Three Cordillerans were among the recipients of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) Cavalier Awards during the traditional Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming at Fort del Pilar in Baguio City on Saturday, February 19, 2022.
This year's homecoming theme was "Mga PMA Cavaliers: Tunay na Kaagapay ng Sambayanang Pilipino sa Panahon ng Pandemya o Kalamidad."
President Duterte skipped the ceremony and was represented by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (PMA "Maagap" Class of 1973).
"Pinayagan naman na magkaroon ng activities sa PMA, inoobserve lang natin 'yong mga health protocols. Hindi rin tulad ng dati na talagang maraming nagpupuntahan so mayroon pa rin tayong restrictions (Activities were allowed to be conducted in PMA, we just observe the health protocols. It's not the same before that a lot of people come here so we still have restrictions)," said General Andres Centino, Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in an interview after the homecoming.
"Still we're happy that we were allowed to have this homecoming. This is an annual event that all alumni look forward to every year," he added.
During the event, three Cordillerans out of fourteen PMA alumni were conferred with Cavalier Awards. The PMAAAI Cavalier Awards is the highest recognition given to a PMA alumnus or alumna with outstanding achievements in their respective fields.
Cavalier Benjamin Magalong
Cavalier Benjamin Magalong, the incumbent Mayor of Baguio City and PMA Class of 1982 topnotcher, was given the prestigious award for his outstanding accomplishments in public administration.
Baguio's chief executive officer was named lone awardee for Outstanding Service in Public Administration. In bagging the coveted PMAAA Cavalier Award, he bested scores of other Officer and Gentlemen who are presently engaged in public administration.
The city mayor thanked his comrades-in-arms, and to the city and people who continue to inspire him in serving Baguio with honor, honesty, and hard work.
"This is for Baguio I am sworn to serve, for the people whose support and cooperation I have always valued to get Baguio in utmost safety and well-equipped to meet challenges," the Mayor said.
Cavalier Gladiuz Calilan
Cavalier Gladiuz Cariaga Calilan, from Luna, Apayao, and PMA Class of 2001, also received the award for his exceptional leadership, exemplary performance in the service, and outstanding achievements and accomplishments in Army Operations.
LTCOL Calilan is known for his exemplary leadership and innovative approaches to the counterinsurgency operations of the 95th Infantry Battalion he led in Isabela province where the government regained human support thus breaking the CPP-NPA-NDF influence in the area.
Because of his excellence in civil-military partnerships, the lives of the people in the area affected by armed violence for a long time have become stable once again. The dissolution of the communist movement paved the way for the laying down of development programs in the communities in his Area of Responsibility.
Cavalier Herbert Dilag
Living legend Cavalier Herbert Dilag of PMA Class of 1998 was also recognized for his outstanding performance in special operations. LTCOL Dilag is a Medal of Valor awardee, the highest award in the Armed Forces of the Philippines for his bravery. A true Igorot Scout Ranger from Tabuk, Kalinga.
Meanwhile, Cavalier Romeo Brawner Jr., from Kiangan, Ifugao, and the current Commanding General of the Philippine Army, was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award along with eight other high-ranking officials.