimasupil class of 1967 (see full list below) as a verbal representation of the collective aspirations of the class. As stated above, the class of 2012 is named Bagwis, following their aspirations to be New Breed of Soldiers which has a Unified Strength.
Source: The Philippine Military Academy
Visit the PMA website
List of official class names (1967-2011)
List of recipients of the Presidential Saber
|Aristeo T Ferraren||1938|
|Lisurgo E Estrada||1940|
|Manuel T Yan||1941|
|Eliseo D Rio||1942|
|Leopoldo B Regis||1951|
|Marcelo S Nuguid||1952|
|Bernabe D Salvador||1953|
|Donato L Guzman Jr||1954|
|Rosalino A Alquiza||1955|
|Jose C Bello Jr||1956|
|Arnolfo R Ramirez||1957|
|Gregorio D Bravo||1958|
|Sebastian B Arrastia||1959|
|Thaval N Sawangpunka||1960|
|Alexander P Aguirre||1961|
|Hernani M Jover||1962|
|Eckwood H Solomon Jr||1963|
|Manuel A S Arevalo||1964|
|Antonio A Daza||1965|
|Romeo H Bruce||1966|
|Anselmo S Avenido Jr||1967|
|Arthur B Garrido||1968|
|Crisostomo F Abanes||1969|
|Irwin P Ver||1970|
|Oscar O Martinez||1971|
|Eduardo H Gador||1972|
|Antonio R Torres||1973|
|Alfredo D Abueg Jr||1974|
|Raul M Subala||1975|
|Joel R Goltiao||1976|
|Kah K Lim||1977|
|Ho S Yee||1978|
|Rafael L Llave||1979|
|Delfin G Lorenzo||1980|
|Thawip P Netniyom||1981|
|Renoir M Pascua||1982|
|Ervin B Gumban||1983|
|Samuel T Jardin||1984|
|Manuel R Gaerlan||1985|
|Gilbert I Gapay||1986|
|Angel L Evangelista||1987|
|Antonio P Mendoza Jr||1988|
|Rei Ferdinan B Picar||1989|
|Bruce S Concepcion||1990|
|Jose Ernest B Gaviola||1991|
|Wayne B Avestruz||1992|
|Rommel R Cordova||1993|
|Genaro C Menor||1994|
|Gerardo O Gambala||1995|
|Rogelio R Lacerna Jr||1996|
|Ephraim G Suyom||1997|
|Joe Roy D Kindipan||1998|
|Arlene A Dela Cruz||1999|
|Paul Anthony V Aviquivil||2000|
|Sadiri R Tabutol||2001|
|Charlie Antonio Domingo Jr||2002|
|Tara J Velasco||2003|
|Rolly A Joaquin||2004|
|Bryan C Rayton||2005|
|Ariel M Toledo||2006|
|Andrelee S Mojica||2007|
|Ariel G Rallos||2008|
|Karl Winston Dl Cacanindin||2009|
|Eraño B Belen||2010|
|Angelo Edward Buan Parras||2011|
|Tom V Puertollano||2012|
|Jestoni Armand Lanaja||2013|
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