Lifting the Nation from Poverty Through Excellence

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Commencement Speech delivered on 30 March 2015 at the City of Malabon University
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  Lifting the Nation from Poverty Through Excellence Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio  Commencement Speech delivered on 30 March 2015 at the City of Malabon UniversityMayor Antolin Oreta III !resident amon Maronilla other members of the #oard of e$ents the fac%lty and staff of the City of Malabon University the $rad%atin$ class and their families distin$%ished $%ests friends& 'ood afternoon to yo% all()han* yo% for invitin$ me this afternoon to spea* to the Class of 2015( And con$rat%lations to all the $rad%ates and their pro%d families(+%rin$ the amos administration I had the privile$e to ,or* ,ith -ational Sec%rity Adviser .ose Almonte( /is fascinatin$ a%tobio$raphy  ndless .o%rney  ,ritten by the a,ard,innin$ o%rnalist Marites it%$ has %st been released( It is a $reat boo* abo%t nation b%ildin$(Almonte came from h%mble be$innin$s( /e ,as born in stancia a barrio of Malinao to,n in Albay province( /is father ,or*ed as a b%s cond%ctor and his mother ,as a teacher ,ho became permanently paraly4ed after $ivin$ birth to Almontes yo%n$er brother( 6or food their family planted s,eet potato t%ber yam corn and ve$etables(Almonte did not allo, poverty even the Second 7orld 7ar $et in the ,ay of his ed%cation( /e ,o*e %p at fo%r in the mornin$ everyday to prepare his meal feed the carabao and fetch ,ater for his family( +ressed in r%mpled clothes f%ll of patches he crossed a bi$ river and ,al*ed barefoot for t,o ho%rs $oin$ to school and another t,o ho%rs ret%rnin$ home(/e $rad%ated from elementary school third in class( One of his teachers o*ed that the first in class ,o%ld become president of the co%ntry the second vice president and the third adviser to the president( 8ittle did she *no, that almost five decades later her little prophecy ,o%ld come tr%e(Almonte hardly tho%$ht abo%t colle$e beca%se of his familys poverty %ntil one day ,hen he received a letter %r$in$ him to ta*e the entrance e9amination to the !hilippine Military Academy ,here ed%cation ,as free( )he letter stirred his hopes and opened a door to a colle$e ed%cation()he door to a !MA ed%cation opened more doors( 7hile leadin$ his platoon in Sierra Madre Almonte met then Capt( 6idel amos( )here in the middle of the %n$le the t,o men en$a$ed in conversations not %s%ally heard in the military( After all soldiers are trained to follo, orders and not to as* :%estions( )hey as*ed themselves ,hy they ,ere *illin$ their fello, co%ntrymen and ,hy their fello, co%ntrymen ,ere rebellin$ a$ainst the $overnment( )hese conversations became the $enesis of their oint ,or* in nation b%ildin$(7hen !resident amos ass%med office he appointed Almonte national sec%rity adviser( +%rin$ one of their first meetin$s !resident amos $ave Almonte t,o pens ; one blac* ,hich the president %sed for si$nin$ and one red ,hich he %sed for ,ritin$ mar$inal notes( /e told Almonte that he ,as not merely part of the staff b%t a partner in nation b%ildin$()he Constit%tion mandates that the State shall $ive priority to ed%cation <to foster patriotism and nationalism accelerate social pro$ress and promote total h%man liberation and development(= )he Constit%tion reco$ni4es the importance of ed%cation in nation b%ildin$( d%cation is considered the $reat e:%ali4er that ,ill allo, the mar$inali4ed poor to oin the mainstream of society( d%cation is the tic*et to a $ood f%t%re( #eca%se of ed%cation Almonte ,as able to rise %p from bein$ the impoverished p%blic school st%dent ,ho ,al*ed  barefoot for t,o ho%rs to school to becomin$ the !residents partner in dismantlin$ monopolies and levelin$ the economic playin$ field(d%cation is a potent tool people can %se to improve their lives( Social and economic barriers may affect or limit the opport%nities for some people( /o,ever poverty is not anyone>s preordained destiny( !overty does not define a person %nless a person allo,s it to define him or her( )hro%$h ed%cation perseverance and hard ,or* anyone can rise %p and have a chance at s%ccess( Almonte is livin$ proof amon$ so many others that a person thro%$h ed%cation and perseverance can lift himself %p from poverty(Most important of all ed%cation is the fo%ndation of nation b%ildin$( 7ith ed%cation the possibilities for a nation are bo%ndless( 7itho%t ed%cation the possibilities for a nation are none9istent( 7ith more than half a million colle$e $rad%ates every year the !hilippines has a solid fo%ndation for nation b%ildin$( #%t ,hy has the !hilippines remained %nderdeveloped? Obvio%sly ,e have failed to capitali4e on the individ%al