Talumpati sa Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa 2013 ni Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

BUWAN NG WIKANG PAMBANSA 2013

 Ramon Magsaysay Technological University – San Marcelino

San Marcelino, Zambales

Agosto 30, 2013

Tema:    “Wika Natin ang Daang Matuwid”

 

G. Danilo Villar Rogayan Jr.

Panauhing Pandangal

            “Ang hindi umibig nang lubos sa kanyang sariling salita ay mas masahol pa sa nakasusulasok na amoy ng nabubulok na isda.”

 

Sa ating masigasig na Kanselyer ng RMTU South Campuses, Propesor Ferdinand M. Domingo, sa napakamapagpunyaging dekano ng Dalubhasaan ng Pagsasaka at Paghahayupan, Dr. Nestor Z. Rondina, sa masipag na Tagapamanihala ng Dalubhasaan ng Edukasyon, Sining at Agham, Propesor Luz N. Corpuz, sa napakahusay na Tagapamanihala ng Dalubhasaan ng Pamamahala sa Hotel at Restawran, Propesor Nora A. Alcayaga, sa masipag na Tagapag-ugnay Pangkampus sa Samahang Pang-mag-aaral at Publikasyon, Prop. Lorina P. Bundang, sa kapita-pitagang Campus Registrar, Dr. Beverly I. Agustin, sa aking mga kapwa dalub-guro sa pamantasang ito sa pangunguna ni Propesor Marietta S. Romera, Pangulo ng Facultad, mga kawani, mga lakan at lakabini, mga mag-aaral, mga panauhin at sa tanang naririto, isang marubdob na pagbati ng isang mapagpalayang umaga!

 

Ang tanggapin ang hamon na magbahagi ng isang pananalita hinggil sa ating ipinagdiriwang ngayon ay hindi madali para sa akin. Atubili ako noong una na tanggapin ang napakabigat na pananagutang ito. Ang tanong na tumatakbo sa aking isipan ay kung paano ko mabibigyang-dignidad ang maging panauhing pandangal sa napakahalagang palatuntunang ito. Ngunit pasasalamat po ngayon pa lamang sa Samahang SIKAT Filipino sa paanyayang ito. Sa mga kamalian pong aking masasabi, ang inyo pong paumanhin.

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Wika Natin ang Daang Matuwid

“Wika Natin ang Daang Matuwid,” ito ang paksa ng ating taunang paggunita ng Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa. Kung ating lilimiin tila napakalalim ng mensaheng nais ipaabot ng ating paksa.  Ngunit sa pangalawang tingin ay mamamalas natin ang gampanin ng wikang Filipino sa katuparan ng ating pangarap tungo sa tuwid na daan. Dagdag pa rito, ipinahayag ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino na kinapapalooban ng tema sa taóng ito ang kapangyarihan ng wikang Filipino na tumatagos sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan at sa lahat ng uri ng pamumuhay. Ikaw man ay mag-aaral, magsasaka, guro, mananaggol, tagawalis sa daan o simpleng tao, gumagamit ka ng wikang Filipino. Kaya nananalig ang KWF na sa kabila ng pagkakaiba-iba ay nagkakaisa tayo dahil sa wikang Filipino na siyang tinig ng ating kultura, kasaysayan at pagkatao. Dahil sa ating pagkakabuklod, ito ang isa sa mga kasangkapan tungo sa bisyon ng matuwid na daan ng dangal at kaunlaran.

 

Batid nating lahat na ang ating wika ay mahalagang kasangkapan ng pakikipagtalastasan at nagbibigay-daan upang ang bawat isa ay tunay na magkaunawaan. Ang mga kaisipan at mga kakintalang nais nating iparating ay madaling naiintindihan dahil sa pagkakaroon natin ng isang wikang pambansa. Ang patuloy na pag-unlad at paglinang ng ating wika ang magdadala sa atin sa dulo ng tuwid na landas. Hindi maitatatwa ang mga pagsubok na kinaharap noon ng Surian ng Wikang Pambansa sa pagpili ng magiging opisyal na wika ng Filipinas. At sa kasalukuyan, walang untol na nililinang at pinayayabong pa ang wikang Filipino hindi lamang sa loob ng akademyang gaya rito bagkus maging sa iba’t ibang sektor ng ating lipunan.

 

Ang Ortograpiyang Filipino

Sa katunayan, inilabas ngayong taon ang binagong gabay sa ortograpiya ng Wikang Filipino. At kagabi ay nakuha ko ang ika-limang borador ng sipi ng nasabing ortograpiya. Ayon kay Virgilio S. Almario, Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Literatura, ang gabay sa ortograpiya o palatitikan ng wikang Filipino ay binubuo ng mga tuntunin kung paano sumulat gamit ang wikang Filipino. Hinango ang mga tuntunin sa mga umiiral na kalakaran sa paggamit ng Wikang Pambansa, bukod sa napagkasunduang mga tuntunin, bunga ng mga forum at konsultasyon, hinggil sa mga kontrobersiyal na usapin sa ispeling. Ninanais palaganapin sa gabay na ito ang estandardisadong mga grafema o pasulat na mga simbolo at ang mga tuntunin sa paggamit at pagbigkas ng mga simbolong ito. Itinatanghal din dito ang mga naganap na pagbabago mula sa panahon ng abakadang Tagalog bunga ng modernisadong alpabeto at bunga na rin ng umuunlad na paggamit sa Wikang Pambansa.

 

Kung kaya nga nararapat na malaman natin ang mga tuntuning nakapaloob sa ating ortograpiya upang mas masabi nating wika natin ang tuwid na daan.

 

Pilipinas o Filipinas?

 

Nagkaroon ng napakalaking usapin kamakailan sa naging resolusyon ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino hinggil sa paghihikayat ng paggamit ng Filipinas na nasa titik F mula sa Pilipinas na nasa titik P, bilang opisyal na pangalan ng ating bansa. Ito ay bunsod ng dagdag na walong letra sa ating alpabeto na C, F, J, Ñ, Q, V, X and Z. Kung ating babalikan ang pilas ng ating kasaysayan, noong Disyembre 30, 1935 ay isinilang ang ating Wikang pambansa. Mula sa Tagalog, ang ating Wikang pambansa ay tinawag na Pilipino na nakabaybay sa titik P at kalauna’y kinikilala bilang Filipino na nakabaybay na sa titik F. Ang patuloy na pag-unlad na ito ng ating wika ay salamin ng pagiging matatag natin bilang isang bansa.

 

Kung kaya sa pangunguna ng KWF, ninanais nilang maging consistent ang Filipino sa salitang Filipinas na noon pa ma’y likas ng baybay ng pangalan ng ating bansa. Ang pangalang ito ay binigay ni Ruy López de Villalobos noong 1548 at opisyal na ginamit ni Miguel López de Legazpi nang kanyang itinatag ang kolonyang Kastila simula noong 1565, at patuloy na ginamit sa loob ng 300 taon hanggang sa panahon ni Rizal at Bonifacio, at muling ginamit sa pangalan ng unang republika sa Asya — ang “Republica Filipinas” na itinatag sa Malolos noong 1898. Pilipinas naman ang ginamit simula noong 1941 nang sinimulang hikayatin ang mga tao sa paggamit ng abakada na walang titik F.

