Iskolar ng Bayan: Two Graduation Rites

April 27, 2008 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

For some reasons I had to attend two graduation rites: one at NCPAG on April 25 and another at the College of Engineering the following day.

At the entrance to the NCPAG, one sees this huge billboard announcing the name of the college with this in caps: “PAGLINGKURAN ANG SAMBAYANAN” (or Serve the People).

The graduating students of NCPAG were correctly referred to as “iskolar ng bayan” by their professors. Their commencement speaker, UP Century Man Engr. Fernando Javier had a message for them:”As Iskolar ng Bayan, continue to impact upon the lives of others, especially those in need.”

Earlier in his speech he had this assessment of the current situation:

“There is moral degeneration. Corruption and dishonesty are rampant everywhere. Thousands of lives need to be uplifted and rights and freedoms must continue to be protected… .I urge you to stand up and be united in the struggle to fight corruption and moral degeneration in our environment.”

He of course earned a warm applause from the young graduates.

Early the next day I was at the Engineering graduation where the Class Valedictorian, a BSChE summa cum laude graduate, Carla Co, started her speech with a recall of the Tshirt graffiti, bragging, “Eh, ano kung uno ka? Engineering ka ba?” She ended her speech with her own reply, now humbled: “Eh, ano kung Engineering ka? May gagawin ka ba?”, presumably about using their engineering know-how in a country that is still mainly agricultural. .

The answer to her question would have been a very easy “Napakaraming gagawin” if the country is amidst a determined and sustained program of modernizing agriculture and achieving full-scale national industrialization.

There were hundreds of graduates, 58 of them with honors. Combined with the people who toil and sweat, they can become an important part of a great force for national development — if provided the opportunities and effectively mobilized.

She also mentioned about their being iskolar ng bayan in the same way that the NCPAG speaker also mentioned the phrase.

But in all their pronouncements about being “iskolar ng bayan” it seemed to me that something about their being “iskolar para sa bayan” is not grasped well, much less completely understood. This is perhaps the best time for a gentle reminder that they are “iskolar para sa bayan” and they should act that part. Happily, many already do.

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