MAN: GREATEST OF ALL RESOURCES*
*Commencement Speech of Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, president of Northwestern Visayan Colleges, Kalibo, Aklan delivered on the occasion, the 14th Commencement Exercises Of The Aklan State University, main campus, Banga, Aklan on March 31, 2015.
The Members of the Board of Regents; the Administration headed by President Danilo Abayon, Vice President for Academics Dr. Ana Mae Relingo, and Vice President for Administration Dr. Steven Fuentes; the University Academic Council, the Faculty and Staff;
The Alumni represented by your President, Mr. Rey Villaruel; the members of the graduating class of 2015, students, parents, other guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you Aklan State University (ASU) for these double honors of being your commencement speaker and being bestowed upon me the title Doctor of Humanities, (Honoris Causa). Actually four honors, if I include being your guest of honor yesterday on the occasion of your 14th Anniversary and your substitute coronation speaker at Ibajay campus.
I receive these honors with sincere humility and gratitude to the ASU academic community, the Board of Regents and the Commission on Higher Education for their efforts in recognizing my life’s mission to contribute in making the world a better place than when I received it and to make a difference not so much by doing extraordinary things but by doing ordinary things in an extra ordinary manner. Think Globally, Act Locally.
I receive this in trust for very special people, our youths, young generations and the marginalized sectors who constantly remain the focus and reference of my Philosophy, Advocacy and Action. These advocacies are in various fields such as good governance, and the importance of good leaders, quality education, protection of the environment, responsible stewardships, abiding faith in the beauty and richness of our country and the sense of pride to our glorious past, the nobility of our early ancestors, who lived our lands in abundance, tranquility, peaceful co-existence and well ordered social norms and relationships. These are some of my life’s mission and by these honors, a confirmation that service to humanity is the best work of life and that life is to be lived instead of being wasted.
Now, we are facing our life’s greatest challenges. First, on a personal level, we are faced with daily choices on how to achieve quality life.
When I authored RA 9085 creating the ASU, some congressmen setting in the education committee asked me why I had to create competition as my family owns a private college. My answer was, I am the representative of my people first.
My advocacies include poverty alleviation, access to quality education, and the right to happiness and harmony. Programs include discovering our noble past, learning from our indigenous people, and changing our mindset to take responsibility for our actions.
Second, on a national level, we now face the challenge of ASEAN Integration and the need to be globally competitive. My advocacies include building the faith that the Philippines is our only country, very rich, beautiful, and inhabited by majority of people who are in many respects and given the equal opportunities are better, socially responsible and good persons.
When I thought of planting the first mangrove, there were strong opposition, even threats. Our first shed was burnt and DENR employee threatened with a bolo. We persevered and we triumphed. Programs include maximizing our comparative and competitive advantage, like our country’s tourism, coastal resources, a big literate and young population which give us advantage in manpower force.
One example of comparative advantage is our coastal resources. The Philippines is the 5th country in the world with the longest coastline. Imagine if we can maximize its resources, like the nipa plant which gives the highest bio ethanol content or even just the talisay tree which people call the sea almond or simply as a defense against tsunamis and typhoon surge.
Thirdly, on the Global Level, we now face the challenge of climate reality and climate change. What used to be a theory is now a proven scientific fact that climate change has made Mother Earth less livable place, threatening her very existence. My advocacies include massive information dissimination and awareness activity, programs include massive and rapid reforestation, restoring mangroves and beach forest, shifting to renewable energy, prohibiting population in any form, and sanctioning countries which pollute our world.
What ASUs can do is continue to be the Academic Leader: in extension, instruction, research, and production. Since I pledge to receive these honors in trust for our youth, today, being your graduation day, allow me to pose my question for clarity sake. How many of you plan to leave our country, work abroad and earn to be rich? I guess for all practical reasons many would like to do that, after all many thinks there is very limited opportunity here. However, consider this. Be weary not to make this plan your mission in life. It is selfish, unpatriotic and a breach of contract. Selfish because you forgot all the values that are true and good. Unpatriotic because you with your talents and knowledge increase the productivity and wealth of other countries, more than your share in the value of the good you make. And unfair because you were educated at the expense of the Filipino people. You are all Scholar ng Bayan and your tuition were shouldered by your people. Now, equipped with better capacities they expect you to use these to pay forward to improve our country. If you have to go, go but use this to learn some more and come back to better serve your people as good models. Believe me you will find meaning and purpose to your lives.
To ASU you are the repository of the greatest of all resources, the human resources. From your graduates and Alumni – make a thousand flowers bloom – in the values and lives of your graduates.
While I can never repay you in material wealth, I will remain your faithful advocate, always believing in your sacred role as the great equalizer of our people’s socio economic condition. Remember, I will be with you.
Thank you and good speed. /MP