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46th Commencement Exercises of Our Lady of Fatima University

27 March 2012

Speech-Fatima-UniversityCommencement Address of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
46th Commencement Exercises of Our Lady of Fatima University
27 March 2012, PICC

To the Board of Trustees, headed by Dr. Guevara, President Enriquez and the rest of the administrators, faculty members, proud parents, and graduates of 2012, thank you for inviting me to share with you this very special occasion. I feel so honored being here to mark this tremendous event with you.

I am so pleased to be able to share with you this moment, a moment of such magic and joy as we celebrate the life of the mind and the continuing transformation of the spirit.

Before I move on, I would like to first laud all the people behind Our Lady of Fatima University for producing these 1,121 graduates in front of me. For years, your institution has remained committed to its mission of developing young minds through a legacy of excellent education and compassionate value formation. Indeed you have fulfilled your noble dictum “Improving Man as Man”.

My dear graduates, graduation is truly a wonderful thing. You are now done with difficult assignments. You have passed baffling exams. You have worked hard and also played hard. You have stumbled but managed to get up back. You surely had your share of failures growing up over the last four years. But now you are here celebrating the trials and challenges that college life has given you. You are way too close in receiving your diplomas. But I hope that your lives will be filled with many more, not just diplomas, but in the sense that you will have soaring accomplishments throughout your days. Accomplishments that cannot be measured by papers.

As I stand here today, I could not help but to be proud for the country. Proud in the sense that despite these challenging times—surging prices, climate change, rampant corruptions, unemployment, among others—we are able to produce well-rounded graduates who will soon lead this nation.

Education to Build the Nation
Education plays a very important role in nation building. Having more better educated people means greater chances for this country to rise higher. We now live in the so-called “knowledge society” where education has become a production factor that is more valuable than labor and capital. Hence, investment in education can take us further to being globally competitive.

Education also has the power of lifting us up to become a first world nation just like the US, France, UK, Norway, and others. But to help Philippines progress and be at par with successful countries, the graduates must use the education that they acquired in their own nation. However, this rarely happens.

Brain Drain
Most often, graduates in our country go to other shores to seek for employment and greener pasture. This ongoing mass emigration constitutes brain drain that poses serious economic implications. Study shows that last year, brain drain has worsened with the number of Filipino science and technology workers leaving the country to work abroad. The number increased by 148 percent from 1998 to 2009, according to Department of Science and Technology.

This exodus of professionals is indeed a grim scenario to our country, especially to our research and development sector, as we need more science and technology to provide the lifeline of our research and development agenda. Though it is laudable that our graduates seem to be sought after by employers from other countries, it is quite sad that we are losing them after we have honed them.

Dear graduates, I earnestly appeal to you. We need you here. Your country needs you. May you choose to give back to the nation that educated you. May you learn to inculcate in yourselves the spirit of serving your own country first above others.

As a legislator, I assure you that I will double my efforts to produce more bills and more ways to make you stay and use your talents here in your own country. In fact, I have one bill that proposes increase in salary grade of public school teachers from salary grade 11 to 15. This is my simple way of acknowledging the sacrifices of our teachers, as well as their contribution to the national development. That is just but one. I will create more bills like that so that Filipinos of different professions will no longer think of going abroad for employment.

We, your leaders, have tough jobs. And the reality is this: We need you help. This is a time in history that we need an educated and engaged citizenry.

You have already left your school campus and you are now ready to take all the possibilities to learn and grow. The next thing is some of you might go to different places and give in to opportunities that will come your way. But the thing is, your struggling country needs you to be here.

You see, this nation is yearning for you—starved for your authenticity, hungry for your service. I sincerely hope that you will choose to give back. You will be a better citizen in giving back. You will also be a happier person when you give back. And more importantly, your nation will be stronger when you give back.

On Finding Jobs
Every year, we produce multitudes of graduates who compete in landing a job. Finding a job is quite tough, let alone finding a good one. But you can make your edge when you know your capabilities and then apply for a job that suits your capabilities. Do not be fallen into the trap of thinking that the only point of working is to bring home money. Compensation is not the whole story in having a job. Find a job that gives you room to affect the lives of others. One that is meaningful and rewarding.

Also remember that there are no small jobs, just small people, so choose one that can make you feel successful in a career that you feel passionate about. The measure of a person is not in the job they do, but on how they do it. You always have the option to bring love to every job you do. All work has value when it is done with integrity and commitment.

Next year, some of you will head back to school to continue your education. But I am sure that many will start looking for jobs as early as tomorrow. But today, my advice to you is this: Keep learning because you just never know what life has in store for you next.

Good luck to all your endeavors. Muli, magandang umaga po at Mabuhay!