ROTC UNIT OF 2016. Philippine Air Force officers led by Eighth Air Reserve Center commanding officer Lt. Col. Gaudencio M. Lauron III PAF GSC (centermost), XU PAF-ROTC cadets, and XU NSTP director Denisse Edwina Gonzales (in white shirt) meet with XU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap SJ during the presentation of the plaque of recognition on October 20. Supplied photo.

For the third time, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) hailed Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan’s Philippine Air Force – Reserve Officer Training Corps (PAF-ROTC) as the country’s “ROTC Unit of the Year CY 2016.”

In a courtesy call with XU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap SJ on Thursday, October 20, XU PAF-ROTC commandant Captain Jaclaine Lennor R. Barra said that their unit is “very happy and very proud” of this achievement.

“We have seen the efforts and the activities of the PAF-ROTC of Xavier. They are doing great and we have maintained high standards of discipline,” said Barra.

“Our students, especially our advanced cadet officers, must maintain the excellence so we can reach our goals and get the recognition not just from the Philippine Air Force, but also from the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” she added.

This year’s recipients for the ROTC awards were screened intensively through a series of interviews and board deliberations, including the evaluation of their performance in military tactical demonstrations and social development activities.

“Thank you and congratulations! This is very impressive, especially the discipline we have formed in our cadets in serving our country, which is important. I am glad that we have won this year,” said Yap.

“We might get used to winning this award every year!” he quipped.

Joining Barra in presenting the plaque to the XU president were Eighth Air Reserve Center commanding officer Lt. Col. Gaudencio M. Lauron III PAF (GSC), assistant commandant 2Lt. Joel E. Lagaya PAF, and the XU PAF-ROTC cadets.

Xavier considers this recognition as a joint victory between the university and the 8th Air Reserve Center of the Philippine Air Force.

“We are very proud of this achievement,” said XU National Service Training Program (NSTP) director Denisse Edwina Gonzales. “Our ROTC has consistency achieved a lot for Xavier University. We are the number one for three years already.”

Barra also announced during the courtesy call that seven XU cadets are gunning for slots in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

“I asked them if they really want to join the PMA. First, they have to pass the physical exams to be conducted by the AFP. After which, hopefully, the quota will include them. Of course, we will continue to support them,” said Barra.

“Basically, the ground training has been done here at Xavier as part of their ROTC program. For sure, they will be more into academics there in the PMA,” she added.

Moreover, cadet officer Danielle Ayson, a BS in Real Estate Management student of XU, will join the Philippine delegation to the Culture Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program in Guam, USA.

Ayson’s predecessor, Cadet Lt Col Jan Rogie G Macandili, the AFP Male ROTC Cadet of 2015, was last year’s Xavier delegate to the CULP program.

ROTC UNIT OF 2016. Eighth Air Reserve Center commanding officer Lt. Col. Gaudencio M. Lauron III PAF GSC reads the citation of the award during the courtesy call with XU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap SJ on October 20. Supplied photo

Due to the implementation of the senior high school program wherein there will be no college freshmen for two school years, recruitment for the next batch of ROTC cadets would be a challenge for the unit.

“We will continue training our existing officers. We will just wait for the next two years, when we have freshmen already, so we could recruit a new batch of ROTC students,” shared Barra. “The PAF-ROTC unit has a high morale now and we hope that with all the recognitions we have received, more students will be encouraged to join the corps.”

The AFP, through its Office of the Chief of Staff, awarded Xavier as the country’s “Top ROTC Unit of the Year” in 2013 and 2014.

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