Martes, Hunyo 5, 2018

Filipino Cadets Bare Sad Plights at West Point

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

 Cadets from the Philippine Military Academy sent to the United States Military Academy and those at military colleges in South Korea, Japan, Canada, and Australia disclosed some of their sad financial plights.
USMA Second Class Cadet Jesson Peñaflor said that he and his co- West Point, New York based cadet have to pay each $2,000 (P105, 270.00) their education and training supplies and equipment at USMA before they trudge their four years military and academic courses.
WEST POINTERS – United States Military Academy’s First Class Cadet Renier Dela Cruz (extreme left) and Second Class Cadet Jesson Peñaflor flanked former Military Professor Gabriel Ortigoza of the Philippine Military Academy when Ortigoza attended the USMA Class of 2018 graduation held at the Michie Stadium in USMA, New York recently.
The two Filipino cadets are part of the treaty called Foreign Service Academy Program signed by the Philippines with the United States. The country has other similar programs with South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Canada.

This disclosure was recently posted at the Face Book’s account of Gabriel Ortigoza, a former military professor at the PMA, when he attended the graduation of the USMA Class of 2018 in New York last May 26 this year.
He said neither the PMA nor USMA pay for these materials.

The PMA have two “international cadets” it sent to USMA in Peñaflor and Renier Dela Cruz.
Dela Cruz, who is from Baybay, Leyte, will be graduating in May next year while Peñaflor, from Bukidnon, will get his diploma at the Michie Stadium in May 2020.

 “The $2000 nonrefundable payment is for all the initial items we use upon coming to West Point like the laptop uniforms, etcetera sir. We can either pay it up front or our allowance will be deducted every month till the end of yearling year until we pay it all off sir. Either will do sir. We’re already grateful for the free education, the salary is just a bonus sir!,” he told commenters who were rankled if not shocked  by Ortigoza’s post he styled as opinion article with a title “Filipino Cadets at West Point”.
The cadet at West Point has a miniscule monthly stipend of $200.
A Filipino who has a son at the U.S Coast Guard Academy in Washington D.C reacted when he thought everything at West Point was free since his son at the USCGA have been regularly receiving his allowances not only from the Coast Guard Academy but in the Philippine Coast Guard.
 “I thought it’s all free. My son who is also an international cadet at the US Coast Guard Academy is not paying anything plus he gets a monthly allowance in US dollars. He is also getting monthly salary from the Philippine Coast Guard. Time for PMA to learn from the Coasties,” the PMA alumnus cited.
Peñaflor differed however by saying that a Filipino cadet at West Point did not pay anything since the $2000 could be deducted by $100 monthly in the first two years at the Academy.
Ortigoza said as a nurse in Sacramento California the already deducted $100 monthly allowance of a Filipino cadet at the USMA is only a two-hour pay of a nurse in California.
Peñaflor cited that the PMA will not shoulder their air fare in case they want to go home to the Philippines during their academic break.
The average back and forth airfare according to Ortigoza between the U.S and the Motherland is $1,000 or more than P52,000.00.
“USMA is the one who pays for our airfare not PMA,” he mentioned too his experience when he reported to New York for his plebe year almost three years ago.
 Former President Fidel V. Ramos, alumnus of the military college near the bank of Hudson River, was heard to say that he spent his breaks with his relatives at Sacramento, California from 1947 to 1950 when he was a student at the West Point because air travel to the Philippines was prohibitively priced then.
The father of a USCGA cadet said that before his son reported to the USCGA, the PCG paid the $3000 for the personal requirements of the cadet notwithstanding the air fare from the U.S to the Philippines the PCG pays for its cadet.
 “Since West Point has not accepted a Filipino cadet for two years in a row now. I just hope that at the next time West Point does (accepts another Filipino) the government could just help with a plane ticket for a vacation even just once in all his four years, sir,” Peñaflor retorted.
Ortigoza said that after he posted the sorry states of cadets from the Philippines in the U.S, a PMA cadet sent to military college in South Korea narrated the same predicament not only with those at the West Point but those Filipino cadets at the Army, Air Force, and Naval Academies in South Korea, the National Defense Academy of Japan in Japan, the Royal Military College in Australia, and Royal Military College of Canada.
“This message seems inappropriate but I just cannot keep myself from sending my gratitude to what you posted about cadets in West Point, sir. I am also a cadet sent to a foreign academy, sir. We are 15 here in Korea, sir. Three cadets are sent to the army air force and the naval academy (sic) every year here, sir and three are at the language institute studying the required language, sir. There are also cadets in Japan, Australia and Canada, sir. Everyone of us are experiencing the same thing, sir but for the service we want to give in the future we are trying to keep ourselves firm and strong so none of us will even think of quitting and leaving the service. Thank you for what you've posted, sir. People who can help us may not see it but simple people who see and appreciate our small sacrifice will give us more strength and become our inspiration to work harder. Thank you again, sir and may God bless you always, sir,” the cadet in South Korea, Ortigoza did not name, cited.
A certain Wilfredo Mejia smarted that if the Philippine government used the military services of these young Filipinos to sacrifice their life and limb against the enemies of the state, the government should correct these holes.

“If it is true that Filipino cadets at West Point have to pay for their admission to West Point, it's about time the Philippines government stepped up and took care of paying for the "cost" of admission to USMA,” Mejia exhorted the government.

Ortigoza in his post called the attention of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to iron out the kinks in the country’s financial obligation to its cadets in the USMA.
Since the time of Vicente Podico Lim in 1910, PMA cadets have been sent to these foreign military colleges through a treaty called Foreign Service Academy Program.
Presently, the Philippine has the following alumni from the West Point. They are Lim (USMA Class of 1914), Rafael Ileto (USMA Class of 1943), Fidel Ramos (USMA Class of 1950), Florencio Magsino (USMA Class of 1951), Gregorio Vigilar (USMA Class of 1953), Thelmo Cunanan (USMA Class of 1961), Narciso Abaya (USMA Classof 1971), Danilo Lim (USMA Class of 1978), Jose Rene N. Jarque (USMA Class of 1986), Dennis Eclarin (USMA Class of 1993), Floren P. Herrera (USMA Class of 2013), and Don Stanley Dalisay (USMA Class of 2017).

READ MY OTHER ARTICLE: These LGUs should honor new West Pointer, Mom
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