 

Ngunit ang tanong ngayon, compulsory ba ang pagpapalit na ito sa lahat ng ahensya ng pamahalaan gaya na lamang ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at Unibersidad ng Pilipinas? Ang sagot po ay hindi, nasa mga institusyong ito kung nais nilang magpalit o hayaang ipreserba ang mga kasalukuyang baybay ng kanilang mga ahensya at maging bahagi ng kasaysayan ng wika sa panahon na ginagamit pa ang abakada. Ang resolusyon ng KWF ay humihikayat sa mga organisasyon na bubuuin sa hinaharap na gamitin ang Filipinas sa halip na Pilipinas.

 

Kailangan bang palitan din ang Pinas sa Finas at Pinoy sa Finoy? Hindi rin po kinakailangan sapagkat ang Pinas ay nagmula sa ikatlo at ikaapat na pantig ng FiliPINAS at ang Pinoy ay nagmula lamang sa Pinas kung kaya’t hindi ito maaapektuhan sa pagbabalik-paggamit ng salitang Filipinas na nagmula sa salitang PIlipinas.

 

Hindi ba’t ang pagpapalit na ito ay bahid ng colonial mentality? Maaaring totoo sapagkat ito ay nagmula kay King Philip ng Espanya pero ito rin ang sagisag ng pagkakaugnay-ugnay at pagkakabuklod ng mga barangay, tribu at mga isla ng ating arkipelago. At hindi sapat na sabihin na ang pagtawag sa ating bansa na Pilipinas ay nangangahulugan ng pagkamakabayan. Ano ba kasing problema sa salitang Pilipinas? Gaya ng pagpapalit sa salitang Pilipino na ginawang Filipino noong dekada 70, ang pagpapalit ng Pilipinas sa Filipinas ay bunsod ng alaala ng Tagalog na iniiwasan po ng KWF sapagkat ang wikang Filipino ay hindi Tagalog, ito ay amalgamasyon ng iba’t ibang wika sa Filipinas.  Kung kaya nga hinihikayat ang Mother-Tongue Base Language Education sa mga antas elementary upang mas mapatatag ang mga katutubong wika na siyang sandigan ng ating wikang pambansa.

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Ang Wika Natin ay Wika ng Katarungan at Kapayapaan

Ang wika natin ay wika ng katarungan at kapayapaan. Ang kapangyarihan ng wika na mapanagutin ang mga may-sala at maparusahan ang mga nagkamali ay unti-unti nang nangyayari sa ating lipunan tungo sa pagkamit ng tunay na katarungan. Ang wikang Filipino rin ang ginagamit na instrumento upang ang kapayapaan ang siyang pumailanlang sa puso ng bawat Filipino anuman ang lalawigang pinagmulan o pananamplatayang kinabibilangan.

 

Ang Wika Natin ay Laban sa Katiwalian

Ang wika natin ay laban din sa katiwalian. Ang ating kaalaman sa ating sariling wika ang siyang magbibigay-lakas sa atin sa ating pakikipagtunggali sa anumang uri ng katiwalian. Sa pamamagitan ng wika, maisusuplong natin sa mga awtoridad ang sinumang lumalabag sa ating mga karapatan, umaabuso sa ating pagkatao at dumurungis sa ating katauhan.

 

Ang Wika Natin ay Sandata Laban sa Kahirapan

Ang wika natin ay sandata laban sa kahirapan. Ngunit sa paanong pamamaraan? Sa pamamagitan ng mga dayalogo at pakikipagtalamitam sa mga pinuno ng pamahalaan, mababatid natin ang mga karaingan ng bawat mamamayan sa bawat sulok ng Filipinas. Dahil sa wika, matutugunan natin ang mga karaingang ito sa paraang malalabanan natin ang banta ng kahirapan.

 

 

 

Ang Wika Natin ay Wika ng Mabilisan, Inklusibo, at Sustenidong Kaunlaran

Ang wika natin ay wika ng mabilisan, inklusibo, at sustenidong kaunlaran. Kung ating iisipin, saan ba nagsimula ang lahat? Saan ba nagmula ang bawat teknolohiya na meron tayo ngayon? Saan ba nagbuhat ang bawat pagbabagong dala ng modernisasyon? Hindi ba’t ang lahat ng ito ay nagsimula sa pamamagitan ng wika sapagkat ang ating wika, ang wikang Filipino ay wika ng pagsulong na mabilisan at dinamiko, wika ito ng kaunlaran na inklusibo, sustenido o napananatili. At sana ang bawat isa sa atin na naririto ngayon ay maging tagapagpadaloy ng pagbabago sapagkat ang pagbabago ay palaging nagsisimula sa ating mga sarili. Nwa’y tayo’y maging bahagi ng solusyon at hindi ng mas malaking konsumisyon.

 

Ang Wika Natin ay Wika sa Pangangalaga ng Kapaligiran

            Ang wika natin ay wika sa pangangalaga ng kapaligiran. Sa kabila ng globalisasyon at industriyalisasyon, hindi dapat nating kaligtaan ang ating napakahalagang gampanin  sa pangangalaga ng ating kapaligiran. Ang ating wika, ang wikang Filipino ay napakamakapangyarihan upang maging daan sa katuparan ng adhikaing ito. Dahil sa wika, maibubulalas natin ang ating mga saloobin hinggil sa iba’t ibang suliraning pangkalikasan na kung saan tayo ay may malaking pananagutan.

 

Bilang pagbubuod, ang lahat ng aking nabanggit na gampanin ng wika ay nakasandig sa ating pagtalunton sa tuwid na daan na siya rin namang panagimpan ng pangulo ng ating bansa. Sa kabila ng mga pagbabagong ating nararanasan, higit nating dapat mabatid ang kahalagahan ng wikang Filipino sa pagtataguyod ng pambansang kaunlaran, pambansang pagkakakilanlan, pambansang kultura at pambansang kasaysayan.

 

Wika ang tumubos ng ating kasarinlan. Wika ang lumaban sa mga mapaniil na dayuhan. Wika ang nagsilbing tulay ng ating demokrasya. At wika rin ang tuwid na daang ating inaadhika.

 

Bilang pangwakas, may isa akong mahalagang katanungan sa bawat isa na nais kong makahingi ng kasagutan… Like nyo bangmag-WiFi? Like nyo ba talagang magWiFi? Ako, like na like kong mag-wifi, mag-Wikang Filipino, para laging connected. Sapagkat ang diwa ng ating pagiging isa sa pagtahak sa tuwid na landas ay ating makakamit kung matuto tayong magpahalaga, magmahal, magpayabong at magpunyagi ng ating wikang pambansa. Bilang mga Pilipino, tanggapin natin ang hamon ng makabagong panahon na huwag kaligtaan ang timyas at ganda ng ating wika at huwag mapatangay sa agos ng globalisasyon bagkus ay patuloy natin itong palakasin at patatagin tungo sa isang bansang may tuwid na daan.

