(extracted from The Cavalier)

Cavalier Awardees and Other Outstanding Alumni, AY 2019-2020
by Cav Edgardo B Aglipay ‘71 - Chairman, Awards Committee, AY 2019-2020

The Board of Directors of the PMA Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) has selected as Cavalier Awardees for AY 2019-2020 twelve alumni who, after a stringent nomination and selection process, have been found to have the most outstanding performance in their respective fields. The Board has also selected five other alumni to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award. They have brought honor not only to themselves but also to our Association. Besides exemplifying the Academy’s motto of integrity, courage and loyalty, they have distinguished themselves among equally competent and devoted alumni-achievers. The awardees, who merit our snappy salute and highest praises, are the following:

CAV GREGORIO B HONASAN ’71 – “Whenever we are now, whatever public services we are engaged in, our defining moments were in the noble profession of arms, servicing God, country, and the Filipino people.”: This is the curt reply of Cav Honasan when asked how he defines public service. Cav Honasan was first elected in the Senate in 1995, the first truly independent candidate in Philippine political history to win in national elections. He was elected senator four times as an independent. During his 21 years in the Senate, he chaired the Committees on Energy, Labor, Environment, Agrarian Reform, Sports, Public Information and Mass Media, Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. In the Senate’s Centennial Year, he was elected as Assistant Majority Leader, Member of the Commission on Appointments, and Chairman of Committees on National Defense and Security, and Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, and Chairman of the Select Oversight Committee on Intelligence. His landmark contributions to legislation include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, National Security Policy, and Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, and Solid Waste Management Act, among others. He is the main proponent of the Freedom of Information or People’s Ownership of Government Information (POGI) Bill. He also proposed a mini marshal plan for peace and development in Mindanao. True to form, Cav Honasan paved the way for the lifting of the suspension of pension indexing of the Military and Uniform Personnel (MUP) by defending the revised Joint Resolution of both Houses of Congress on 13 December 2017. On 1 January 2018, President Duterte signed the JR No. 1. The strong determination and efforts of Cav Honasan resulted in the grant of significant increase in retirement benefits for the MUP and for which they will remain grateful to him.

CAV PANFILO M LACSON ’71 – Consistent with his personal credo which goes: “What is right must be kept right, what is wrong must be set right,” Cav Panfilo Lacson continues to safeguard public interest through his anti-corruption effort, in particular, through the national budget which he considers the most potent tool to drive the economy’s growth. Cav Lacson stressed this in the 17th Congress. Among the many questionable appropriations exposed by Cav Lacson were the billions of pork insertions by Congressmen realigned to fund programs and projects under the proposed budget of 2019. Said “pork” was among the P95 billion pesos vetoed by President Duterte in RA 11260of the General Appropriations Act of 2019. Parallel to his agenda of ensuring good local governance, Cav Lacson filed bills promoting transparency and public accountability. To curb graft and corruption, Cav Lacson encouraged whistle blowers by granting them protection, security, and benefits. He was the principal sponsor of the National ID Law (RA 11055) which provides for easier transactions with the government and private entities and which helps to deter criminality. His whole-hearted support to the needs of the active and retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP) paved the way in the increase in their base pays and retirement benefits, respectively as one of the principal authors of Senate Joint Resolution 1. Refusing to yield to political pressure from interest groups, Cav Lacson continues to advance his agenda to initiate programs on budget reforms, transparency and public accountability, anti-graft and corruption, and public order and security.

CAV ARISTON V DELOS REYES ’71 strongly advocated against the arbitrary and indefinite suspension of pension indexing to the prevailing rate for the retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP) as provided under the proposed Salary Standardization Law of 2015 which ultimately did not pass during the Bicameral Committee Conference of both Houses of Congress. The Senate made a stand not to suspend pension indexing. Thus,in lieu of enactment, Executive Order No. 201 was issued to prevent pension indexing from 2016 onward which Cav Delos Reyes vehemently opposed. He conducted continuing research on the MUP pension system and made series of communications advocating for its amendment in order to resume pension indexing and so that the MUP in the active service will be entitled to the adjustment of their pay and allowances that are pegged to the base pay. He was the resource person to the Confederation of Uniformed Services Associations (CONUSA) that included AGFO, PMAAAI, NARAAI, PRAI, and other retirees’ and veterans’ associations which clamored for resumption of pension indexing. He provided the CONUSA with vital information and data to support its written communications to higher authorities. His tenacious efforts culminated in the Senate where the PMA Class of 1971 rallied all out support for him, spearheaded by the highest order of statesmanship of Senator Honasan and Senator Lacson which ultimately resulted in the signing of Joint Resolution No. 1 series 2018 by the President that authorized the adjustment of MUP base pay and the resumption of pension indexing to the new pay rate. The additional pension due to indexing amounts to about P50 billion in 2019 and annually thereafter benefiting more than 220,000 pensioners including retired cavaliers. Cavalier Delos Reyes in his untiring advocacy also supported the setting up of innovative systems and programs that can make the PMAAAI truly a progressive organization genuinely represented by the majority of its members and so that it may really make a difference in our society.


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