Press Release
April 8, 2013

Speech of Senator Aquilino Martin Pimentel III
University of Perpetual Help 34th Commencement Exercises
UPH Las Pinas Campus
April 8, 2013

President Anthony M. Tamayo, Board of Directors, administrators, faculty, and staff; proud parents, family, friends; and most importantly, the 2013 Graduating Class of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta:

First and foremost, good afternoon to all of you - and congratulations on this joyous and momentous occasion! The theme of our celebration today is "The Perpetualite: A Trail of Excellence for Tomorrow's Leaders."

There is no question in my mind that all of your 34 commencement exercises, including this one, in this exemplary institution have turned out graduates who are, or will be the leaders of our country in various fields of endeavor.

I am certain that under the dedicated and selfless leadership of President Tamayo, and with the wholehearted support of the faculty, and the non-academic staff, as well as the unceasing cooperation of the Alumni and the love and care of the Parents for their children who are enrolled in this institution of learning, you are all contributing towards making the mandate of our Constitution for the State to develop the "physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being" of the youth a reality.

Without schools like the UPH opening its portals to our children in Las Pinas, and elsewhere in the country, our Republic will be hard put to fulfill the mandate placed upon its shoulders to "inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in the public and civic affairs of the nation".

I think it is important for our people to realize that constructing school buildings; providing adequate campuses; acquiring facilities for the students, and above all, ensuring that the students are guided by good teachers just cannot be done by the State alone.

The costs will simply be too much to bear considering the multifarious vital needs of our people which equally need the immediate attention of our government, as for instance, in the fields of housing, food, medical care, job creation, infrastructure, and law and order.

Kaya, salamat at may mga tao tulad nila President Tamayo at ang kanyang mga kasama na nagtia-tiaga sa pagsulong ng dunong para sa kaunlaran ng ating bayan. Palakpakan natin sila.

At dahil tayo'y nagpapasalamat na rin, ituloy-tuloy na natin.

Let us give thanks to those who made this day possible.

Your parents have invested a lot in you. They have shed blood, sweat, and tears for this day to come. They have waited for so long for this day to come. This day is their achievement. Their happiness exceeds yours. Please look at your parents and thank them for their love, support, generosity, and sacrifices.

Let us do the same to your professors and university officials. Let us all applaud and thank them. For these are the people on whose shoulders your generation stands. By allowing you to stand on their shoulders, they have enabled you to look beyond the limits of the horizon seen by them in their lifetimes. You my dear graduates have the potential to learn more in your lifetime than your professors.

Let us thank Almighty God too, for nothing happens in this world without His blessing. Your entire university experience, from the day you initially enrolled during your first year up to this day when you will be receiving your diploma, has been a blessing from the Almighty Father who loves all of us.

At this point, may I remind our graduates to stay true to your alma mater's guiding principle and philosophy, and live a life that embodies what this school values most: "Character Building is Nation Building." The University of Perpetual Help System Dalta believes that national development and transformation are predicated upon the quality of education of people. Towards this end, the University has inculcated Christian values in its students, as a way of strengthening the moral fiber of the Filipino - a people who are "Helpers of God," proud of their race and prepared for exemplary global participation in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business.

Knowing my own background and those of my parents, I am thoroughly convinced that the education like the one you are getting from this University is the key to upward mobility.

Without education, we will have great difficulty getting the masses of our people out of the mire of poverty. Education is indeed the great equalizer, that is why I believe that education is a right not merely a privilege.

I believe that you - our youth -are the future of the nation.

In my artificially short time in the Senate of only one year and seven months as of this moment, I have worked tirelessly to champion the cause of the youth.

One of the "causes of the youth" is education. As an "Iskolar ng Bayan" myself, I am a great believer in scholarships, not only for the brightest students, but scholarships for all deserving youth! If a young person seriously wants to learn and be educated and is willing to undergo sacrifices for his or her education, then that young person deserves a scholarship.

Bakit ko pala na sabi na ako'y isa rin "Iskolarng Bayan"? Akopo ay nakapag-aral sa kolehiyo sa Ateneo de Manila University sa kursong Mathematics bilang iskolar ng NSDB, the National Science Development Board. Pagkatapos po nito, ako ay nagtuloy sapag-aaral ng abogasiya sa University of the Philippines, the premier State University.

Kaya ang dalawang college degrees kopo ay utang ko sa taong bayan. Ngayon na ang iskolar ay senador na, ako naman po ang magbabayad ng aking utang na loob sa taong bayan. As a Senator, I have made available scholarship programs for our youth of today so that, who knows, our scholars of today might become our senators of tomorrow, and one of them may even become the President of the Republic of the Philippines someday.