 

Muli, isang maaliwalas na umaga sa ating lahat! Maraming salamat po!

 

 

 

Castillejos, Zambales

29 Agosto 2013

I Choose Bayan

Walang makahihigit pa sa rikit at ganda

Ng bayang handog sa atin ng Bathalang dakila…

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I Choose to Be Here

Central Luzon has been endowed with immense biodiversity, bestowed with a diverse culture and rich history and gifted with a multitude of great people. Great people who have been unselfishly dedicating and devoting themselves in serving the region with all compassion and love and have been dubbed as change-makers, transformation agents and nation-builders in their own ways.

The 17 outstanding youth leaders from the different provinces and cities of Central Luzon, despite of the demands of their time and pressures of scholastic and professional works, chose to be part of this year’s sixth edition of the Region III Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) held last April 18 – 23, 2013.

These young people made an excellent choice as they embarked themselves in a life-changing and an awe-inspiring Regional Formation Program. With the theme “I Choose Baya,” Zambales took its turn in hosting this year’s nation-building activity which has been rotating within Region III’s provinces for the last five years: Bataan (2008), Pampanga (2009), Nueva Ecija (2010), Bulacan (2011), and Tarlac (2012). Aurora will host next in 2014.

The theme of the Regional Week reflects the quintessential roles of each one, specifically the outstanding young leaders, to dedicate themselves, their time, their efforts and even their lives in serving their fellow kababayans and rebuilding the bayan. It will always start with a choice, a choice that will truly change the course of the nation’s history, a choice to take the road of servant leadership and nation-building as a life-long commitment. The theme also posed a challenge to the young leaders to speak their mind and do something for the bayan.

On the first day, the regional finalists were welcomed by the officials and staff of CHED Region III with the presence of Director Virginia D. Akiate, Ed.D. who inspired the finalists with her thought-provoking words. In celebration of the fifth year of TOSP Region 3 Alumni Community of Heroes (TOSP-R3ACH), the alumni and finalists had a ceremonial tribute in Bataan where the community was formed in 2008. Colegio de San Juan de Letran (Bataan Campus) hosted the activity dedicated to the young heroes of Bataan defenders during World War II.

Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU), situated in the capital of Zambales, hosted the Welcome Ceremony. The university hostel accommodated the alumni and finalists. Dr. Cornelio C. Garcia, RMTU President, led the other university officials in welcoming the finalists and TOSP alumni through a welcome dinner. It was graced by Mr. Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, an internationally acclaimed violinist and founder of CASA San Miguel, as this year’s keynote speaker.

In his keynote speech, Mr. Bolipata shared his life experiences as a musician and as a founder of the CASA San Miguel, a home for those who dream to be like him. He made the listening crowd realized that ‘choosing bayan’ is indeed a great choice and provoked them to do their own share in building this nation.

 

I Choose to be a Proud Central Luzon Youth

As part of the annual tradition, TOSP alumni and finalists were toured around significant historical sites in Zambales and Olongapo City.

The young leaders visited the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ Magsaysay Ancestral House in Castillejos, Zambales wherein they had a flowering offering to Zambales’ notable son, Pres. Ramon F. Magsaysay and tour of the president’s house. The finalists also visited the Columban College in Olongapo City which houses the historic Zambal Museum. The finalists also had a chance to see the largest flag in the Philippines located at Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

To witness the glamour and beauty of Casa San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales, the finalists also visited the site wherein they were serenaded by some of the music scholars of the casa with the presence of Mr. Coke Bolipata. The casa also houses some artworks of various Zambaleño visual artists. Afterwards, the group visited the San Andres Church, a National Cultural Treasure in Masinloc, Zambales.

The finalists were also inspired by the stories of two municipal mayors of the province during a courtesy call. Castillejos Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez shared his advocacy in skills development through providing TESDA courses to his constituents while Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora inspired the finalists in her agricultural developments and farming innovations introduced in their municipality.

The whole-day Zambales Day Tour made the finalists feel so proud of their grassroots and of their region – Central Luzon.

I Choose to Lead by Example

The heart of the TOSP Regional Week was held on the third day – the Formation Program Proper held at RMTU College of Law Conference Hall. This is where the finalists got acquainted with the most pressing issues confronting the region and the nation in the entirety and laid their response in resolving the identified problems through their presentations of their respective project proposals. They also shared their life experiences and their insights on servant leadership and nation-building through small group discussions.

In the evening, the traditional Alumni Night was held at Bakasyunan Resort and Conference Center in Iba, Zambales. The 2013 Regional Finalists were welcomed by the growing R3ACH community through an incomparable and unforgettable shore-and-boat ride alumni initiation.

The night was filled with nostalgic reminiscence as reflected by the sharing of testimonials of the TOSP Alumni from various batches as R3ACH celebrated its fifth year as a community. Mr. Jonathan de Quiroz, R3ACH Chairperson, recollected the memories of the community since its establishment in 2008 and challenged the alumni and finalists to continue the quest for nation-building.

As they choose to lead by example, the evening was ended with the ceremonial sharing of commitment of the Central Luzon bayanis followed by the heart-warming singing of “Alay ng TOSP.”

I Choose to Celebrate the Best Things in Life

The next day, the finalists were immersed in the Gawad Kalinga Botolan in New Taugtog, Botolan, Zambales through a Community Day. The alumni and the finalists taught the Sibol kids of the GK village on the proper way of brushing their teeth and washing their hands. Afterwards, the finalists had a story-telling activity which made the kids inspired in gladness. The Sibol kids likewise received gifts of school supplies from the R3ACH community.

The activity was capped by a boodle fight-themed lunch with sharing of the alumni and finalists of the outpouring of insights learned throughout the regional week. The lunch also served as a celebration of the best things in life, serving a community with gladdened hearts and delighted souls.

 

I Choose to Serve my Region

In the afternoon, the alumni community partook in the Amazing Race: The Botolan Escapade which was conceptualized by Miss Noorain Sabdulla in coordination with the Team GK RMTU. The alumni and finalists underwent grueling yet exciting challenges around the municipality of Botolan.

The highlight of the race was the Humility Challenge wherein the alumni and finalists had to ask foods of any kind from the Botolan villagers. The foods were given to the families in the GK Botolan Community.

After the amazing race, the alumni and finalists had swimming and sunset viewing at the Botolan beach then afterwards, the finalists had their networking activity. Holding their respective torches, the 17 finalists shared their dreams and aspirations and where they will be after five years. Most of them see themselves serving Region III after five years from that day. The sharing of aspirations ended with the lighting of the bonfire.

