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PMAAI recognizes Cavalier Pandemic Heroes

(screen grab from RTVM fb live)
(screen grab from RTVM fb live)

From the traditional war fighting to fighting an invisible virus.

The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAAI) recently recognized  cavaliers who have contributed immensely in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

On February 18 at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City during the 2023 PMA Alumni Homecoming, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led the awarding of the PMAAAI Cavalier Pandemic Heroes Award to eight alumni of the premiere military institution for their exemplary roles during the COVID-19 crisis.

Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu of PMA Class 1970 for his capacity as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).  He was appointed  as overseer of the government’s COVID-19 response in Cebu City and Central Visayas  when cases soared in the area in 2020.   

Former Department of Information and Communication Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan of PMA Class 1971. As a member of the IATF-EID, provided ICT support to the IATF so that decisions of the collegial body with long-term effects were logical, rational and intelligent, driven by science, data, timely, complete and accurate information allowing the national task force to manage critical variables like time and limited resources.

Former  Defense  Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of PMA Class 1973. As the Chairperson of the National Task Force of the IATF-EID, he led the fight against the COV1D-19 in collaboration with other government agencies, private sectors and the international community for the effective and efficient implementation of government's trace, test and treat strategy as well as the sustained enforcement of "wear mask and maintain physical distance", until it became a new social practice and behavior. Lorenzana is now the chairman of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong of PMA Class 1982, designated as the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Czar of the country. The contact tracing program in Baguio became a model for the entire Philippines and his appointment as the Contact Tracing Czar demonstrated the importance of strong leadership and effective crisis management in the fight against COVID-19. His efforts had made a significant contribution to the global effort to control the spread of the virus.

(screen grab from RTVM fb live)
(screen grab from RTVM fb live)

Former Dept. of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año of PMA Class 1983 served as Vice Chairman of the NTF. Under his leadership, he laid a crucial part in sustaining and cascading the overall action plan down to the grassroots level. The Department ensured that national-level policies, programs and initiatives were faithfully and effectively carried forward by the provincial, city and municipal governments while affording local chiefs with the needed flexibility to address issues and utilize effective tools which may be peculiar to their areas. Año is the newly designated as National Security Adviser.

Former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and now DND Secretary Carlito Galvez of PMA Class 1985.  Chief Implementer of the Philippine-declared National Policy Against COVID- 19 National Task Force and the COVID-19 Vaccine Czar.  Galvez ensured that all of the moving pieces of the country's COVID- 19 response machineries were effectively and efficiently functioning. He was tasked to ensure the strict compliance and adherence of everyone- public and private sector - to the guidelines and protocols issued by the IATF-EID.

Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, also of PMA Class 1985.  As a member of the IATF-EID, he orchestrated the largest social amelioration program in the country’s history in order to deliver basic needs to the marginalized sector of society. He efficiently crafted processes and procedures to properly conduct the distribution of food and cash assistance to low-income households during the quarantine period.

Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan of PMA Class 1992 was the Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Task Force Bayanihan - Returning Overseas Filipinos.  He was instrumental in the strict implementation of IATF resolutions and guidelines at the airports and seaports with approximately 3,000 PCG personnel detailed with the said Task Force to guard the country's borders.

PMAAAI Chairman and CEO Ambassador Vidal E. Querol said the   pandemic heroes award is their positive report card to the nation that PMA garduastes have transformed from traditional war fighting to fighting an invisible virus. Their inspiring roles, he said, will linger long after the pandemic is gone.

“As you celebrate the accomplishments of the PMA, I would like to congratulate this year’s awardees for your exemplary performance of your respective duties. Let that exemplary work be emulated and ignite a desire for service in our young cadets. Inspire them once more to become leaders of character,” the President said in his message.

The President added, “I am aware that some of you have continued your service in the private sector, while others have remained in government. And I hope in whatever capacity you serve, you continue to lead a life of service beyond self – an ethos we can attribute to a premier institution such as the Philippine Military Academy.” (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)

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Redjie Melvic Cawis


Cordillera Administrative Region

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