Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – 190 young men were officially declared as Candidate Soldiers (CS) at the 7th Infantry Kaugnay Division Grandstand during the Opening of the Candidate Soldiers Course 2019, today at 8:30 a.m.

The CS will be training for more than five months at the 7th Division Training School (DTS) in Fort Magsaysay under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dominic V Baluga.

During the course of the training, the civilian mindset and habits of the CS will be transformed into military ways and thinking, akin to being born again as stronger, more courageous, and more disciplined versions of themselves.

Major General Lenard T Agustin AFP, Commander, 7ID, in his speech during the ceremony, emphasized that out of the 1,341 applicants, 973 passed the intense physical fitness test (PFT). From that number, only 190 made it through the final round; making them part of the 19% chosen few to compose the class.

The “bukod tanging kabataang Pilipino,” as MGen Agustin dubbed the new batch of CS, went through the “Army Dozen” exercises which tested the limits of their endurance. Those who quit or fail to withstand the one-hour round of exercises under the intense heat of the sun will be taken out of the list and will lose the chance to become a soldier of the Philippine Army.

As MGen Agustin said, “From this day on, expect that there will be drastic changes in your life…you will undergo rigorous trainings, you will be away from your loved ones and the comfort you have been used to, your sleeping hours will be lessened, and your meal time will be numbered…You will be taught how to be a soldier with honor and integrity. Your training will not be easy and simple. You will need not just strength but an open mind and firm determination, as your commitment to stay to the course will be strongly challenged. But those who will survive will be soldiers capable of facing any battle. You will be soldiers with the highest degree of discipline, committed to serve, and ever loyal to the country and to the people.”