The alumni and finalists were fostered overnight by accommodating families at Gawad Kalinga Botolan.

 

I Choose to Give my Best at All Times

From Zambales, the finalists were ferried to King’s Royale Pampanga in the City San Fernando where they had their Batch Day. In the same place, Batch Siklab, as they call themselves, convened to scribble their Batch Response.

Giving their best at all times, Batch Siklab ignited their ardent passion, blazing commitment and glowing aspirations not just for the region but for the nation as a whole as reflected in their batch response. They have committed themselves to relentlessly keep the torch of nation-building fiery and burning!

I Choose to Learn, Lead and Serve for Life

The awarding ceremony was held at Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University on the 23rd in the historic town of Bacolor, Pampanga which just celebrated 250th anniversary of being the Philippine capital during the British occupation of Manila from 1762 to 1764. The event was graced by Mr. Jose Mari Ochinena, Philippine Information Agency Undersecretary as keynote speaker.

Indeed, the 2013 Zambales Formation is another great milestone for TOSP R3ACH. Thanks to the generosity and benevolence of the different sectors of the society – academe, government and private institutions – who extended their hands and hearts to make this year’s regional week remarkably successful.

Kung kaya’t ating pag-ibig at pagkalinga

Sa bayan, ating ihandog sa tuwina…

Closing Remarks – TOSP Region 3 Formation Program Welcome Dinner Program

Ramon Magsaysay Technological University

April 18, 2013

By Danilo Villar Rogayan Jr. 

383296_10200905215262979_1099408996_nBenjamin Franklin once said, “If you want to be remembered after you are dead, write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.

Dr. Cornelio C. Garcia, RMTU President, our distinguished keynote speaker Mr. Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Region 3 Alumni Community of Heroes (TOSP R3ACH) headed by its chairperson, Mr. Jonathan de Quiroz, officials, faculty and staff of this university, the outstanding 17 regional finalists of this year’s search, friends, ladies and gentlemen, a historical evening!

Trailing back the history, it was on June 19, 1961, in simultaneous with the centennial birth of Dr. Jose Rizal, when Mr. Jose Concepcion Jr., then the publisher of Student Life magazine, founded the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, an awards program that honors outstanding students who have dispensed academic excellence, exemplary leadership and deep sense of community involvement.

For more than half a century now, TOSP has gone a long way. From a mere awards program, it has transformed into a formation program which primarily aims to hearten and enthuse the youth towards building the nation.

Here in our beloved Central Luzon, the TOSP Regional Formation commenced only in 2008 in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education Region III and led to the birth of the TOSP Region 3 Alumni Community of Heroes (TOSP R3ACH). The community has successfully implemented the annual regional formation program, rotating the host province around the region – Bataan in 2008, Pampanga in 2009, Nueva Ecija in 2010, Bulacan in 2011, Tarlac in 2012 and this year here in Zambales.

What makes this formation program more special is because we in TOSP R3ACH are celebrating our fifth year as one community and as one family harmonized with our burning passion, fervent love and ignited commitment in serving Central Luzon and the nation in the entirety. TOSP R3ACH, as the home of humanized and positively disturbed leaders, continues its mission for proactive actions towards nation-building, learning, leading and serving for life.

“i CHOOSE Bayan” bespeaks the quintessential roles of each one of us to dedicate ourselves, our time, our efforts and even our lives in serving our fellow kababayans and rebuilding our bayan. It will always start with a choice, a choice that will truly change the course of our nation’s history, a choice to take the road of servant leadership and nation-building as our life-long commitment.

And I know that our choice to choose bayan will give us a brighter and a more prolific kinabukasan. And as we heed the call of our bayan, we are affirming that we are indeed bayanis, the genuine pag-asa that this nation is yearning for.

I would like also to take this opportunity to thank the administration of this university headed by Dr. Cornelio C. Garcia, RMTU president, for the warm welcome and great assistance in hosting this year’s regional formation program. Our profound gratitude Sir to you and to all who extended their hands in making this event possible.

To the 17 regional finalists, the battle is just about to begin. You are here tonight not just because you are the best of the bests in your respective institutions; you are here because you are challenged to think more and to do more as change-makers and transformation agents of our beloved Central Luzon and our dear Philippines.

Marami pa tayong kailangang gawin, naghihintay ang ating bayan na tayo’y tumugon sa kanyang panawagan. Nanaisin ba nating magbingi-bingihan at magbulag-bulagan o titindig tayo nang sama-sama para ibandila ang kanyang karangalan? Ano kaya ang magiging taya mo para sa bayan? Ano kaya ang maiaambag mo na magmamarka sa ating kasaysayan? Ngayon na ang panahon ng pagbabago, buksan natin ang ating mga puso’t isipan at sabihing “I Choose Bayan.”

Once again, good evening to all of us! Mabuhay ang Gitnang Luzon! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Commencement Address – 12th Commencement Exercises of Castillejos Resettlement High School

By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

Delivered during the 12th Commencement Exercises of Castillejos Resettlement High School, Purok 1, Balaybay Resettlement, Castillejos, Zambales on March 22, 2013, 4:30 pm.

Theme: Building the Nation’s Future Leaders Through the K to 12 Basic Education Program

(K to 12 Basic Education Program Tungo sa

Paghuhubog ng mga Makabagong Lider ng Bansa)

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DANILO VILLAR ROGAYAN JR.

Ms. Rumley A. Yap, the school principal, the highly-competent members of the faculty, most of them are my former mentors, the graduates of Batch 2013, parents, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen… good evening!

I am indeed very grateful and glad as I step to this podium, seeing each one of you especially the graduates wearing not only their best attire but also their bright smiles. I am also very delighted to see the parents, relatives and the teachers who are here today to witness the graduates reaping the fruits of their four-year struggles, toil and hard work. Ladies and gentlemen, it was never easy for these students to reach their goal in surpassing the secondary course. And for this, let us give the Graduating Batch of 2013 a round of applause. Thanks to all.

January 16 of this year when I received a text message from a former teacher inviting me to be the guest speaker of their graduation rites. At first, I was really laughing at myself and I responded, “Ako po talaga Ma’am?” And she replied back, “Oo kuya, hindi ako nagbibiro.” And without much thinking, I accepted the invite. How could I refuse Ma’am Marilou dela Cruz, a great mentor during my high school years and who has inspired me to follow my dreams. And so ladies and gentlemen, I am here today on this occasion of your 12th Commencement Exercises as your guest speaker. I hope I’ll be able to leave you something inspiring and worthy to remember.

Exactly five years today when I graduated from this school, my dear alma mater. It was still named Jesus F. Magsaysay High School Annex – I. Until now, I never figured out why there is “I” in the name of the school before. And I never dared to ask about it from anybody even from my teachers. I know they have answers to this nonsense curiosity of mine. But anyhow, that’s just one of my anecdotes about our alma mater which is now known as Castillejos Resettlement High School.

