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A Commitment to Educational/Technological Advancement Towards Nation Building

16 March 2013

Commencement Address of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos,Jr.
28th Commencement Exercises
Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology
City of Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat

Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology President, Mr. Federico S. Señeres, Sr.
Trustees, Officers and Administrators
Members of the Faculty
Beloved Parents,
Members of the Graduating Class of 2013

Magandang Hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Thank you very much for inviting me to this very important event of this great institution of learning, indeed a momentous event for all the graduates and their families.

In almost two months from now, we will witness once again our mid-year elections, which means that by June 30, we will return to the Senate and resume the hectic pace of our legislation work , this time for the 16th Congress of the Philipines where we shall welcome a new batch of twelve Senators, (either re-electionists or newly elected ones). That is why I welcome this rare but fresh opportunity to share my thoughts with you, your familes and school officials on this special day.

You may not know it but our family, especially my late father, had held the Señeres name in very high esteem, not only because of their active dynamism in the arena of public service, but more especially due to the family’s pioneering efforts in the field of education in Mindanao, as evidenced by the founding of this great academic institution, the Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology (SMIT) in the City of Tacurong , Province of Sultan Kudarat. But what impressed me even more when I was going over the pages of the history of your Institute of Technology was the fact that the S M I T, was established primarily to meet the pressing need to improve the quantity and quality of private education in the province of Sultan Kudarat, here in Mindanao, taking off from the experience gained by your Founders, and bringing to Mindanao the high standards of academic excellence.

Indeed your Province and City have been most fortunate to have benefited largely from the wisdom and vision of the Señeres family of bringing quality education to the youth and families of this region of our country, without having to dislocate and then relocate many of the school youth of this province who were in quest for an affordable quality education in their very own locale.

I therefore take my hats off to you, dear graduates for having afforded yourself the chance and for taking advantage of the opportunity right here in your province of Sultan Kudarat to help your beloved parents in acquiring the most important asset – the asset of knowledge and wisdom that a good education brings. And I salute your fathers and mothers for the guidance they have provided you and the encouragement they continue to give you to pursue the noble objective of acquiring the power of knowledge through this Institute, the education that has prepared you for your future careers and professions in the real world.
As each of you accept your diploma this afternoon please be most thankful for this great blessing that has been showered upon you. But more importantly, be always mindful of the fact that with this blessing and with this opportunity goes the responsibility that you carry as a concerned and a proactive member of your province, and most of all, as a citizen of our beloved country.

You have been so fortunate for this holistic formation that your school administrators and mentors have prepared for you so as to mold you to become men and women for others, not only in your local communities, but more especially as you take part in the challenging task of nation building for a better Philippines in the community of nations!

Allow me now to move on to my message for you all today, in relation to the theme you have adopted for today’s commencement exercises.

Today, as those who had graduated last year, you have been christened as “the Millennial Generation” or the Millennials, for short, referring to the generations of all those born between 1981 and 2000 and who are now at the frontiers of internationalization since you have become part of that educational and technological revolution!

The name , Mellennials is fitting and striking for several reasons:
• First, you – and your counterparts all over the world — are the last group of children born in the 20th century.
• Second, you are the first generation that has come of age in the new Millennium.
• Third, You are the first generation in human history who regard behavior like tweeting and texting, along with websites like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, not as astonishing innovations of the digital era, but as everyday parts of your social lives in your search for knowledge.
• More than any generation before you, your generation is more tech-savvy or technically literate. Technology has always been part of your lives, whether it’s computers and the Internet or cell phones and text pagers
• Millennials, it has been observed by sociologists, are good at multitasking. You have successfully juggled academics, sports and social interests throughout your schooling. So you can be counted on to work hard.
• According to one fellow of the Brookings Institute in the United States, it can be safely forecast that the Millennials will likely change the world.

By the same token, I believe also that your generation here in our country is destined to change our nation and its standing in the world, in this so-called Age of Globalization or Internationalization.

Let’s dwell on this thought a little bit because it lies at the heart of my message to you today.

Mirror Image of revolutionary generation I say that your generation is destined to change our country, and accomplish great and exciting things in the world stage for two reasons:

One : Your generation today is the mirror image of the generation at the turn of the 19th century that gave us Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini and so many other heroes and heroines who have led our people to nationhood.

Like you, Rizal and company were no more than young men and women when they heeded the call to service and heroism. Together they dared to dream of the day when the Philipines would be independent, a free nation recognized by all the world. Together, they laid the socio-economic and political foundations of our nation.

