AN Air Force general yesterday assumed command as the new superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City, committing to eradicate maltreatment or hazing in the academy.
In rites held at the PMA grounds, Maj. Gen. Ferdinand Cartujano took over from Vice Admiral Allan Ferdinand Cusi, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 yesterday.
Before being designated as the new PMA head, Cartujano served as the commander of the Philippine Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command in Batangas. As of yesterday, there was still no word as to who would be his replacement at the AETC.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1988, Cartujano previously served as commander of the 505th Search and Rescue Group.
“The upholding of the honor system and the total eradication of maltreatment in the academy are responsibilities that I alone cannot bear,” said Cartujano.
“These are tasks bigger than the rest of the PMA community combined. It is a concern of all PMA alumni, officers, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
Last year, the academy was saddled by several cases of hazing, one of them leading to the death of Cadet Fourth Class Darwin Dormitorio. Charges were filed against PMA cadets and military officers in court.
A PMA official earlier said they are taking steps to replace the “culture of violence and the culture of silence” at the academy with a “culture of peace and a culture of understanding.”
Cartujano nevertheless said that entering the academy “is not a walk in the park, it is not for the fainthearted.
“You are stripped of your civilian antics and you are trained to become defenders of the motherland. It is expected that your training will be tough while developing a sound mind and a compassionate heart for your future endeavors in service to the nation,” said Cartujano.
Under his leadership, Cartujano said the PMA will work hard for every cadet “to have (a) safe and productive stay here and become officers of the land with outstanding C’s, three capital letters C – character, competence and commitment.”