It’s really nice to be back. I accepted the invitation to be the commencement speaker of this year’s graduation rites not only because I need to but more than that, I accepted this remarkable opportunity to express my profound gratitude to my alma mater which molded me into who I am today. This is also my simple way of expressing my appreciation to all my former high school teachers who contributed a lot to my success and my way of giving back all the blessings I received for the past years of my prolific life.

My dear graduates, I am so proud of all of you for you have made it. Your graduation signifies that you are more than ready to face the challenges that await you in your journey ahead. I know that this day is very special for you because this moment will never ever happen again. That’s why I encourage you my dear graduates to try your best to capture everything that will happen tonight. You have to witness carefully all that will transpire and listen attentively to every sound that you will hear tonight.

I’d like to start my sharing with a short story.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do not you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference to that one!”

My dear graduates, the story tells us about the power within each one of us to make a difference, to make a change, in the lives of others and in making significant changes in the community where we belong. We are being reminded by the story that we are not alone; there are so many people that would help and guide us as we make our dreams and fulfill our visions.

Today, we are faced with a lot of struggles, societal upheavals are everywhere. In the words of Thomas Paine, these are the times that try men’s souls. Sometimes we feel very alone, we feel small and unable to make lasting changes just like in the situation we are in today. And we ended up by saying, “What can I do that will make a difference?” or “What can one small person like me can do?”

In reality, my dear graduates, we don’t have to be rich, talented or even particularly intelligent to make a difference in the life of others and in our community. We just need to be reminded that we are all here for a purpose. God has created each one of us to make something beneficial to this world. And making small changes in the world will eventually add up to something bigger in the life of another. When we become throwers of a starfish, we too, have the power to change our spheres of influence, to change our community, our country, our world and build this nation as future leaders.

The story also bespeaks our commencement theme, “Building the Nation’s Future Leaders through the K to 12 Basic Education Program.”

Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III said, “Naninindigan pa rin po tayo sa ipinangako nating pagbabago sa edukasyon: ang gawin itong sentral na estratehiya sa pamumuhunan sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman: ang mamamayang Pilipino. Sa K to 12, tiwala tayong mabibigyang-lakas si Juan dela Cruz upang mapaunlad—hindi lamang ang kanyang sarili at pamilya—kundi maging ang buong bansa.”

The president really exerts much effort in responding to the perceived needs of the education sector as his administration through the Department of Education has started implementing the K to 12 Basic Education reform. He believes that this program will make a substantial difference in the lives of every Filipino and eventually transform our nation into a progressive one. I hope that we share the same point of view to that of the president. We have to support this program which is believed to be the tool in building the nation’s future leaders.

Building the nation’s future leaders is like lifting a thousand elephants. It is very difficult, very complicated and needs a very long process. There are many reasons specifically the numerous changes that are happening now in our society. Changes not only in our climactic condition but also in the technology, human lifestyle and changes in the different sectors of the society like the industry, economy, politics and even in our education.

One of these innovations in the field of education is the standardization of the number of years in our basic education. From 10 years, it is now increased into 12 years through this K to 12 program. The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School). This program provides sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare the graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship. This also aims to make Filipino graduates holistically developed, globally-competitive and locally-grounded.

My dear graduates, even if you are not covered by the K to 12 program, you will also be affected of this in the very near future. The fruits of this investment will soon be felt by everyone as we aim for an accessible, universal and high quality education for all.

In a personal note, my four-year stay here in my alma mater was very rewarding. I and my classmates really enjoyed our dwelling in this institution.

I remembered walking every morning just to attend my classes. I was strolling with my bare feet from our house to the old site of the school near the elementary school at Purok 9. My morning walk every day inspired me more to do my best in my everyday classes. I remembered telling myself one day, “Dan, kung magloloko ka lang sa pag-aaral mo, huwag ka nang magpakapagod pa na maglakad ng napakalayo para makarating sa eskwelahan.” And that’s true, walking every day, going to school very far from your house, was never easy. Kaya sabi ko sa sarili ko, hinding-hindi ko sasayangin ang pagkakataong ito. I never squandered my time with nonsense stuffs but focused myself in my studies. If you really want something to achieve, you have to be sincere and determined in reaching that goal.

My life as a freshman was very exciting. In this time of my life, I was able to be a part of the The Viewpoint, the school’s student publication, as a news contributor. I would never forget that day when the school sent me for division training in campus journalism. I was the only delegate of this school with Ma’am Winnie Benavidez as my school paper adviser. Imagine, I was still first year then. That only proves that everything is possible if you just learn how to believe in yourself because fulfillment of one’s dream always starts from believing.

My classmates and I would always give our best in everything we do for we believe in the power of excellence. We were sophomores then when we received the award for the Best Cultural Exhibit during the Buwan ng Wika celebration wherein we transformed our classroom into a mini museum. Our entry in II-Sapphire class was likewise recognized as the Best Portfolio of Heroes beating the entries of other classes. Through these activities, I learned to love culture, history and arts which I believe are very significant elements that we have to nurture within ourselves. Because the only way for us to be successful is to know where we really came from. We should also never forget the innate values and virtues that define our identities. Kahit magbago man ang ating panahon, huwag nating kaliligtaan kung ano ang mga ugali at asal na meron tayong mga Filipino. And we have to imbibe these good values of our race.

Our junior year was likewise enjoyable. And I believe that this was the most prolific and colorful year for us. During this time, our class, the III – Ruby, was declared overall champion during the Education Week. We gave our best to clinch the championship titles in almost all competitions including the Speech Choir with our piece, “I am a Filipino” by Carlos P. Romulo. I won’t ever forget that event because this made our bonds stronger as a class. We learned to work as a team, to value one’s contributions and to take risks. This also challenged my leadership skills as I lead as the class president. And we were very grateful for the good outcome. If there is unity and harmony in a group, triumph and victory will never be impossible.

It was also during our junior year when we ourselves made a very big decision. To the information of everyone, ang batch po namin ang dahilan kung bakit nailipat ang site ng school from the old one to that site. Kami ang nanguna sa petisyon na ilipat ang site ng school dito sa old hospital building. Kasi kami talaga yung nakakaramdaman ng mga pagyanig ng lupa that time. Hindi namin alam kung kami nga lang o hindi lang talaga nagkukusa yung ibang year to report the case. And we won the petition, with the help of course of our teachers and the PTCA, the school was relocated here at Purok 1. That incident taught me to initiate worthwhile things for the common good. Kinakailangan na meron tayong pagkukusa. Sabi nga, kung hindi ngayon, kailan? Kung hindi rito, saan? Kung hindi tayo, sino? We are the nation’s future leaders and we have to develop in ourselves the virtue of initiative and the value of compassion to others.

I also remembered representing the school in the Regional Schools Press Conference during my third year. I placed third in the news writing category with Ma’am Eleanor Feliminiano as my teacher coach. What was unusual about it was I attended the RSPC alone in Nueva Ecija. I think we don’t have much budget before to accommodate my adviser. You know I was really afraid that time but it also challenged me to learn how to stand on my own. There were times that you feel alone but always remember that God is up there, He will never abandon you. You just have to talk to Him and everything will be fine.

