TACLOBAN CITY — The Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) has welcomed 127 new soldiers who completed their training on Monday at the Army Jungle Base in Fatima village, Hinabangan, Samar.

Army 8th ID Commander Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio said in a statement sent to reporters Monday noon that out of 135 applicants, 127 completed the year-long training.

“The soldier above all other men is required to practice the greatest act of rigorous and rigid training. Put emphasis on the sacrifices you have made and love your profession. What you are, inside or outside the camp, even if you are not in uniform, is the extension of you being a soldier,” Farnacio said.

“To the 127 new soldiers, focus on your job. Help the national government in their effort in Mindanao and make us proud,” he added.

Of the 127 new soldiers, 81 are from Samar; 21 from Leyte; eight from Luzon; and 17 from Mindanao. In terms of educational profile, 23 of them are college graduates; 45 are college level and 59 are high school graduates with skills training from the Technical Education and skills Development Authority.

Eastern Samar Acting Governor Marcelo Ferdinand Picardal was the guest speaker of the ceremony. He led the ceremonial entrustment of firearms, distribution of certificates and individual achievements.

In his message, Picardal urged soldiers to fulfill their mission of providing protection and security to the Filipino people and to the country.

“Today, we face the challenges more than ever and the issues of peace and security are being tested not only by internal conflicts but by external threats as well. Thus, our vision to develop into a progressive nation is getting harder to realize. We see therefore the urgent need to get the real and concrete peace development initiatives into action,” the governor said.

All graduates are natural-born Filipino citizens, with 72 units in college, or with any certification of vocational courses, at least 18 to 26 years old, at least five feet tall, single and without a child; and of good moral character. (PNA)