and collective val%e of more than half a million colle$e $rad%ates every year(7e have ,aited for economists f%t%rists and planners to tell %s ho, to capitali4e on the val%e of o%r colle$e $rad%ates( )here is no need to ,ait and ,aitin$ is a ,aste of time( It is %p to each and every individ%al $rad%ate ho, to ma*e the best of his colle$e ed%cation( )he po,er to translate a colle$e ed%cation into a prod%ctive or income prod%cin$ tool lies in the hands of each and every $rad%ate not on economic planners(6ilipinos desperately hope for chan$e( 7e ,ant to eradicate poverty corr%ption violence and many other problems perpet%ally pla$%in$ o%r co%ntry( /o,ever hopin$ alone ,ill not chan$e anythin$( In order for thin$s to chan$e in o%r co%ntry ,e have to chan$e individ%ally o%r mindset first( )here is no other ,ay( 7e each and every one of %s m%st individ%ally commit to be the startin$ point of chan$e in o%r co%ntry( 7e cannot ,ait for a political messiah to mirac%lo%sly solve the problems of o%r co%ntry( 7e have no control over that and a political messiah is simply ,ishf%l thin*in$( )he only thin$ yo% can control is yo%r o,n individ%al action yo%r o,n personal destiny( ach of %s m%st individ%ally be the very chan$e ,e ,ant to see in o%r co%ntry(A nation li*e any or$ani4ation is only as $ood as the people composin$ it( An instit%tion of learnin$ li*e the CMU is only as $ood as the fac%lty and st%dents composin$ it( If most of the st%dents $rad%atin$ today in CMU are strai$ht <A= st%dents then CMU ,ill be the n%mber one %niversity not only in the !hilippines b%t also in the ,hole ,orld( S%ch an achievement does not re:%ire any o%tside assistance( It is %p to the individ%al st%dent to commit ,hether to e9cel in his or her st%dies( If each and every individ%al st%dent ma*es s%ch commitment and p%rs%es s%ch commitment %ntil $rad%ation day then the entire school a%tomatically becomes a ,orldclass instit%tion of learnin$( )he po,er to achieve e9cellence in ed%cation lies in yo%r o,n hands in yo%r o,n decision(Once yo% find ,or* ,hether as employee or selfemployed commit to be a center of e9cellence in yo%r ,or*( If yo% are a mechanical en$ineer be the best mechanical en$ineer yo% can be( If yo% are an acco%ntant be the best acco%ntant yo% can be( If yo% are an Information )echnolo$y specialist be the best Information )echnolo$y specialist yo% can be( If yo% are a p%blic school teacher be the best p%blic school teacher yo% can be(Strive for e9cellence on yo% o,n as an essential part of yo%r personal ,or* ethic( If each and every one of yo% adopts e9cellence as yo%r personal ,or* ethic then all of yo% here this afternoon individ%ally and collectively ,ill have a tremendo%s impact on the b%ildin$ of o%r nation( And if all the Class of 2015 thro%$ho%t the !hilippines adopts e9cellence as their personal ,or* ethic the po,er of their collective e9cellence in vario%s fields of ,or* ,ill catap%lt the !hilippines to a m%ch hi$her level of development( )he po,er to chan$e o%r  co%ntry for the better lies in yo%r o,n hands in yo%r o,n decision(In my chambers in the S%preme Co%rt I have had a 4erobac*lo$ in my case doc*et for the last five years( I strive to ma*e my office a center of e9cellence( Many of yo% ,ill ,or* in $overnment incl%din$ the City 'overnment of Malabon( Strive for e9cellence in yo%r ,or* in $overnment no matter ho, h%mble yo%r ,or* may be at first( If all $overnment ,or*ers strive for e9cellence in their ,or* then the entire $overnment ,ill become a center of e9cellence(It is time for o%r people to stop searchin$ for political messiahs or loo*in$ to the ne9t elective leaders to deliver %s from poverty and %nderdevelopment( It is li*e ,aitin$ for 'odot @ he ,ill never come( )he b%ildin$ of a nation starts ,ith the individ%al citi4en( ach individ%al m%st be his or her o,n center of e9cellence( If every individ%al $ets into this mindset if every individ%al strives for e9cellence in his or her ,or* then the entire !hilippines ,ill become a center of e9cellence ,hich ,ill translate into economic social and political development( )he b%ildin$ of this nation is a decision and the individ%al action of each and every citi4en( Unless ,e reali4e that and act on it ,e ,ill be ,aitin$ for 'odot()o the Class of 2015 yo% have been $iven the ed%cation yo% need to ma*e a difference in yo%r lives and to b%ild o%r nation( Use this ed%cation ,ith perseverance and dedication to ma*e yo%rself a center of e9cellence in any ,or* yo% do( In that ,ay as yo% s%cceed in yo%r ,or* yo% are part of that $reat %nderta*in$ called nation b%ildin$(Once a$ain con$rat%lations to the Class of 2015 and I ,ish yo% all s%ccess in ,hatever endeavor yo% choose()han* yo% and a $ood day to all(
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