Thursday, March 13, 2014

Farmer-father of 2014 PMA valedictorian wants son to fight corruption (Feature)

LEGAZPI CITY, March 13 (PNA) — Help fight corruption!

This is the number one advice of the father of Philippine Military Academy Cadet First Class Jheorge Llona, the valedictorian of the PMA “Siklab Diwa" Class of 2014.

Nelson Llona, a farmer in Barangay Maopi, Daraga, Albay, from where the 2014 PMA top honor graduate hailed, said he made the advice with the belief that his son would someday occupy a high position in the government, especially that Jheorge has chosen to join the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

“I am not a good swimmer so I chose the Air Force,” Nelson quoted Jheorge as saying when asked why he chose the PAF instead of the Navy and Army.

In an interview Wednesday at their residence in an upland farming village about 20 kilometers away from Legazpi City, Nelson could not help being emotional about the achievement of his son despite their struggling economic condition.

He and his wife Gloria work together at their half-hectare farm that gives them a yield of 20-30 sacks of palay per harvest.

The expression of happiness on the faces of the Llona couple was nondescript.

Jheorge’s father said that even while still young, his sixth son had already shown potentials of excelling in any activity, especially in his studies.

“Ever since, my son has been studious, kind and obedient,” Nelson recalled.

The Llona patriarch said that during Jheorge’s high school days at the Anislag National High School, he was being teased by his classmate as “malamya” or “mahinhin” (gentle).

Jheorge, he claimed, used to walk two kilometers just to attend his classes in the nearby Barangay Anislag.

After graduating from high school, Jheorge took up Accountancy course at the Bicol University and entered the PMA after two years, he said.

Nelson said Jheorge is profuse with expression of gratitude for their efforts to have him finish his studies through farming and selling food items.

Dr. Ramesis Lorino, dean of the Bicol University College of Business, Entrepreneurship and Management (BU-CBEM), also expressed joy over the achievement of Jheorge.

Lorino claimed that in two years of stay in BU-CBEM, Jheorge had displayed excellence in his studies, especially in Math where he got a rating of 95 percent.

He said the BU-CBEM plans to have a simple welcome program for its former student.

In August last year, the PMA administration already sent a message to the Llona family that their son would be among those who will graduate with academic honors.

The entire family is scheduled to leave for Baguio City Thursday to witness the fruit of Jheorge’s struggle as a PMA cadet for four years.

The Albayanos’ pride will march during the graduation rites on Sunday with the highest academic honors in the premiere military school in the country, said Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, who was invited by the Llona family to attend the occasion.

“I am going to attend this event upon the request of the family,” Salceda said in a phone interview.

He said seven other Albayano classmates of Jheorge will join him at the graduation rites.

He identified the other successful Albayano cadets as Rolly Lopez of Ligao City, Jeanelyn Cabrido and Ranjan S. Palacio from Guinobatan town, Juanito A. Siddayao of Legazpi City, Charlie A. Bernaldez of Bacacay, Angielyn B. Samaniego of Polangui, and Julan M. Ocharan of Camalig.

The Albay governor said he has directed his office to plan out welcome honors for Llona and the other PMA graduates from Albay.

He also expressed his pride over this new feat for his province as he also directed the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution commending Llona for his academic achievement as well as the seven other PMA graduates.

He said he will also invite Llona to be the guest of honor during the Albay Day celebration on April 3. (PNA) SCS/FGS/AMM/CBD