PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte congratulated the 144 cadets of Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Masidlak Class of 2017 who graduated Friday and encouraged them to remain gallant as they face new endeavors. "I join your loved ones as you celebrate this significant milestone. This day marks the end of your trials within the academy. From this day forward, you shall face another set of challenges and opportunities. I hope that you will take to heart the principles of the Philippine National Police Academy that has been imparted to you," the President said at the graduation ceremony held at Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite. Ninety-eight members of the graduating class will join the Philippine National Police, 15 will join the Bureau of Fire Protection, and 31 will be part the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. The Chief Executive called on the graduates to be mentally and physically prepared as they join the government in eradicating crime and corruption. He also reminded them that losses and triumphs are “inevitable” as they launch their ongoing battle against the country’s problems. He then told them to "always look back what drove you to become part of the police force" when they feel disheartened. "For the Masidlak Class of 2017, the arduous task of keeping our nation safe is just beginning. Never be discouraged, no matter how formidable the odds may be stacked against you," Duterte said. "Remain strong in your heart and mind as you take in this great fight, because to see our country prosperous and our people safe and thriving will have sometimes entails your sacrifice," he added. Duterte guaranteed that the Masidlak Class has the vigorous backing of his administration as they continue their quest for "safer Philippines." He also maintained that he would defend and protect them, as long as they "fight for the country [and] do it right". "You will find that the most daunting situations will bring out the best of the people. The government will be with you as you fight in the frontlines for that dream of a better tomorrow and safer Philippines," the President said.