MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed to its ranks 134 newly commissioned officers from the Army, Air Force, and Navy who recently finished the ''Pre-Entry Courses for Officers.''
AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the 134 newly commissioned officers include 33 cadets from the Philippine Army Officer Candidate Course (PAOCS), 57 from the Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS), and 44 from the Naval Officers Candidate Course (NOCC) who successfully completed their one-year of training as candidate officers of the armed forces.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin graced the joint graduation ceremony, along with AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie D. Dellosa.
Gazmin, Dellosa, and the Major Service commanders also facilitated the awarding of the Secretary of National Defense Saber, the CSAFP Medal and Plaque, and the Major Service Commander and Flag Officer, and Command Awards to the top graduates of each class.
During the ceremony, the Adjutant General, Brigadier General Rolando B. Jungco read the commissionship order to the candidates, officially making them members of the regular force of the AFP.
The candidates also took their oath as commissioned officers of the AFP, followed by their induction to the Officer Candidate School Alumni Association.
The officer candidate schools established in the three Major Services train civilians and enlisted personnel who are baccalaureate degree holders to be future members of the AFP regular force.
The one-year course prepares an officer candidate with a rank of Probationary Second Lieutenant and Probationary Ensign to be mentally, physically, and emotionally fit to earn a commission as an officer in the Army, Air Force, and Navy.
In his speech during the ceremony, Gazmin quoted a message from the President and AFP Commander-in-Chief Benigno S. Aquino III, as he stated: ''You carry on your shoulders the task of ensuring the rule of law not for the interest of the few but for the betterment of our people. I know that you left the private sector and joined the service, not to bask in power but to uphold the integrity but more importantly to herald hope in communities devastated by strife and misunderstanding.''
Dellosa, for his part, told the graduates: ''You've made the choice of joining the military service, and now you are reaping the fruits of 48 weeks of hard labor. I express my congratulations for this very significant achievement in your life, along with the confidence that you will continue to follow the tradition of excellence and selfless service of the AFP.''
''The hard work that you have invested in accomplishing the pre-entry courses will surely lead to a very fulfilling opportunity to serve your country and your fellow Filipinos. I hope that you will live up to the expectations attached in your designations as new commissioned officers of the AFP,'' Dellosa added.