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Arroyo arrives at PMA graduation rites amid tight security

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Saturday arrived at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation ceremonies amid tight security. GMA-7’s DZBB radio reported that at 8:32 a.m., the 324 members of the ‘Mandala’ Class of 2006 paraded at the Barromeo field inside Fort Del Pilar in Baguio City. Despite reported new threats of destabilization against her administration, President Arroyo arrived at the PMA at exactly 8:57 a.m. and proceeded to the grandstand where hundreds of officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were seated. Also in the grandstand were hundreds of relatives and friends of the graduating class. Members of the foreign diplomatic corps and foreign military attaches were also present in the occasion. The Top 10 cadets of the ‘Mandala’ Class of 2006 were Cadet Ariel Toledo of Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur; Cadet Francis Rosales of Baguio City; Cadet Romel Sotero of La Trinidad, Benguet; Cadet Ethelbert Aaron Kiunisala of Misamis Oriental; Cadet Michael Gotong of La Trinidad, Benguet; Cadet Amina Abdula of Concepcion, Tarlac; Cadet Noah Hernandez of Kidapawan City, North Cotabato; Cadet Ermin Soloren of South Cotabato; Cadet Joe Vergel Flores of Kidapawan City, North Cotabato; and Cadet Joy Penaloza of South Cotabato. Toledo, who graduated cum laude, received four sabers including the much-coveted Presidential Saber from President Arroyo. He was also awarded the Mandirigma ng Lahi 2006 Award, the Presidential Valor Award, the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Achievement Award for Academic Excellence and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Valor Award. Cadet Mae Mandali received the Athletic Valor Award. Of the 37 female cadets, nine were commissioned by the PAF, nine by the Philippine Navy and 21 by the Army. Of the total 324 graduates, 66 were commissioned by the PAF, 79 by the Navy and 179, by the Army. The PMA Mandala Class 2006 was reported to be the biggest class in the history of the academy.-GMANews.TV