Against all odds and amidst the pandemic, the University of the Philippines Diliman Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Unit (UPD ROTCU) celebrated the completion of Basic ROTC and Cadet Officer Candidate Course (COCC) 71-B for Academic Year 2020-2021 through a joint graduation ceremony held last 02 July 2021. The event was witnessed by cadets, cadet officers, sponsors, invited guests and parents who were either present at the Department of Military Science and Tactics (DMST) complex, connected via the Zoom meeting app, or watching the simultaneous streaming on YouTube and Facebook.
The event was graced by UP Diliman NSTP Director Prof. Dennis Quilala who delivered the opening remarks and Atty. Philip Sigfrid A Fortun who delivered his message as Guest of Honor and Speaker.
During the graduation ceremony, Prof. Quilala commended UPD ROTC and DMST for taking the challenge to innovate the delivery of ROTC training, resulting in over 300 cadets who graduated the course to become reservists of the Philippine Army.
“[Year] 2020 has not been kind to the Philippines,” said NSTP Director Professor Dennis Quilala during his opening remarks. “It has not spared the educational system as well. It is not easy to adjust from a traditional face to face delivery of the program to a remote learning set up. As a product of the CAT in high school and partly of the ROTC in UP Diliman, I can just imagine how much the DMST has to change and also to adjust in order to fulfill its mandate.”
Prof. Quilala also said, “Train more. Equip yourselves with skills that will strengthen our country with honor and excellence. I encourage you to bring into your military science training the disciplines that you will learn from the university.”
Atty. Fortun, a member of the UP Vanguards from the Class of 1978 and a former Corps Commander of UPD ROTC, had much to impart to the new reservists. He spoke live at the DMST Complex, mentioning how he followed UPD ROTC on Twitter and Facebook and was proud of the achievements they made in learning the rudiments of citizenship training, disaster response and rescue management, and more online. He also spoke of the gallant history of UPROTC and stressed the importance of the skills one learns from the program.
“ROTC thus has a glorious past of instilling rudiments of the responsibility and obligations of being a Filipino citizen in UP students,” said Atty. Fortun. “It molded leaders of industry, business, finance, and produced public servants like Carlos P. Romulo and Alfredo Pascual, both of whom are men who underwent the COCC and Basic ROTC courses in UP. You thus are not in bad company in the NSTP course you had decided to take and complete. In fact, you will later appreciate the training you received from this course as they are practical implements to make you survive and feel whole in the hustle and bustle of everyday living, whether in a pandemic or its aftermath.”
Atty. Fortun added, “There are basic values I know you have picked up and will use in the completion of your education at UP and, later, in your respective careers.” These include leadership principles, modesty, and virtuosity where unselfish service to others becomes paramount in becoming responsible citizens of the country.
Among the graduates are three cadets who also belong to the UP Corps of Sponsors; ten cadet officers, and cadets from the Rayadillo, Infantry, Rescue, Field Artillery, and Band units.
Special awards were presented to C2Lt Fergie John O Frange 3Cl for the Efficiency Medal, CPvt Shaica S Cordez 3Cl for the Honor Medal, CPvt Anthea Marie U Alcantara 3Cl for the Duty Medal, and CPvt Mark Philip B Balingasa 3Cl for the Loyalty Medal. These cadets have shown dedication and excellence despite the remote learning set up.
Furthermore, CP2Lt John Leonard A Adesna 3Cl graduated from the COCC Batch 71-B and he was commissioned with the rank of cadet second lieutenant. COCC is the preparatory training course required to be completed by the aspiring cadet officers before taking positions of leadership in the Corps of Cadets.
CLtC John Timothy G Kho 1Cl, the Corps Commander of the UPD ROTC Unit, presented the candidates for graduation, followed by the declaration of graduates by Col Jaime R Datuin GSC (INF) PA, Commandant and Department Head.
UP Diliman ROTC is under the Department of Military Science and Tactics, which is currently in its 99th year— soon to celebrate its centennial anniversary.