POLICE LIEUTENANT JOHN SMITH BINWAG, a proud Igorot and a native of Hingyon, Ifugao, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for earning the highest rating in academics and a Scout Ranger Replica as Class Top 1 of the Philippine Scout Rangers Class 211-2020.
The honors were presented to PLT Binwag by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff LTGEN CIRILITO SOBEJANA, PA, who also served as Guest of Honor and Speaker, at the Graduation Ceremony of 206 new Philippine Scout Rangers held on February 25, 2021.
The 27-year-old Scout Ranger is the 7th child among the 9 siblings of Mr. Manuel P Binwag (Banaue, Ifugao) and Mrs. Mary Atiwon Binwag+(Hingyon, Ifugao). They grew up in Lepanto, Mankayan, Benguet since their father worked there as a miner and their mother was a housewife.
Binwag graduated from Marivic Elementary School (2006-2007) in Sapid, Mankayan, Benguet, and finished his secondary education from Joaquin Smith National High School (2010-2011) at Km 4, Asin Road, Baguio City. The family later moved to Baguio City in 2009 when his father was terminated from the Lepanto Mines.
After graduating from high school, Binwag enrolled at the University of Baguio (academic year 2011) as a working student while earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. He studies during the day and serves as campus security (Marshals) at night at the university in exchange for free tuition fees.
Despite the difficulty of balancing things between time, duty, study, rest, and financial problems, Binwag is a consistent academic scholar of the university. He even became the Student Body Governor of the University of Baguio Crim department in the Academic Year 2014-2015.
However, despite all efforts, Binwag did not finish his Criminology course because he moved out from the university on April 15, 2015. He believes God led him to another path to success after passing the PNPA Entrance Examination. Fortunately, he passed all the rigors of the selection process and landed as a cadet of PNPA SANSIKLAB CLASS 2019.
After graduating from the PNPA in March 2019 and achieving the rank of Police Lieutenants, they were temporarily assigned to the PNP National Head headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for orientations and seminars prior to deployment. However, of the PNP members in their class, only 10 of them were given the opportunity to undergo the elite Scout Ranger training, a training designed to prepare them for all the "wild possibilities of war."
The selected ten reported to Camp Tecson, Bulacan on January 3, 2020, for the Qualifying phase, a rigid screening process to test the mental stability, stamina, skill, and knowledge of a student to include marksmanship, swimming, land navigation, map reading, Physical Fitness Tests and more.
After the Qualifying Phase, only 5 of them made it to be part of the Scout Ranger Class 211 which opened on March 11, 2020.
Among the 232 qualified Ranger students who trained to form part of the Scout Ranger Class 211-2020, only 206 made it up to graduate on February 25, 2021, after nearly a year of rigorous training, sleepless nights, and sacrifice of blood.
Their Test Mission in Jolo, Sulu lasted almost two months of raging war with the Abu Sayaf Group from December 2020 to mid-week of January 2021.
Those who did not graduate were the ones who failed to overcome their fear, weaknesses and decided to quit along the way.
Congratulations, PLT John Smith Binwag! You truly are an inspiration to your fellow Igorots! Despite the Igorots being smudged in our society as ignorant, uneducated, and uncivilized, you have proven that Igorots do not only excel physically but academically as well.
It is also a rare opportunity to graduate as the top 1 in what is considered the most difficult training in the Philippine Military that is respected worldwide, the Philippine Scout Rangers. But as an Igorot, you did it with dignity and pride. Long live the kabsat!