Press Release
March 21, 2016


Sen. Grace Poe, the first foundling to run for president of the Philippines, credited the unconditional love of her adoptive parents, movie icons Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), for where she is today.

Addressing graduating students in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu, Poe paid tribute to her parents and thanked them for the education they gave her when she was a growing up. It spelled the difference in her life, she said.

"I am a living example of how the unconditional love of parents can change the life of a child," said Poe, a foundling who was abandoned at the Jaro Church in Iloilo as an infant. She was found by the helper of a rich landlady who was a good friend of FPJ and Roces.

"This lovely couple chose me with all my wounds and scabby skin as a baby and adopted me. They treated me as their own and sent me to the best schools for my education," Poe said in her speech at the 23rd Commencement Exercises of Indiana Aerospace University on March 19.

"Looking back, it was the unconditional love of my parents and a good education that transformed the foundling or the 'pulot' to the senator who stands before you today," she said.

Poe, the lone independent candidate, leads all presidential hopefuls in pre-election surveys showing her the top choice of Filipinos in most economic classes.

In 2013, she made history as the national candidate with the highest number of votes, garnering over 20 million votes to top the senatorial race, also as an independent.

"Armed with a good education, the love of your families and the grace of God, nothing is impossible. If this foundling from Iloilo was able to do it, so can you," she said.

Poe advised the graduates to use their education for the betterment of others, and not to oppress those who are not as fortunate as they are.

"This moment marks the start of progress for you and your family. You are very fortunate to be here today. You are now part of the elite 10 percent of our population with a college education," she said.

"At this juncture, I urge you to remember the difference between a degree and an education... Huwag sana kayong matulad sa mga taong nakapagtapos pero wala namang pinag-aralan. You can advance yourself without oppressing others," the senator said.

While a diploma could serve as a ticket to jobs and opportunities that are not available to 90 percent of the population, it was not the most important thing that defines a person's character, Poe told the graduating students.

"It is how you treat other people, especially those who have less in life that will determine if your stint in college indeed educated you," she said. "Ganoon din ang kahit na sinong naninilbihan sa gobyerno. Dapat pinag-aaralan mabuti, kinakausap ang mga taong pinagsisilbihan, at dapat nakakaramdam."

Poe is running under the banner of "Gobyernong may Puso" which is pushing for rapid, sustainable and genuine inclusive growth that will not leave behind poor Filipino families. She also vowed to lead a transparent government and move towards global competitiveness.

Poe and running mate Sen. Francis Escudero, who also leads the vice-presidential race, are taking a break from their campaign in observance of the Holy Week.

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