Press Release
December 10, 2012

The Essence of Humanity: Loving and Caring for One Another

December 10, 2012

Executive Vice President Dr. Edith Chan, Vice Presidents, Dean Ederson Tapia of the College of Policy and Good Governance, and other officials of the University of Makati, Distinguished Guests, Dear Students, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

Let me begin by congratulating the winning team for this year's Essay Writing and Nativity-han competition here at the University of Makati. Knowing how the judging was done, I know that the winners deserve their respective victories.

Kaya, let's give a big round of applause again first to the winners of the Essay Writing Contest who my friend and colleague at the Senate, Senator Bongbong Marcos had kindly awarded prizes to, and, second, to the winners of the Nativitihan who our friend and colleague, Representative Cynthia Villar from the House of Representatives, had generously granted prizes.

Salamat sa ating magigiting na mga mambabatas at sa ating mga nananalo at sumali sa mga contests sa pagkat talaging magaling kayong lahat.

Let me also thank your visionary and passionate University president, Prof. Tomas Lopez, for the University of Makati's unstinted support of the Essay-Writing and the Nativitihan projects of the Pimentel Institute for Local Governance and the Pimentel Center.

If the University blocked the project or did not allow the project to be launched year ago with the cooperation of the various departments of UMak, we would not have our awarding rites today.

Typically, during this season I get invitations to attend Christmas parties, fairs, bazaar, fireworks display and the like. And I understand that. That is part of our work as your elected legislators to be with you in our celebration of the Christmas season.

But your Nativitihan competition especially appears to be more meaningful because it allows us to reflect on the meaning of the nativity, while having fun of course.

In the midst of the carnival-like consumerism that tends to overwhelm the reason for our celebrating the season in some parts of the globe and in our country as well, I am most happy and proud to be a part of this important occasion.

We all know what the nativity is--it refers the birth of Jesus Christ. It celebrates the "good news" of the Savior's Birth.

I thank the Good Lord that in this our beloved country, in general we have not lost the real meaning of Christmas. Which in my belief we cannot celebrate without Christ being at the focal point of that celebration.

I read in the Center's newsletter, 'Paglaum' issue of November of this year, that in a town in Ireland, and in the UK, some individuals there want to change the season we call Christmas into "Winterval" and the Christmas Tree into a "Holiday Tree". In Sta. Monica, California, a council resolution has banned the displays of the Nativity in government-owned property.

Salamat na lang at di nangyari ang mga ito ditto sa bansa po natin. Otherwise, why should we celebrate Christmas, at all? as the Paglaum, the Center's newsletter asks, if we remove Christ from the season.

Years back, when I was still a teenager, I remember that the unveiling of the belen at the COD building in Cubao was the major event of Christmas at least in Quezon City in not in the entire Metro-Manila area.

Dinudumug ito ng maraming tao. I mention this to you because it shows how powerful the message of Christmas was even when it was propagated by a business establishment.

Times have changed, I guess, but happily not the meaning of the season.

Because the Christ was born, it is His message of love of God and of one another that gives most of our people hope in the face of so much corruption in government, and the grinding poverty of the masses of our people, and the massive loss of lives and destruction of properties occasioned by calamities that visit our country regularly.

Still, the responses we have received from our people - especially from the youth - in our fight against corruption, in our Kontra Pandaraya Movement, in our Summit Forums to prepare our people against man-made and natural disasters, brought about by the likes of Ondoy, Sendong and Pablo give us hope, much hope, that if we do things together and help one another we can cleanse this government of financial and electoral corruption, and reduce the pain and sufferings of our people arising from natural calamities too.

My hopes for a better tomorrow are buoyed up by the heroic courage and selfless helping hands that countless individuals in and out of government extended to the victims of the recent super-typhoon Pablo.

Who can forget the sight of that little girl, Aimee, who was being succored by her rescuers after she was saved from the rampaging mud waters in New Bataan at Compostela Valley? That she died somedays later is a tragedy, indeed.

Still, the kindness, the love and care that she received from strangers - fellow Filipinos - cannot but warm up the hearts of others who also care for their fellow human beings in distress.

It may be unfortunate, but it is mostly in times of troubles that our humanity emerges. As they say, it when the sky is at its darkest that we can see the stars at their brightest.

And so with love and happiness and hopes for a better tomorrow, we again congratulate all of you for making this occasion worth celebrating at all!

Maligayang Pasko po sa Inyong Lahat!

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