Then came our senior year in high school. We were so occupied in accomplishing many tasks – academic reports, quizzes, exams, requirements and organizational responsibilities. We hurdled these together as we continue to vie for excellence. Our classroom, the IV-Amethyst room, was awarded the Best Classroom in three consecutive months. We also reaped major accolades in almost all the events throughout the year. You see, we were so highly motivated to give our best in all our endeavors. We dared to be different and we did it triumphantly! We hold on to our vision to be the best class ever in this school’s history. I do not know if we still hold the record as the best batch.

Always remember my dear graduates, perseverance and diligence are indispensable ingredients to be successful in life. You just have to know your motivations and ignite your burning desires. In this way, it is always possible that you can achieve your dreams and aspirations in life. And please take note, a successful man is not measured based on his intellectual capacity or achievements in life but by the greatness of his character. You have to always stay humble despite of the achievements you have attained in life. And that is my secret as an individual. That’s why I was named DANILO. You know what does my name mean? DANILO stands for Develop Attitude Not Intelligence Level Only. I always look at the attitude and the character, because that’s very essential. Good character will always define us as a person.

The leadership and management skills I have learned from this school helped me so much when I was elected as Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman of our barangay on October 2007. The staunch support of my fellow youth was really overwhelming that I really did my best together with my colleagues to serve our constituents to the best we can. We have spearheaded various projects and programs relevant to the needs of the youth. And we were thankful that we finished our term making a difference to the lives of our kapwa kabataan. You too, my dear graduates, can do the same. You just have to know yourselves well and discover what you can do for your fellows. Nabubuhay tayo hindi lamang para sa ating sarili kundi upang tumugon sa pananagutan natin sa ating kapwa.

I graduated with the highest honors in elementary and high school. I really did my best to finish my studies with flying colors. I did that because I have so much inspirations and motivations. And I’m very certain that good education is my passport to better life. Hindi ganoon kariwasa ang buhay ng aming pamilya. Many would always think that I came from a rich family. Kasi raw magaling akong mag-English. Sana nga ganoon ano? Pero hindi eh. Magsasaka at tricycle driver ang tatay ko. Halos dalawang taong gulang pa lamang ako nang mamatay ang aking ina dahil sa breast cancer. Napakabata ko pa noon. Pangalawa ako mula sa bunso sa limang magkakapatid. Life was never easy for us but I always thank God for His guidance and graces. That chapter in my life strengthened me so much that I was able to surmount all the obstacles of life. Pinatatag ako ng mga ganoong pagsubok. Trials are always there, learn how do deal with them positively.

My dad re-married and I got a step-mom who replaced my mom in taking care of me and my other siblings. Indeed, God would always make a way if you just keep your strong faith. Hindi ako bumitaw kay God sa kabila ng lahat ng mga nangyari sa akin. Because I believe that everything happens for a purpose. You just have to open your mind and understand every situation. Kayo, mahalin ninyo ang inyong mga magulang. Swerte kayo kasi nandyan sila palagi para gabayan at mahalin kayo. Learn how to love them back for we never know how long will they stay besides us. Alam ko na minsan nagpapasaway tayo sa kanila pero huwag nating kalilimutan ang lahat ng kanilang mga sinasabi at ipinapayo sa atin. Yes, minsan nakakarindi na ano? Pero yan ang role ng ating mga parents. They are just performing their role because they love and care for us. Let’s be thankful about it.

Recognizing the value of education, I pursued my tertiary education and took up Bachelor of Secondary Education – Major in Biological Sciences at RMTU San Marcelino. I finished my degree with the help of several scholarship grants and I graduated with an Academic Excellence award. I thank God, my parents, my relatives, my mentors and friends who inspired me to finish my higher education.

In my four-year academic journey in the university, I have experienced things that taught me great lessons.

I continued my passion in campus journalism where I’ve been part of the most controversial college student publication in Zambales, the Technoscribe. Because of this, I was given the chance to be invited as resource speaker and lecturer in basic campus journalism in some schools here in our province even if I’m still finishing my college degree. Campus journalism is my life. I was supposed to enroll myself in a journalism course but for some reasons, it did not materialize. But still, am thankful because until now I am able to practice my passion as a school paper adviser and as a Journalism teacher. Though I traveled a different road, I know I am able to achieve my goal.

My life as a leader also did not stop from being an SK Chairman. This school taught me to always be brave in accepting challenges. This maybe the greatest lesson I gained from joining the Supreme Student Government for four years here. I joined and pioneered several organizations in both the academe and in the community. My leadership journey was full of roadblocks but it didn’t hinder me from serving my fellows and my community. My life as a young leader was both painful and rewarding. But if you are happy and sincere with what you are doing, your sacrifices and efforts will be paid off in the right time.

And I am right in saying that, all my struggles as a young leader were paid off when I was recognized and awarded by several organizations in our country just recently. I was named as one of the Outstanding Ayala Young Leaders of the Philippines in February 2011, one of the Outstanding Youth Leader Awardee for Environment of the Philippines on August 2011, one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Central Luzon on April 2012 and one of the National Finalists of the Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines at the Malacanang Palace last August 2012.

I owe all of these achievements of course to God, to my family, to my alma mater and to my mentors. I hope in the near future, my dear graduates, you would also find your trail and be successful in your chosen career path. You are the nation’s future leaders. It is in your generation that the succeeding leaders of the different sectors of our society will come from. Who never knows one of you here will be the next president of our country or next chief justice of the Supreme Court? No one can tell but yours. Continue to value your education and always keep your good values. That will be your ticket in the fulfillment of your dreams!

I am now enjoying my niche as a teacher. And I know, even if I am still young in this profession, I could say that I am already successful because I am able to touch my students’ lives and inspire them to love their passion, to do things in excellence and to be the best they can be. I always tell my first advisory class, the III – St. Placid, that they always have to aim higher for excellence and that they should never settle for mediocrity. Hindi pwede and pwede na. Hindi ayos ang basta-basta lang. And I’m very proud of them because I see in them that they are applying all what I’m telling them. I hope you would do the same. It’s not enough that you hear it; the more important thing is that you know how to apply and integrate it to your lives.

My dear graduates, I believe that you are well-equipped now of the necessary competencies and skills that you most need in battling the challenges entailed in your quest for higher education.

You have to be thankful to this school which prepared you well enough in your future undertakings. Castillejos Resettlement High School will always be proud of you and will wait for your comeback as successful men and women of our society.

Thank your parents and relatives for without their love, support and assistance, you will not be able to finish your schooling. Listen to them, avoid unnecessary things that might distract you in achieving your life goals. I hope you would resist all these temptations that we have now in our society. Illegal drugs, smoking, alcoholic drinking, premarital sex and early pregnancy. You are still very young to engage in such things. Be responsible and be mature enough! Your parents count on you!

