Posted on 2004


It is indeed an honor to be among one’s peers. There are faces that I haven’t seen since I graduated and there are brothers and sisters that I have come to know and work with beyond the walls of the university. It is wonderful to see everyone here tonight.

Take a walk back in time with me. Remember the halcyon days of our youth that we spent in the loving bosom of our alma mater. Studying in UP was hardly a walk in the park. Our professors constantly challenged us to aspire for perfection, or as near to perfection as we could manage. Our classmates proved to be both boon and bane to our existence. But without them the years we spent in UP would not have been the same. Yet aside from the people who’ve made our years as a student unforgettable, the one thing that we will forever take with us wherever we go is the type of education that the university has given us. And as an iskolar ng bayan, we are duty-bound to give back to the country what the institution has generously given to us: education for all.

I believe it is only fitting that tonight’s theme involves the two most pressing concerns in our country today. Population and education belong to the same family. And if both were left unattended, they would both let poverty in the home, which maybe a distant relative but a relative nonetheless. Although one is complete unto itself, they still affect each other.

The country’s population grows steadily every year. If we do not do something about our country’s educational system, the Philippines will become a country of fools and if that day comes it would be the saddest in our country’s history.

It is time we waged war against ignorance because ignorance takes lives. And although we will not be its casualties, it will take our children hostage. And although we do not die by it sure aim, our country and her future will eventually succumb to its siren call. But the fight is not yet over; in fact it has hardly even begun.

Let us dig the trenches now by prioritizing programs that genuinely develop the educational system of the country. Let us arm ourselves with up-to-date information culled from the studies of our colleagues who are experts in the field of population management. Let us win the war by putting to good use our resources and improving projects that uplift the teacher’s way of living.

And as alumni of the University of the Philippines it is only proper that we be the front liners. It is our moral duty, not only to the country but also to the university.

Although we have often boasted of being the third largest English-speaking country in the world, we should also know that this is not enough. Being educated is so much more than knowing how to string together words to make intelligible conversation or being able to follow the story of a movie. I am not discounting its importance in education, but we should not ignore the fact that a good education develops all the intelligences of the student. A well-rounded curriculum is the only structure of education that our children deserve and the only kind of education we should give them. Education is a human right. It is also the wheel that will help our country move forward. It should not be the privilege of a few, unless we have no love left for our country and for our children and we allow it to be so.

Knowledge is a tool that revolutionizes nations and changes destinies. A good education is the first step towards this objective.

Education is an invaluable gift that our children should not be deprived of. It is through education that individuals realize their self-worth and the value of their fellowmen.

Education opens minds and frees spirits. It lets us see beyond the prejudices of ignorance and misinformation. It redefines old traditions that hold the country back from its shining future.

Our choices have taken us on different paths but we still have one thing in common: a good education. And it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that we have had the best education. Then let this be our challenge: to uplift the status of education in our country and to give the population a bright and shining future. Make your alma mater proud by continuing her legacy of quality education for all.

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