Another officer and a who has presently entered into the... of politics, General... Who has already been introduced to you, my province mate from Laoag. My Senior Officer in the Marines who has also joined now the political frame, now the Col. Gojo who is running for board member. The Cadet of the PMMA, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
First of all, I am very happy that I have this opportunity to come, to visit with you in the PMMA. The Admiral has explained the history of my family with the PMMA and that is because of the reputation of the importance of the officers that are with you in the academy.
The Philippines is an archipelagic country. An archipelago that is comprised of 7,107 islands, therefore the security of our seas and our territory is something that is primordial. Primordially important.
That is why, our officers that have graduated from the academy, that will graduate from the academy, will lie in their hands nothing less than the safety and the security of the people and of the state. That is how important it is. That is how important your role will be. When the time comes that you take.
This importance has been highlighted by the political developments that have happened in what we now call the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea. I am sure all the cadets are aware of the situation that we are facing now. Kung binabantayan ninyo iyung APEC ngayon, napapag-usapan ang sabihin na lang natin, ang “gitgitan” ng Tsina at ng iba’t-ibang bansa sa Asean.
Again, this highlights the importance of our navy, of our coastguard, in their defense of our security and of our territory. It has become so important that it is now an international issue. It is something that we in the Philippines must continue to defend. It cannot get not even one square inch of Philippine territory we to any other country. That is the...
All the who will enter the Philippine Navy, who will enter the Philippine Coastguard, siguro naman nababalitaan ninyo na tayo’y binibigyan ng tulong ng ating mga kaibigan, hindi lamang ang America, kung hindi ang ibang bansa na magbigay sa atin ng mga gamit, barko, helicopter, at kung ano-ano pang pangangailangan ng ating mga puwersa para panindigan at ipagtanggol ang teritoryo ng Pilipinas.
So that is why this has become a burning issue where as before, the academy was something that was on going and only. Now, once again, who is the forefront our thinking, our concerns, because of all the issues that we are facing. I am very sure and confident that with training, with experience that you gain as you go through your courses here in the academy, that you will become prepared for any.
For those of you who will merchant marine, once again, the role that you play is extremely important. It is extremely important because the merchant marine now and has been for many, many years, the face of the Philippines to the rest of the world.
Kung minsan ang ating mga seafarers ang siya lang ang kilala ng Pilipino, ng ating mga kaibigan na tiga labas. You are representing, you are passengers of the Philippines. Not the passengers in the diplomatic sense, but the passengers reminding our friends in other countries that what Filipinos are- that we are a good, hard-working, intelligent, well-trained, well-disciplined. That is the face that we show. That is why up to now we comprise of the 1.2 million seafarers in the world. Over 400,000 are Filipinos. That leaves a testimonial to the quality and the excellence of the service that our Filipino seafarers provide... That is also a recognition of the fine training that we have achieved and the effect that they have garnered in the time that they have worked in the merchant marine.
That is why not only do I exhort you in your continuing effort to be the face of the, to not only go out and find jobs to help yourselves, to help your family, but also because you are the representatives of our country to help the entire.
With that, for the work that you will do, for the work that has been done by the graduates of the academy, I congratulate you. The cadets, I congratulate all those who have been involved in your training. All those who have been involved in the running of the PMMA, for the job well done, keep it up, and make us proud.