Thursday, March 12, 2015

PMA’s Top 10 Grad Son of Carpenter, Tomb Maker

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City  – The Top 10 graduate of the elite military academy here this Sunday did not only come from war torn Mindanao but a son of a poor tomb maker and a carpenter.
TOP 10: The top 10 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy's Class of 2015
Cadet 1st Class Regeric Rivas-Fuentes of the rustic town of M’lang, Cotabato Province came from a family in the lower economic bracket of the Philippines.
Fuentes' uncle electrician Jackson Concepcion said his father works as a carpenter, tomb, and mausoleum maker for the funeral house in the town while his mother is a plain housewife.
“Naga pamanday siya building ni Pornel (Funeral Parlor) kag ga buhat pantheon (He does carpentry and tomb making for Pornel Funeral Parlor),” he said in Ilonggo's dialect.

Cadet Fuentes is part of the 171 graduates of the PMA Sinag-Lahi Class of 2015 class whose name comes from the Filipino phrase, Sundalong Isinilang na may Angking Galing at Lakas, Handang Ipaglaban ang Bayan—“Soldiers born with natural abilities and strength who are ready to fight for the country.”
Concepcion, whose wife Rebecca is the older sister of the mother of the No. 10 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy at Fort del Pilar here, said that Fuentes should have graduated last year with the batch of controversial Cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia but did not make it as he was injured in the urinary system when he was a plebe or first year at the Asia’s version of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
He was injured. But he was hospitalized and underwent surgery at the PMA Hospital, then he went home in our town to recuperate for one year before he returned at the Academy,” his uncle told this paper in the vernacular.
Concepcion said that after his nephew graduated with flying colors at the M’lang National High School, he enrolled at the town’s community school’s Southern Baptist College for one semester. He did not push through however, Concepcion continued, because he hurdled the tough PMA entrance examination and reported at the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City for physical examination.

A source here said that every year more than 12,000 applicants take the PMA entrance examination where more than one thousand could pass  but only 350 enters the Academy after the rigorous physical examination at the AFP Medical Center. Concepcion said that before Regeric reported at the military hospital in Manila, his sister in law Remelda and her husband Ricky solicited monies from friends and relatives to complete the fares and expenses of Fuentes in Manila.
“Good that our town mayor (Lito Pinol) shelled out too financial assistance for my nephew’s expenses in going to Manila. He told Regeric to make it good at PMA,” Concepcion said.
Members of community page of Face Book of the town said that Fuentes is a good upright intelligent student when he was studying at the town’s public national high school.
The Rivases according to former PMA military professor Captain Gabriel Ortigoza, who is now a U.S citizen, came from the family of intellectuals where many of them graduated valedictorian or cum laude in high school and college.
“Regeric’s cousin, the son of his auntie Rosanna, joined the PMA but quit last year,” Concepcion‘s quipped.
  Two of the brothers of Regeric’s father are non-officer’s members of the Philippine National Police while Raul, the brother of his mother, is a Staff Sergeant at the Philippine Marines assigned at Sangley Point, Cavite.
“They (parents of Regeric) stayed there at Raul’s house before they go to PMA for the graduation on Sunday,” Concepcion said.
President Benigno Aquino III will be the commencement speaker of the military school here.
The other top graduates of the class of 2015 are Cadets First Class Genesis Dizon (2nd) of Zamboanga City; John Paul Bacsain (3rd) of Pili, Camarines Sur; Paolo Dominic Regis (4th) of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro; John Denver Bambico (6th) of Naguilian, La Union; Jan Klyde Blair Danganan (7th) of Baguio City; Steven Tali (8th) of Zamboanga City; Brian Villanueva (9th) of General Santos City.
The town of Fuentes had produced several alumni of the PMA. They are Marine Colonel Romeo Racadio, Army Colonel Nelito Tan, deceased then Army Captain Daniel Tan ,who are all PMA graduate of Class 1991, Former Army Captain Robert Tresplacios (PMA Class 1986), Former Army 1st Lieutenant John Andres, Army Lieutenant Colonel Alvior, Army Captain Rambo Java, and others.
Although 2Lt. Jul Laiza Camposano, the awardee of the Athletic Saber of Sinaglahi, hailed from Tulunan, Cotabato Province, Rosalie Ann I. Untalan, secretary to SBC's President Alvin Bergante said she is a member of the school's alumni roster since she is a graduate of SBC's elementary batch of 2003.

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