Express also your gratitude to your intellectual and dedicated mentors for without their patience, hard work and encouragement, you will not be prepared to cope up with life’s challenges and will not be inspired to strive for the best in everything you do. Ang hirap kayang magturo, I know the hardship. Maswerte kayo for you have these selfless and great mentors. Be grateful to them.

Thank also your school principal for without her support and concern, you will not reach this event as graduates of today.

Above all, thank the Almighty God, for all His endless blessings for you. May you keep your strong connection to Him for He will always be on-line for you.

To end, I thank the administration, the faculty and staff of this educational institution, my dear alma mater, for inviting me on this very significant occasion. I would always remember this day! Thank you so much!

To the graduating batch of 2013, am so proud of you! Keep reaching your dreams and keep your feet on the ground! Congratulations and Godspeed!

Commencement Address – 19th Commencement Exercises of Balaybay Resettlement Elementary School

By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

Delivered during the 19th Commencement Exercises of Balaybay Resettlement
Elementary School, Purok 9, Balaybay Resettlement,
Castillejos, Zambales on March 21, 2013, 10:00 am.

Theme: Building the Nation’s Future Leaders
Through the K to 12 Basic Education Program
(K to 12 Basic Education Program Tungo sa
Paghuhubog ng mga Makabagong Lider ng Bansa)

Highly esteemed guests, Ma’am Florence Falsario, the school officer-in-charge, my former mentor, highly competent members of the faculty, some of them are my former mentors, the graduating batch of 2013, parents, friends, ladies and gentlemen… good morning!

DSC_8154

DANILO VILLAR ROGAYAN JR.

I feel real joy and gladness at this very moment as I see you my dear graduates on this momentous occasion. Added to my delight are your parents, relatives and teachers who are also here today to celebrate with you this wonderful achievement. Each one of you should feel very proud of yourself for after six long years of struggles, sacrifices and efforts, you have come this far and reached the summit of the first ladder of your education – your elementary graduation. This is indeed a moment of jubilation, a moment of triumph and a moment of elation. My warmest congratulations to all of you and for this ladies and gentlemen, let’s give our graduates a rounding applause. Thanks everyone.

I was surprised one morning when I received a phone call. I was at the midst of cheering my students as they were playing volleyball because we were having our Sportsfest in Bacoor City. I didn’t answer the phone right away until I found myself talking to a former teacher. She was inviting me for a special event and she needed my response at that very moment. Without thinking too long, I gave my answer. And you know what my response was, yes! How could I say no to Ma’am Sylvia Cambe, a great mentor in my elementary years and who has contributed a lot for what I have become. And so, I am here today ladies and gentlemen on this occasion of your 19th Commencement Exercises as your guest speaker.

Today is a very special day not only for you, my dear graduates, but for me as well. After nine years of graduating here in my alma mater, Balaybay Resettlement Elementary School, I am here again to look back from where I came from, to reminisce the good memories, to give thanks to my former mentors and to express my gratitude to this institution which shaped me into a better student, a great leader, a responsible citizen and a value-laden individual.

I remembered so well that afternoon of April 2004 when I was sitting there together with my classmates. I tried my best to capture everything. I witnessed carefully all what was happening that day. I listened attentively to each word from the speakers because that day like today is a moment to cherish.

My dear graduates, today is a moment that will last a lifetime so I invite you to open your minds, your hearts and your ears and try your best to capture every moment. Each word can change your perspective, each story can inspire you and each gesture can provoke you to become better persons.

The theme of your commencement exercises, “Building the Nation’s Future Leaders through the K to 12 Basic Education Program,” is very timely and very appropriate as the Department of Education has started implementing the new educational reform across the country.

Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III said, “Naninindigan pa rin po tayo sa ipinangako nating pagbabago sa edukasyon: ang gawin itong sentral na estratehiya sa pamumuhunan sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman: ang mamamayang Pilipino. Sa K to 12, tiwala tayong mabibigyang-lakas si Juan dela Cruz upang mapaunlad—hindi lamang ang kanyang sarili at pamilya—kundi maging ang buong bansa.” The President is really supportive of this change in our basic education cycle and he believes that this will make a substantial difference in the lives of every Filipino and eventually transform our nation into a progressive one. I hope that we share the same point of view to that of the president.

Ang maghubog ng mga makabagong lider ng ating bansa ay hindi ganoon kadali. Mahirap, komplikado at nangangailangan ng mahabang proseso. Dala na rin ito marahil ng maraming pagbabago, hindi lamang sa ating klima, kundi maging ng mga pagbabago sa ating lipunan, sa teknolohiya at sa iba’t ibang larangan gaya ng ekonomiya, industriya, pulitika at ng ating edukasyon.

Isa sa mga pagbabago sa larangan ng edukasyon natin ngayon ang istandardisasyon ng bilang ng taon ng ating basic education. Mula sa sampung taon, ito ay ginawang 12 taon sa pamamagitan nga ng K+12 Basic Education Program. The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School) to provide su¬fficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

Layunin ng programang ito na maging angkop ang ating sistema ng edukasyon sa pandaigdigang pamantayan. Dahil ang Pilipinas na lamang ang natatanging bansa sa Timog Silangang Asya at isa sa tatlong bansa sa daigdig na may sampung taon sa basic education. Sa pamamagitan po ng K to 12, kayong mga mag-aaral nating Pilipino ay makapagtataglay ng mga kasanayan, kahusayan at pananaw na angkop sa 21st Century.

Tandang-tanda ko pa ang mga unang taon ko rito sa BRES, punong-puno ako ng takot noon. Hindi ko alam kung kakayanin ko ang mga hamong naghihintay sa akin bilang isang mag-aaral dito. Lumipas ang mga taon at nakasanayan ko ang kapaligirang meron ang paaralang ito. Sa aking pananatili dito, natutunan kong makibahagi, makialam at makihalubilo sa aking mga kapwa mag-aaral at maging sa aking mga guro. And I have found myself joining several organizations such as the Pupil Government and the student publication, The Hills and Ang Parola. These organizations, with the guidance of my advisers, really helped me a lot in developing my skills in management and leadership and so my passion for campus journalism. Sa mga samahang ito, nakita ko sa sarili ko na kaya kong mamuno at kaya kong maging isang lider. Ang paaralang ito ang naging saksi kung paano ako lumago hindi lamang bilang isang simpleng mag-aaral kundi maging isang lider-estudyante at mamamahayag pangkampus. That’s why I am very grateful to all my former teachers, most of them are present today, who have inspired me to become what I am today.

Sa paaralan ding ito nakita ko ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon. Nasaksihan ko ang dedikasyon at pagtitiyaga ng aming mga guro upang kami ay matuto, hindi lamang ng mga konseptong meron ang mga aklat kundi ng mga aral ng buhay. I have learned in this institution that education is not all about acquiring knowledge and skills but more than that, education is about learning good values and good attitude.