Like you also do now, during the last two decades of the 19th century they stood on the edge of a new era of great change and promise – which heralded tidal changes in world affairs, science, culture and technology.
Similarly, You, young graduates, are coming of age at a time of great change in our country and in the world at large. The internet revolution and globalization have brought forth great new challenges before our country and our people that can be converted to opportunities that would enhance our continued economic development.

Now is a time when the world’s center of gravity is shifting from Europe and America towards the Asia- Pacific. And we are part of this new center of gravity. No less than the World Bank and all the major financial institutions have declared that the Philippines today has a great window of opportunity to dramatically accelerate its pace of economic modernization and development, and lift millions of our people out of poverty within this decade.

If our national leaders can marshal the will and imagination to muster the great forces of change, we will see an unparalleled period of job creation and dynamic growth during this decade, all based on educational and technological advancement.

Individually for our people, especially for young people like you, this era offers the promise and the chance to fulfill your dreams.

This is a propitious time to focus your attention on the great cares of life – on the future you want to be yours, the life and career you want to have, the family you want to start, and the kind of person you want to be for your family your institution and your country as a participant in the community of nations.

The importance of knowledge

By successfully completing your studies, you have given yourselves a tremendous head start in this great adventure of life. When you leave this institution, you will take your place among the knowledge-workers of the world.

One-knowledge worker has described the new situation this way: “Wealth was once measured in gold. Now it’s measured in what we know.”

This means that you have to keep learning more of what’s happening in your field and what’s taking place in the world around you, the technological innovations that continue to take place at a very fast pace all around us!

If you will recall, Bill Gates developed Microsoft after working for nearly ten years at his computer. Mind you, ten years is not long if you are focused in pursuing technological advancement.

Let me therefore summarize this insight into success this way:

“Practice isnt’ the thing you do once you’re good.
It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

The Spirit of Giving

The next point that I would like to emphasize to you is the importance of incorporating in to your lives the spirit of giving, and of reaching beneficently into the lives of others.

Too many people shrink as they grow older or become more successful. They narrow their area of concern to just “me and mine.” This would be a huge mistake. Our interests should not become narrower and narrower, until at last the only interest left is self-interest.

I believe public service and citizenship as well as participation in the global network is meaningless without this sense of growing to touch and affect the lives of others, in its broadest sense.

One teacher has said that each of us has something precious to give and share with others. He wrote: “We have so much more to give than mere money, even if only a gracious gesture which we can give to all by way of saluting and respecting the basic dignity of every human bring.”

He concluded with this powerful and unforgettable Observation:

“None of us is so poor that we have nothing to give.
None of us is so rich that we are not in need of gifts.”

So, dear friends and graduates, inculcate in yourselves this spirit of giving.

You have to make a difference!

This leads me now to my conclusion:

All of us want reform and change for the better to happen in our country and in the international stage. Our forthcoming elections will once again give us the opportunity to let this happen.
You will ask and wonder: What can one person do to make our country and our world a better place? What can you really do that will make a difference?

The answer is simple – You can do a lot.

One writer has answered the question this way.

“In each of us, all the centuries coalesce. In each of us, all the future centuries have their beginnings.

“In the eyes of our Creator, we are not statistics. We are each the object of God’s care and compassion.

“We each have extraordinary capacities and all kinds of latent force. We each have the power to transform our lives. We can each make a decisive difference in the world.”

So, my dear friends and graduates, think about this in the coming days as you reflect on what you are going to do with your lives as you pursue in your future careers.

Believe that You Have the power to make a difference.

We all possess enormous potential, power and energy within ourselves. If we utilize that power, we can indeed effect decisive changes within ourselves. And together we can make our country and our world a better place. Through continued educational and technological advancement, we can ensure the more rapid pace of economic development in our country. You can all be active and dynamic participants in our common task of Nation-building.

As a final note, let me extend my sincerest congratulations once again for your successful graduation from this great institution of learning. And to the President, Trustees and officials of your,Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology in this beautiful Southern City of Tacurong, and to the parents of our fortunate graduates go our highest respects and deepest thanks for the gift of affordable but quality education that you have given to the most deserving of our children in the Province of Sultan Kudarat and the neighboring provinces that comprise the big island of Mindanao!

More power to you all and my sincerest words of success for each and everyone of you.

Maraming Salamat, Magandang hapon muli at mabuhay ang Pamilyang Señeres, ang lalawigan ng Sultan Kudarat at ang sambayanang Pilipino!