The daughter of a public school teacher and farmer from Echague, Isabela topped the “Masidlawin” Class of 2020, the graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Cadet First Class Gemalyn Deocares Sugui, 25, bested the rest of the 195 graduates in her class, earning the top rank and becoming the sixth woman to become valedictorian since the academy was founded in 1905.
Sugui remains humble, saying that she did not expect to graduate as valedictorian of her class but feels thankful that she received the distinction.
“Siguro may plano ang Diyos bakit nilagay Niya ako sa position na ito kahit na hindi ko man ito pinagdarasal na makuha, binigay Niya sa akin kasi kaya ko,” Sugui said.
Photo credit: Good News Pilipinas
As the top-ranking graduate of her class, this young cadette also receives the following honors and awards:
the Achievement Award for Academic Excellence
- the JUSMAG Award
- the Management Plaque
- the Philippine Army Saber
- the Presidential Saber
- the Rule of Law Award
- the Social Sciences Plaque
- the Spanish Armed Forces Award
Sugui also received a house and lot worth P2 million from the company of former senator Manny Villar.
The daughter of a public school teacher and farmer, Sugui feels a bit disappointed that her parents could not attend the graduation ceremony after the rites were modified due to the COVID-19 crisis. The last time the academy is forced to cancel the graduation ceremony was in World War II.
Thankfully, the academy decided to still push through with this year’s graduation but it will be a much smaller affair than the traditional rites which usually included a testimonial parade and review to honor retiring alumni.
President Rodrigo Duterte attended the joint graduation ceremony of the PMA and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). The president congratulated the graduates even as he reminded them of the value of sticking to their mandate to protect the country.