Speech of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.
Centro Escolar University Annual Celebration of History Week
Mendiola, Manila; Social Sciences Society
September 13-21, 2010
Theme: “Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas; Tanglaw ng Ating Kinabukasan”
Thank you for the great introduction…. It’s an honor and a pleasure to take part in this annual celebration of history week.
President Barrack Obama has said that his greatest fear for his country is not really the terrorists. He is more afraid that the United States is sending “young Americans into a 21st century economy through the doors of 20th century schools”. Because then his country would be overtaken and even left behind.
Here in your institution of learning, it is comforting to know that I stand face to face with a 21st century school, and it is Filipino!
Youth leadership is a historic tradition of our people and our country.
Our nation was born of the vision and struggles of very young men and women. Beginning with Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, Mabini, and others, the heroes of our awakening to independence were only in their 20’s, sometimes no more than teenagers.
Similarly, in World War II, it was young men and women -like my own father, the late Ferdinand Marcos - who took the challenge and the burden of fighting the Japanese invaders.
The subject of youth leadership is very timely because we are a young country—young not in the sense of young historically; but young in the terms of population.
About one-third of our 94 million people constitute the youth of our country today. This is a very large constituency. It is only fitting that you should have a voice in shaping the future of our nation.
The creation of the national youth commission by an act of congress, which I co-authored, is only one step in this direction, the bigger steps are for you—the youth—to take on the challenge and the burdens of leadership.
When I look at our young people, I see young men and women who don’t care much about the fevered headlines in the newspapers and television today. They are turned on rather by the new things that are happening in the different aspects of modern life -- in the arts, in the entertainment, in sports, in business and technology, and in lifestyles, they yearn to create something of their own --and to contribute to the sum of good in their society.
The older generations are inclined to say that “something cannot be done” -- like taking our country to the front ranks of nations, or ending corruption.
Contrary to this mindset, young people would readily say, “yes, we can!” -- A positive outlook anchored on the age of change we live in which was once thought was impossible has come to pass.
I believe it comes from the acquisition of education and learning. In our country, it is education that allows our children to hope for something in our lives.
In this new century, the biggest challenge to government is how to realize this hope and face the challenges affecting the global economy.
This is why I advocate for the improvement of basic education in our country, including adding more years to better prepare our youth.
We are all called to this work of change and transformation in order to make our country a more conducive place to live and work in.
This is why you are in school trying to fully develop your god-given talents. This is also is why I am in politics today, in the senate, serving our people and our country -- so that, as my father had stated before, “This nation can be great again!”
Last August 23, 2010, we watched in horror as a former policeman shot and killed a busload of Chinese tourists.
Many were outraged and shamed not just by the killing but by the lapses and inaction. On the same day, a few hundred miles away in Roxas City, Capiz, a man held eight (8) boys hostage in an internet café.
The incident ended peacefully when the hostage taker’s policewoman-sister successfully negotiated his peaceful surrender. This story missed the headlines and was found tucked away inside the following Saturday’s issue of a famous broadsheet.
We are told that history repeats itself. But it tends to do that when we forget to learn the lessons we needed to. This is why history is not just a set of memorized dates or non-working holidays. History is important because we are part of it.
When we think of heroes, many of us think of those that have given their lives for our country like Jose Rizal. But there are many more accomplished Filipinos all over the world who live each day in quiet excellence from Hollywood’s Pixar studios to the shipping lines plowing our oceans.
I invite you to read about them, to go beyond the textbooks and everyday news feeds and find out the truth for yourselves. Be curious, be inquisitive.
Empower yourselves with knowledge of our history because it is in knowing our past that we gain wisdom.
As a senator, my primary role is to craft laws for the betterment of our people. I am committed to do this, to put the interests of our nation ahead of mine. I am willing to listen to you and give you a voice in shaping your future so that someday you will be able live your dreams.
I have learned that while it takes great courage to die for one’s country, it takes a lot more courage to choose to live.
Filipinos are great people -- strong, resilient and passionate.
I challenge you today to be that people - good citizens working hard and consistently being the best in whatever you do because your choices and actions define this country’s future.
Always remember that “Ang di marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay di makararating sa paroroonan.”
Maraming salamat po at mabuhay po kayong lahat!!!