Ang importante ay ang pagbibigay ng "pagkakataon" sa ating mga kabataan!

The obligation of the State is to give our young people the opportunities for them to develop their talents and skills and so that they can find for themselves the role that they want to play in the development of our society and our country. Hence, my battle cry is: let there be scholarships for all!

This is my personal contribution to this concept of "inclusive growth".

And therefore, I assure all of you that with your support, I will continue to work in the Senate to champion the cause of the youth. I know that our graduates face a tough road ahead as they navigate through life outside of university. Still, there is much hope for a better tomorrow for all our people. For despite the problems that beset our country, the times look good for our people.

We are living in exciting times. We have an honest President who is living out his tuwid na daan governmental philosophy. See what this has done for our country.

Last year, our GDP growth rate hit 6.6 percent, surpassing the official 5 to 6 percent target, and making the Philippines Asia's second best performing economy last year, next only to China. For 2013, the target has been raised to 6 to 7 percent growth rate.

Recently, for the first time in our country's history, we have received investment grade status from an international rating agency.

There is no doubt therefore that under President Aquino's tuwid na daan, our economy is growing, some people's lives are improving, and our country's progressing. What is important is to include all Filipinos in the progress and improvement in the quality of life. In short, let all the boats rise together with the rising tide. Include all in the growth!

As your voice in the Senate, I will always be pushing for "inclusive growth", where opportunities are readily available to all the people, not only to the already wealthy and well-connected citizens.

For our new graduates, we aim to define policies that will protect your welfare and increase your chances of employment here in the country so that you would not need to go abroad to find fulfillment in your life.

Incidentally, the struggle for a better life for our people does not only lie in the hands of politicians or of the emancipated adults, alone.

You, the youth of the land, have a vital role in that aspiration. To that end, you must exercise your civic duty as citizens of this country. I encourage you to take part and vote in the upcoming May Election, which is fast approaching! Youth voters make up about half of the 52 million registered voters, and as such, your votes will definitely matter.

Please know that in the one year and five months that I have discharged my duties as your Senator, I have focused on electoral reforms in the meantime because I believe that strengthening democracy must begin with ensuring that the electoral process is credible, free, fair, and honest without any pandaraya, and therefore truly representative of the will of the people.

Hence, we should never leave the electoral process to the hands of politicians alone. You have to participate in the elections as free, idealistic, and principled individuals who will cleanse our election process of the habitual ills of vote buying, intimidation, violence, and various other forms of electoral fraud or pandaraya.

As a victim of electoral fraud in 2007, I am with you in this struggle. I am committed to continue the fight against all forms of fraud, corruption, oppression, and injustice to help ensure that the principles of good governance would permeate public service, and to promote the observance of honesty and fair play in private life.

I have committed the rest of my life to fight against all forms of pandaraya. I have in fact changed the meaning of my initials K. P. from Koko Pimentel to Kalaban ng Pandaraya!

Thus, I beg you, all, that when you enter the polls on Election Day next month, remember that good governance is within your control. Vote wisely, and vote into office only the competent, concerned, imaginative, and above all, honest and properly-motivated leaders.

You can do it because after all, the University has dedicated itself to your development as genuine leaders of our people. I hope, then, that you will enter the world outside the portals of your school as dynamic individuals who will help build a prosperous and peaceful nation for all our people.

As graduates of this University, you are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to reach for the stars, and help improve your lives, and those of others. Please be mindful of the millions of our citizens who have been denied the opportunities that you have enjoyed. I urge you to be compassionate, generous, and humble to our fellow citizens. By doing so, we can all make a significant impact in the lives of others and in our community.

I do hope that you will not limit your talents for your personal satisfaction, alone. Instead, I pray that you will channel them for the common good.

I ask that you explore, hand in hand with your fellow citizens, the frontiers of institutional reform and renewal in the Philippines, so that the democratic values of liberty, equality, and justice for every man and woman may revitalize our people and create for us a better nation, with you, our youth, at the vanguard of change.

As I end this commencement address, my dear graduates, please remember to exercise honesty and humility, to persevere and fight for what is right. As has been proven in my own life, and as will be proven as you take your first steps out into the outside world - in the end, virtue triumphs over evil, truth wins over lies, and justice prevails over injustice.

Again, Congratulations to the Class of 2013! Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat, at mabuhay ang Perpetualites!

News Latest News Feed