SAN NARCISO, Zambales – Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. pledged his full support for the development of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) as the nation’s premier maritime school during graduation ceremonies for the academy’s class of 2022 here Thursday.
Ebdane, who was the guest of honor and speaker at the opening rites, reiterated his commitment to prioritizing education to make Zambales a sustainable community, a vow he made during his inauguration as governor for four terms a week ago.
“As governor, I would like to raise the level of education in PMMA and in Zambales in general. My office is ready to provide all necessary assistance for the good of our students. I believe that these young people will be the warriors of tomorrow and it is in their hands that the progress of our country rests,” he said.
At the same time, he called on public maritime school officials, as well as teachers and parents, to help raise the bar for PMMA education.
“The PMMA as an educational institution must strive and be committed to strengthening and improving maritime education. Teacher training, advancement of infrastructure and facilities, and research and development should be part of its push for excellence,” Ebdane stressed. “Together we can make these dreams come true.”
Ebdane also noted the need for local graduates to excel in leadership, as today’s human resource demands not only require technical skills, but also management skills.
The PMMA, which aspires to be declared a national maritime academy, had recently embarked on a 25 million peso program to foster the use of smart classrooms, remote access workshops, online platforms and even augmented reality and virtual reality equipment for its students. The school also inaugurated a new barracks last week that can accommodate an additional 50 students.
The Governor of Zambales’ call for excellence in maritime education came at a time when a native of Zambales topped the school’s academic lists. Marl Cheston Felarca Ravelo, valedictorian of PMMA’s Masidlayag Class of 2022 with a degree in marine engineering, is from the city of San Marcelino.
Like other PMMA graduates, Ravelo and the other members of the class had three career paths to choose from: enlist in the Philippine Navy or the Philippine Coast Guard or join the Merchant Navy Fleet.
Ebdane said that with a projected shortage in the supply of officers in the global shipping industry and a steady increase in demand for seafarers over the next 10 years, PMMA graduates have a bright future. . “Yet the challenge you face as young sailors is how to stay qualified, competent and relevant,” the governor reminded them.
Ebdane also urged the aspiring graduates to “sail beyond and conquer the world” and, at the same time, urged them to share their success, “especially with those in dire need of help.”
“If you finally go to sea to succeed, be careful. And if you are successful, come back home and share your experience and wisdom with the next generation, so that your victory also becomes the victory of our homeland,” he concluded.
Last Thursday’s graduation was the first face-to-face ceremony for PMMA after two years of starting exercises online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ceremony was marred by sudden heavy rain in the middle of the two-hour program, but the PMMA cadets valiantly held their formation through the downpour.