Legarda: Knowledge Without Application Is A Waste Of Brainpower, Awareness Without Action Is A Waste Of Principle

June 24, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda today challenged this year’s graduating batch of the University of the Philippines Diliman to never lose the spirit of inquiry and insatiable curiosity, to always strive for excellence, and to pursue the never-ending aspiration of an Isko and Iska to attain academic freedom and contribute to the betterment of this country.


Legarda, who graduated cum laude from the University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts, major in Broadcast Communications degree, made the statement at the 107th General Commencement Exercises of the University where she herself was the Commencement Speaker and an awardee of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.


Never lose that spirit of inquiry, that insatiable curiosity, about the world and how it works. And when the world fails to work, or begins to fall apart, as we are seeing with our environment, be even more intensely engaged. I insist on knowing why we let this happen, and on knowing what we can do about it,” Legarda said.


“Ask questions not just for the sake of asking them—but because, today, I can and I must help find answers that work. Knowledge without application is a waste of brainpower. Awareness without action is a waste of principle,” Legarda stressed.


Legarda encouraged the graduates to never stop themselves from embracing change because it is part of the development process of humanity and the society. She further underscored that as products of the esteemed university, which is a bulwark of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom, the graduates should devote themselves in the service of the Filipino people and of the country.


“Things change, and things move forward – as they should. Ang pamantasang hindi sumasabay o nangunguna sa pagbabago ay tiyak na mapag-iiwanan ng kaalaman at ng kasaysayan. Ngunit may mga bagay sa UP na hindi maaring magbago magpakailanman- and paglayang minamahal – ang paglaya ng kaisapan, ang paglaya ng pamamahayag, ang paglaya mula sa kahirapan, sa kamangmangan, at sa kaapihan,” Legarda said.


“UP would not be UP if it were not to remain the bastion of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom in this country. UP would not be UP if we were to devote ourselves to anything less than service to the people, in whatever form. UP would not be UP if it did not dare to lead, to be different, and to excel,” Legarda added.


Meanwhile, the Senator shared her life as a student and how her intense desire to learn and understand led her to what she is today.


“I am someone who has never really stopped studying because UP taught me that real learning never ends. I was someone who did all her schoolwork before playing, who stopped chatting on the phone when it was time to study, who preferred the library to the cafeteria, who never cut classes to watch a movie,” Legarda narrated.


“But beyond book learning or getting high grades, studying for me has always been an attitude—a way of looking for answers and solutions, of getting things done at the end of one’s inquiry. I have never stopped asking why, and why not,” Legarda added.


With this mantra in life, Legarda urged students to do the same as they move forward to challenge the daunting truths of the world. She told graduates to never hesitate to act on something that is within their passion and falls on their area of“malasakit”.


“It has been my greatest privilege—apart from becoming a mother to two wonderful sons—to have been able to do something about the causes that move me: the environment and climate, women and children, culture, education, agriculture, health, rural livelihood and our indigenous people,” Legarda said.


“But even as that senator, few people seem to truly understand me, because the causes I espouse are not the ones which make the headlines. Ngunit, ang malasakit naman ay posibleng kani-kaniya. I speak, primarily, of the need to protect and to promote our environment; the need to protect the weak, the dispossessed, and the marginalized in our society; the need to preserve the country’s culture, heritage, and national identity; and the need to provide access to education for all,” Legarda noted.


Meanwhile, the Senator acknowledged that as part of UP commencement traditionshe has to expect a short demonstration at the end of the ceremonies. Legarda invited the demonstrators to say their piece because UP will not be UP without them but she also told them that “when the shouts have died down and when we walk out of this amphitheater to face the rest of our lives, you may discover, as I have, that there are higher forms of, and larger reasons for, protest and affirmation.”


“Someone has to speak up for the earth itself, for nature itself, for the voiceless among us. My work in the Senate is my demonstration against the abuses and inequities that have destroyed our world. But beyond speaking, we need to act, in our respective spheres and communities, to protect the future,” Legarda stressed.


“Samahan po sana ninyo ako sa adhikaing ito, at magkaisa tayo sa pagsasabuhay at pagtaguyod ng ating paglayang minamahal. Ako po, si Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, Student No. 77-09178, saan pa man ako nakarating, ay hindi magbabago ang damdamin,” Legarda concluded.