One of the things that always remind us of democracy at work in the Philippines is the Philippine Military Academy's annual graduation rites. Every year, we hear of inspiring stories coming from its graduates, mostly coming from poor families who wanted to improve their lives by enrolling in the academy. This year's graduate is one such success.
Erano Belen from Dumaguete is a son of a tricycle driver. Before coming to the PMA, Belen struggled very hard to live. He recounted how he and his family eat rice with salt just to live the day. A member of the Iglesia Ni Kristo, Belen vowed to uplift his family from poverty and one way to do it is thru the PMA.
This year's batch also includes many graduates who were raised under extremely difficult circumstances. One of the class' "Starmen", meaning graduates who had attained "cum laude" status, failed to finish medical school and decided to enrol in the academy. Others were sons and daughters of poor folks in Region 1 and the CAR.
PMA superintendent Vice Admiral Leo Calderon praised the class for being exemplary in their conduct and in their academics. This is the best class there is in this generation, says Calderon.
The question is--will this class serve the Country well by really fighting to protect the rights of the people? Will they really serve the People or will they just be pawns and knights of the elite?