THE FAMILY. The Quemado family led by Col. Nicolas Sr. (left), Dr. Loveleih Quemado (center,) and Kyle, the youngest among the four Quemado siblings, pose beside the photo of Ensign Krystlenn Ivany Quemado (on background photo) who topped the graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy “Bagsik-Diwa” class of 2022 during a ceremony on Sunday (May 15, 2022). The young Quemado, in her valedictory address, said that a visit to the camp where her father had been assigned as a soldier made her want to be a soldier and graduate with honors. (PNA photo courtesy of Col. Quemado)

BAGUIO CITY – The father of this year’s top graduate at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) said that the Philippine Navy will be the "military branch of the future" as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) puts a focus on defending the country's territory.

In an interview on the sidelines of the PMA graduation ceremony on Sunday, Col. Nicanor Quemado Jr., father of PMA “Bagwis-Diwa” class valedictorian Ensign Krystlenn Ivany Quemado, said the country's military operations have been transitioning from internal security to territorial as the defense of its borders has become the government's top priority.

The older Quemado, who also graduated from the academy in 1993 and is now with the Philippine Army, said “the Navy plays a vital role in the mission of the AFP to safeguard the territory.”

The Navy is one of the three branches of service that aspiring servicemen can join, along with the Air Force and the Army.

“The Philippine Navy is very fortunate to have the top of class 2022 join the ranks. When this batch becomes senior officers later on in the AFP, I know that she will be an asset to the organization,” he added.

The older Quemado said that while they did not push their daughter to join the Navy, he gave her daughter some things to consider when choosing which branch to join.

“At first she wanted to be with the Army but I told her nasa Army na ako, alam ko gaano kahirap lalo at babae siya (I am already in the Army and I know how difficult it is for a woman),” the colonel said.

He also said that the Air Force and the Navy are equipment-based professions in the military and that her mental ability coupled with more experience and training will be useful in either branch.

“Good luck, you are joining the future branch of service. I know that the Philippine Navy will take care of you,” he said.

The young Quemado, who graduated summa cum laude, topped her class composed of 214 members and received several awards, including the “Best Overall Performance Award,” which is given to a cadet who excelled in both the academic and tactics side of their four years of military education in the country’s top military institution.

She is one of the 40 female graduates out of the 57 who are joining the Philippine Navy. (PNA)