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Speech: Commencement Exercises – Cavite State University-Carmona Campus

May 24, 2017

Speech of Senator Loren Legarda
Commencement Exercises
Cavite State University-Carmona Campus
24 May 2017 | San Lorenzo Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite

I am glad to be here in the culturally rich province of Cavite and honored to be invited to inspire our new graduates.

The Cavite State University is actually ingrained with American Thomasite-inspired education, established and headed by Charles John Anderson a Harvard Graduate who served as a supervising teacher for the Indang Intermediate School in 1904 before building the Cavite State University in 1906 and eventually spreading out in different parts of Cavite.

I am glad to be here, where the country stood firm and a nation was born, and with you, the heirs of that legacy of sacrifice and success.

I believe I need not go into a lengthy round of giving exhortation and advice. Laying out possible pathways to success for this graduating class would also be superfluous. You know where you are exactly going after college and beyond. At this young age, most of you already have a strong affinity toward a certain career track.

This now gives me the full freedom to talk about four short sentences in a short speech that Steve Jobs delivered at the graduation rites of Stanford in 2005.

Stay hungry.
Stay foolish.
Don’t be trapped by dogmas.
Follow your heart and intuition.

The practical application of the four sentences is quite clear.

If your passion is law, you have to look at the diverse and challenging offerings of the law profession.

Don’t be trapped by the stereotype formulas to success.

You can be a hotshot lawyer in the city, brokering deals, writing the fine print on contracts. You can join the legal staff of old-line law firms, those that charge by the hour. Then work your way to a partnership.

You can be an environmental lawyer, trying cases for the environment. The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Act—to name a few of our landmark environmental laws—seek to ensure the preservation of our resources both in land or in water, and protect our people’s right to a healthful ecology. Despite their lofty aims, these laws are far from fully implemented, leaving our air, forests, sources of water, and our natural environment continuously threatened.

If your inclination is medicine, you can be a top surgeon or a barrio doctor. Follow your heart. Dispel the shallow idea that the barrio doctor cannot have a niche and professional fulfillment. It is doctoring for humanity. You will reap the admiration and love of struggling communities that need medical attention most.

If your love is architecture, you can aspire to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright or Leandro Locsin, who built structures and spaces that changed the world. Or you can design affordable, comfortable, livable mass housing showcasing sustainable architecture and edible gardens. There is glory in both situations.

If you want to teach, the choices are many.

You can be a tenured professor at a top central university. Or a teacher in a far-flung area where the drop-out rate is over 50 per cent.

Follow your heart and your intuition. Be what you want to be. It is only by being so that you can be trailblazers and pioneers.

My own career path was structured and a bit pre-determined.

I grew up in the lively, socially-committed newsroom of the great, pre-martial law Manila Times.

My grandfather Joe Bautista, called the dean of Philippine Journalism, was my role model. Having smelled so much newsroom ink during my formative years, I set out to be a journalist.

For almost two decades, television was my home. I reported news. I anchored an award-winning news program. I produced and wrote for several public affairs programs of which I was also anchor.

All throughout this journalism career, I was the ultimate professional. I stuck to facts, reported fairly and I kept to myself all my personal opinions and beliefs.

Then came the fork on the road.

I shifted to politics and public service. From an unbiased media professional, I became the ultimate advocate for social and economic justice, for the environment, for the voiceless and the faceless Filipinos.

I followed my intuition and my heart. I shifted from unbiased reportage to intense policy advocacy. I broke loose from the confines of impartial journalism to be a partisan for public causes and an advocate of good government.

I have no regrets.

Before I close, I want you to tell more about the glory of the teaching profession. It is on this point that I want to end my short speech.

During the indictment of St. Thomas More, he had a lengthy conversation with the solicitor general who betrayed him, Richard Rich.

At some point, St. Thomas More told Rich, “You’d be a fine teacher. Perhaps – a great one.”

Rich countered: “And if I was, who would know it.”

St. Thomas More answered: “Your students. God. And that is more than enough.”

We all can find glory, fulfillment and recognition in big and small things.

Thank you and good day. (30)