Commencement Address of
Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
67th Commencement Exercises
Western Mindanao State University
25 March 2012
Members of the Faculty,
Members of the Class of 2012
Thank you for inviting me to share this day of celebration with all of you. And Thank you also for giving me this welcome respite from the hectic pace and heat in our national capital, and the opportunity to experience once again the magnificent beauty and hospitality of Zamboanga City.
I also feel some personal affinity with this university, because I am told that my late father, Ferdinand Marcos, was instrumental in the creation of Western Mindanao State University. On June 10, 1978, he signed the historic presidential decree that transformed the former Normal college into a full-fledged state university.
Today, you are now a veritable beehive of learning here in Western Mindanao, with a campus of 22,000 students and 12 colleges and three institutes and over a thousand teaching and administrative staff. By any standard of measure in the world, these are the attributes and distinctions of a major institution of learning.
Today it’s now your turn on the national and global stage. As the successor generation to Gen X, you were initially dubbed Generation Y, which comprises all those born between 1981 and year 2000.
But more aptly, you have been christened as “the Millennial Generation” or the Millennials for short.
The name 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 is coming 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 their social lives and their 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 Institution 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.
Let’s chew on this thought a little bit because it lies at the heart of my message to you today.
Mirror Image of revolutionary generation
It is my belief that your generation is destined to change our country, and accomplish great and exciting things for two reasons:
Your generation today is the mirror image of the generation at the turn of the 19th century that gave us Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifafcio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini and so many other heroes and heroines and lead our people to nationhood.
Like you, Rizal and company were no more than young men and women when they heard the call to service and heroism. Together they dared to dream of the day when the Philippines would be independent, a free nation recognized by all the world. Together, they laid the foundations of our nation.
Like you do now, during the last two decades of he 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. The internet revolution and globalization have brought forth great new opportunities and challenges before our country and our people.
This 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.
One feature of this window is that foreign investors, as well as our business leaders are now fully convinced that we are going to be the next great Asian miracle – following the great leap forward of China, India and Indonesia. If our national leaders can marshal the will and imagination to master the great forces of change, we will see an unparalleled period of job creation and dynamic growth during this decade .
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 and your country.
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 university, 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 about what is happening in your field and what’s taking place in the world around you.
It has been said that to be good at what we do, every human being has to put in at the minimum of 10,000 hours of practice in his occupation or job.
It has been shown that people in different kinds of jobs and walks of life have reached high levels of excellence through practice. And 10,000 hours of practice is the minimum. Calculated in years, it comes down to ten years.
Bill Gates developed Microsoft after working for nearly ten years at his computer. The Beatles similarly honed their music in the same way. Manny Pacquiao did not become the greatest fighter in th world today without putting in thousands of hours in training and boxing.
Let me put 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 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 can narrow their area of concern to just “me and mine.” This would be a huge mistake. Our interests should not grow narrower and narrower, until at last the only interest left is self-interest.
I believe public service and citizenship is meaningless without this sense of growing to touch and affect the lives of others.
One teacher has said that all of us have 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
“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.
The Importance of Ethics and Values
Finally, allow me to impart to you a few words about ethics and values.
We live in a society where we talk a lot about morality and about eradicating corruption. And yet in the same breath, we are also a society where values and ethics have been abandoned or thrown out of the window. Every institution in our society has been scarred. From government to the military, to business, corruption is rampant.
We have sunk into a culture of cynicism because people justify their behavior claiming that “Everybody is doing it..”
Sadly, this cynicism and stigma of corruption have stalked and shadowed the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. From first to last, irregularities have attended this drama.
I hope this will not make you despair about your government and public service. But I have this fond hope and belief, that after this huge and costly ordeal, our government and public officials will be renewed in purpose and dedication. We will all come to realize – officials and citizens alike – that our constitutional government and rule of law are really worth fighting for.
We will all return in God’s good to the affirmation of values in our lives and in our work. We will all realize that No matter how many people steal, stealing remains wrong. No matter how many people are corrupt, corruption remains wrong. We will realize that adopting simplistic will not get us anywhere, it only diverts our attention from the millions of the poor among our people.
There is nothing sensational about honesty or loyalty or fidelity because, if the truth be told, they are really what most people believe in and practice.
For after all, let us believe and never forget that Filipinos are good and law-abiding at heart. We are civic-spirited and we care.
Make a Difference:
Let me now summarize and conclude.
All of us want reform and change for the better to happen in our country.
You will ask and wonder: What can one person do to make our country a better place? What can you really do that will make a difference.
One writer religious 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 graduates, think about this in the coming days as you reflect on what you are going to do with your lives and in your 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 makes our country a better place.
Congratulations once again for your successful graduation from this great institution of learning.
And More power and success to each and everyone of you.
Thank you, good morning and mabuhay kayong lahat!