The following is the speech I delivered today at the awarding of the 2008 Muntinlupa Outstanding Students, at the RITM Auditorium. I first received the award as a graduating high school student in 1999. How time has flown! And it’s been quite a journey since then as well. Once again, I would like to thank the City Government for inviting me as guest of honor. I really, really am deeply humbled with your invitation. Congratulations again to the awardees!
Thank you very much, Councilor Bulay for your kind introduction.
Congressman Ruffy Biazon,
Mayor Aldrin San Pedro,
Vice Mayor Temy Simundac,Members of the City Council… esteemed employees and officials of our City Hall,
Officials of the DepEd city division headed by Dr. Fe L. Faz, school officials, teachers,
Fellow MOST Alumni and Muntinlupa Scholars, 2008 MOST Awardees, Parents, Students,Ladies and Gentlemen.
Isang mapagpalayang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Unang una po, nais ko ipaabot ang aking taos-pusong pasasalamat sa inyong pag-iimbita sa akin. Sa totoo lang po, ako po ay nagulat nang makuha ko po ang imbitasyon para sa hapong ito. But more than the pleasant surprise, ladies and gentlemen — I really am deeply honored and humbled with your recognition of the achievements I have been blessed with in the last decade. And I am even more humbled with your continued faith in yours truly as I had made the decision recently to shift from the very public field of broadcast journalism to the more private corporate sector. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for giving me the chance to make the city proud with my work. Ang paghahatid ko po ng Serbisyong Totoo bilang reporter sa halos limang taon ay akin pong iniaalay sa ating siyudad, na siyang lagi kong inspirasyon – at patuloy na inspirasyon sa aking papasuking bagong propesyon bilang Management Consultant.As I reflect on your invitation, I realize that more than myself – this invitation is a recognition of all Muntinlupa Students. It is a recognition of their potential and talents, and a true recognition by the city of the youth’s role here in our beloved city and our country.
And so, in behalf of the MOST Alumni and City Scholars, it is only fitting that we thank the City government for continuing the tradition of the annual MOST. Let us give Congressman Biazon, Mayor San Pedro and the City Council a warm round of applause for their continued support for Muntinlupa Students!
It has been nine years since I had received the distinction of being a Muntinlupa Outstanding Student. I was very excited back then. Aside from the award, I was entering college, which was for me, entering the “real world”. Truly, it has been an exciting journey since then. I joined EDSA 2 as a student. I became one of the youngest reporters ever to enter GMA News and Public Affairs. As a journalist, I had a front-row seat to at least three coup attempts to change the government, three impeachment attempts, and many controversies. I had also reported on different calamities – natural and man-made, etc.
You awardees, will be entering the real world soon. Soon, you will be adults with serious responsibilities. Your actions will have greater consequences. And you will be responsible not only to your families or schools, but more to this city and country.I pray that you all will take advantage of the many things inside and outside the halls of the university. As your horizons broaden, you will learn more about the world, and your country. Most importantly, you will know yourselves more, and shape your principles and convictions.
As you may have already realized, you will be adults in very challenging times, and will be forming your character in this trying environment. We live in a period of political uncertainty, an environment defined much by corruption and self-interest in the different levels of government, widespread poverty, and the escalating exodus of our Filipino workers for greener pastures abroad.
When I think of these things, I am reminded of a Chinese proverb, which is actually a said as a curse. It goes: may you live in interesting times.
Considering the events now, well, maybe we’re cursed, for we certainly all live in interesting times. But as part of the youth myself, I do not feel cursed, nor do I lose any hope. On the contrary, I would like to think that I am challenged and inspired.
And I hope you awardees are as challenged and inspired as I am, for the problems of the country only tell us that there is much work to be done, and that we can do something to bring about positive change.In times like this, we the youth are once again called to take action, and to take the lead in helping shape and change our society. After all, it is we who will inherit this country.
As it has been repeatedly said – the youth are the hope of this nation, and I believe we still are. To act and to act now — is the least we could do for our forefathers, who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take note that many of these great forefathers – the likes of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio — were members of the youth when they dedicated their lives to the service of the country.
Having been a first-hand witness to so many of our country’s problems, I am inspired to know that it is still heroism from the youth that is needed once again as a cure for these trying times. The youth’s idealism, love for truth, justice, freedom, and nationalism are the very traits we so desperately need today – as the alternative to greed, indifference, and corruption.
But in this day and age, we certainly do not need to be die as heroes. What we need now are young heroes who will live for this country, and make it proud. You awardees, by finishing high school and finishing it with excellence, have actually made the first steps in becoming true heroes. Education is half the battle in solving poverty and many of our country’s problems. Now, it is your choice, as to whether you will continue the journey on the path to heroism.
And so, this afternoon, I challenge our Ten Muntinlupa Outstanding Students. The challenge is to be continuous role-models for the rest of the city, and to be shining examples of personal and academic excellence, and integrity. The challenge for you and all students of this city is to put Muntinlupa on the map, and with the support of the city, show the world that Muntinlupa produces World Class students, workers, and citizens.
To be role models means doing your best as students, and realizing your full potential. It means thinking of ways to actively serve our city through your skills and talents. It means being a good citizen in the fullest sense of the word, keeping nation-building in mind and heart.
Being a good citizen means using your freedoms well. To be guided only by what is right and what is true, and not just going with the flow as many people now are pressured to do. To choose what is right over what is just popular or “in”. To do our share, no matter how small or big.The challenge also, as this year’s theme appropriately suggests – is for the youth to unite under the banner of unity. To unite for the betterment of the city and the country, and to set the example of putting the country first ahead of all self-interest.
Remember, we are all called to do our share, regardless of profession. It is also important for us awardees to take into heart — to whom much is given, much is expected from. The choice is yours – ours — whether to act and be responsible for our country — or just to watch in the sidelines and passively let things happen, when in fact, we know we could do something.
The choice is ours whether we will content ourselves with cursing the darkness or choosing to standing up, and lighting a candle.
In a nutshell, what is being expected from all of you awardees and what is continually expected from the young – and the young at heart – is summed up in the city seal. Ang panawagan po sa ating lahat ay ang pag-aalay ng lakas, talino, at buhay para sa ating bayan.
With faith, I am confident that you will all do what is best for the country. This city and this country are counting on all of you as one united force. And I know that you can do it, for you are all equipped with the knowledge, wisdom, skill, and nationalism to do so.
Maraming Salamat po. Congratulations to the awardees, at mabuhay po tayong lahat.