FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – “If only her father lived to see the day she graduates from the Philippine Military Academy, then he would have been proud.” Many people, especially those who know of Technical Sergeant Claudio Forrosuelo, may share this sentiment.
Last March 16, at the Borromeo Field in Fort Gregorio del Pilar, Baguio City, Cadet First Class, now 2Lt Precious Jewel Forrosuelo, the daughter of TSgt Forrosuelo who is a Medal of Valor awardee, fulfilled her dream and graduated number 18 out of the 222 members of PMA “Siklab-Diwa” Class of 2014.
2Lt Forrosuelo, 21 years old, is among the 119 cadets, and one of the nine females, who joined the Philippine Army.
Inspired by his father’s heroism
She is neither a General’s daughter nor a child of a farmer, but hers is one interesting and inspiring story – she is the first Medal of Valor awardee child who graduated from the PMA.
Her father died fighting MILF rebels in Matanog, Maguindanao in the year 2000 during the all-out war against the MILF. She was 8 years old then.
She learned about her father’s death in the news, his name being flashed on the screen as one of those killed in the campaign against the MILF. A child at a tender age of 8, and the youngest of two children, she could not yet comprehend what was happening back then. She felt the impact of her father’s death in the years that came by.
The Medal of Valor Award, the highest award given to the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was posthumously awarded to TSgt Claudio Forrosuelo in 2000.
He was a member of the 8th Scout Ranger Company, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, First Scout Ranger Regiment who led his team on a daring tactical assault against 500 MILF rebels in Matanog, Maguindanao on May 3, 2000. Despite being outnumbered and without reinforcement, they were able to gain ground and prevented the MILF from enveloping the troops, allowing his team to escape the kill zone. He, however, was killed by the overwhelming enemy fire.
For the young Precious Jewel, entering the military service was not in the list of her wants and dreams. It was only upon her graduation from high school that she entertained such an idea and decided to enroll at the most prestigious leadership school in the country, the PMA.
Life in the Academy was not easy for her. She had to endure the grueling physical activities and the equally demanding academics. For someone who never thought of becoming a soldier, Precious Jewel now has a clear vision of what she wanted to be, and every day at the Academy, she works hard to achieve that dream.
“Expectations were high and the pressure is even greater because they think of me as someone as strong and brave as my father,” said 2Lt Forrosuelo.
When faced with difficult circumstances and feeling demoralized, she drew strength and inspiration from his father.
“The thought of my father’s sacrifice not only for our family, but for the whole nation uplift me and provided me the motivation to carry on,” she added.
Continuing the Legacy
2Lt Forrosuelo said that, “People usually ask me why of all the privileges and ensured life brought about by my father’s achievement, I still chose to join the profession of arms that also caused my father’s death.”
She said that she has so much respect for the soldiers who have the dedication to serve.
“I slowly realized why my father preferred to stay in the service and even sacrificed his own life. It is because we have this certain pride among ourselves that this profession is the best way of demonstrating our love for our country which should be every Filipino’s duty,” she added.
2Lt Forrosuelo further added that it would not be easy to continue the legacy of her father’s heroism.
“The courage in combat exemplified by my father can be the same courage which can be manifested through moral integrity and by standing firm on upright principles. This is a challenge not only for me, but for all members of the Siklab-Diwa class, to prove what we have learned in the Academy for four years and that we are molded to be leaders and servants of our nation,” concluded 2Lt Forrosuelo.