My dear graduates, now that you are leaving the portals of our alma mater, may you keep all what you have learned especially the good values that you have obtained throughout your schooling. Isa yan sa mga sikreto ko sa patuloy na tagumpay na nakakamit ko, kinakailangan na bilang isang tao, hindi lamang tayo dapat magkaroon ng sapat na karunungan o talino kundi kinakailangan ding maganda ang ating kaasalan at pag-uugali. People will always look at us not only in our intellectual capacity or our achievements in life but in the beauty of our character. Always take note of that.

Hindi ko rin makakalimutan sa eskwelahang ito kung paano nagtiyaga ang aking mga guro na hubugin pa lalo ang aking kahusayan. I remembered those times that I was representing the school in several competitions in the district and in the division levels. It only proves my dear graduates that our school, even before, is aiming for greater excellence. Hindi basta-basta ang mga mga mag-aaral sa eskwelahang ito. Kahit maituturing na nasa bundok tayo, hinding-hindi tayo nagpapahuli sa mga mag-aaral na nagsipagtapos sa ibang eskwelahan. Kaya kapag tinanong kayo kung saan kayo nagtapos ng elementarya, ipagmalaki ninyo na kayo ay produkto ng BRES. You have to be proud of where you came from and you have to learn to learn how to look back.

I am proud to say that I am an alumnus of this institution. My mentors inspired me so much that I also like to become one of them. Yes, my dream of becoming a teacher started here because I really have a high regard for them. Teaching is indeed the noblest profession of all because our job is molding human persons.

Nagtapos ako bilang valedictorian sa eskwelahang ito at ito ay hindi madali para sa akin. Kaakibat ng parangal na ito ang mas mabigat na pananagutan na kailangang mas paghusayan ko pa ang aking pag-aaral. Lahat ng aking mga natutunan dito ang nagsilbing lakas ko sa pag-abot pa ng aking mga pangarap.

Just like what your commencement theme speaks about, education specifically the K to 12 Basic Education Program is believed to be an instrument of building the nation’s future leaders. And I could attest to this.

In October 2007, I entered into the realm of politics and because of the staunch support of the youth of this community, believing in my leadership potentials and my capacity to govern, I was elected as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairman. I know without strong education, I wouldn’t be able to make it. Alam ko na ang edukasyong meron ako ang nagbigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na pagsilbihan ang aking mga kapwa kabataan dito. At dahil sa pambihirang pagkakataong iyon, binigyang prayoridad ko sa aking administrasyon ang edukasyon. Isinulong namin kasama ng aking mga SK Kagawad ang proyektong Brigada Gamit Eskwela kung saan nagbigay kami ng mga libreng school supplies sa mga mag-aaral ng elementarya na hindi ganoon kariwasa sa buhay. Alam ko na sa maliit na paraang ito, we made a difference in the lives of these pupils. You, too, can make a difference, my dear graduates. You just have to believe in yourself that you can contribute something to others and to your community as a whole. There is no such thing as small when it comes to service.

After graduating from high school where I also received the highest honors, I pursued my College education with the help of several scholarship grants. Noong una, nag-aalinlangan ako kung magka-College pa ba ako, mahirap ang buhay, at naisip ko, bakit hindi na lang ako magtrabaho agad? Pero nanaig pa rin sa akin ang natutunan ko sa aking mga guro dito sa BRES, value your education. Kaya ipinagpatuloy ko ang aking pag-aaral hanggang sa makapagtapos ako ng kolehiyo with an Academic Excellence award. Gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, suki ako ng mga scholarship grants. Kaya kayo, mga mahal kong mga magsisipagtapos, if you think you have nothing, try to find a way to have something. Walang mawawala sa inyo kung susubok kayo. Sabi nga nila, failure is possible to those who never try. Malayo ang mararating ninyo kung pipiliin ninyo ang tamang daan. Huwag na huwag kayong patatalo sa mga tukso na meron ngayon ang ating lipunan. At your age, I know you know what I mean. Temptations are everywhere – illegal drugs, smoking, alcohol drinking, early pregnancy. I really hope you can resist all these temptations. You are the future leaders of our nation, my dear graduates, I hope you won’t fail us. Makakaasa ba kami sa inyo? Thank you.

I told you that you are the nation’s future leaders. Sa inyo magmumula ang mga susunod na lider ng iba’t ibang sektor ng ating lipunan. Hindi malayong mangyari na isa sa inyo ang susunod na presidente ng ating bansa o susunod na alkalde ng ating bayan. Walang makapagsasabi kung hindi kayo mismo. If you continue to value your education and imbibe good values, everything is possible. Because education is your passport for a better life. You just have to believe in the power of your dreams!

In a more personal note, I would like also to share with you my leadership journey as I see each one of you as successors of our present leaders. After my term in Sangguniang Kabataan, I did not stop from serving my fellows and my community. The challenge to serve is endless. That’s why, I joined and pioneered several organizations in both the academe and in the community. I worked with my fellow leaders and harmonized our efforts in spearheading worthwhile projects, programs and activities. My colleagues would always ask me, “Dan, hindi ka ba napapagod? Parang hindi uso sa iyo ang pahinga.” And this I always tell them, “Para sa Diyos at sa bayan, lagi tayong may oras.”

Hindi madali ang maging lider pero kung tapat at masaya tayo sa ginagawa natin, hindi tayo mapapagod. At lahat ng ating sakripisyo ay masusuklian sa tamang panahon. At tama nga ako dahil lahat ng aking mga paghihirap bilang lider-kabataan ay nasuklian nang maparangalan ako ng iba’t ibang organisasyon sa ating bansa kamakailan. These rewards I dedicate to all those who molded me into who I am today. Isa na rito ang Outstanding Ayala Young Leader of the Philippines noong February 2011, Outstanding Youth Leader Awardee for Environment noong August 2011, University Excellence in Student Achievement Award noong April 2012, isa sa Ten Outstanding Students of Central Luzon noong April 2012 at isa sa National Finalists ng Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines na ginanap sa Malacanang Palace noong August 2012. I owe all of these achievements of course to God, to my family, to my alma mater and to my mentors. I hope in the near future, my dear graduates, you would also find your trail and be successful in your chosen field.

I am now enjoying my niche as a teacher. And I know, even if I am still young in this profession, I could say that I am already successful because I am able to touch my students’ lives and inspire them to love their passion, to do things in excellence and to be the best they can be.

My dear graduates, you are now well-equipped in facing the next struggles that await you in your next academic journey. You will now be under the K to 12 program as Grade 7 and I believe that you are all ready now as this school has prepared you well enough with the help of course of your untiring and dedicated teachers and the guidance and support of your loving parents. Be grateful to all the people who have contributed in your success most especially to our Almighty God. Always keep reaching your stars as you keep your feet on the ground. Follow excellence and success will chase you. And most importantly, keep your faith and always put God in the center of all your endeavors!

Congratulations my dear graduates and Godspeed!