In behalf of the City Government of Naga, let me say that I am very pleased with the new breed of ALS graduates who will soon be our comrades in maintaining and improving the city’s socio-economic status. We know that the youth holds the key to the city’s bright future as you will be the next stewards of this community we call Maogmang Lugar. The sustainability and advancement of the gains of our present efforts are on your hands. Whether you will continue from what we have built, or disdain them and create new ones is for you to decide – although we hope, of course, that you will choose the former.
Nevertheless, whatever road you opt to take, we trust that we have not been remised of our obligation to empower you and to equip you with the necessary proficiencies and knowledge to live productive and dignified lives. Experiencing first-hand the power of education to uplift one’s socio-economic status, it has always been my personal goal to ensure that Nagueňos have equitable access to quality education. Hopefully, the Quality Universal Education and Empowerment in Naga, or QUEEN Program, and the Summer Enhancement and Enrichment Program (SEEP) have been of great help to our graduates.
After you step outside of the portals of your alma mater, there will be a new environment, new people and, most of all, new opportunities waiting for you. A high school diploma is like a master key. It opens many doors. You will be faced with numerous options and, along with them, challenges that will test your capabilities and the strength of character. May the lessons you have learned in these past years of basic education be your guide towards making the wise decision.
I hope that one of the wise options you will take, with the assistance of your parents, is to pursue your college education. Personally, it is one of my cleverest decisions. Just like most of you, I am also born to a humble family. My father was a farmer, while my mother was a weaver and laundry woman. Education has moulded me to become the person that I amnow. I could therefore say that good education cancels out poverty. It is a great equalizer.
Money is not always a prerequisite to achieve one’s dreams. Perseverance, patience and skills are also ladders to success. I assure you: Malayo rin ang mararating ng isang tao na kahit walang laman o kaya butas ang bulsa ay may pusong matatag at hindi madaling matinag.Always remember your graduation theme: “Hindi natitinag ang pusong Pilipino.”
There are a lot of opportunities out there if we seek them out.In Naga City, we have the Tertiary Scholarship Programwhich is always open for those who are really determined to study but are deprived of financial capability to do so. It is also available for those who wish to enrol in skill-based or vocational courses which graduates are presently in demand. Under the program, scholars will also be assisted in obtaining gainful employment either in the City Government itself or in any agency or entity, whether public or private, thus ensuring that their abilities are well-utilized for the upliftment of their family’s socio-economic status and for the sustainable and inclusive development of our economy and society as a whole.By helping yourself and your family, you are also helping your city.
I am pretty sure that in the past each one of you had made sacrifices as well as experience hardships and failures. And more are coming your way because hardships and failures are normal things in life.
I am sure you know the great Michael Jordan? To him, as it is to me, failure is the key to success. He said:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
So continue with your dreams. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars. Do not be afraid to try, for you have only failed if you have failed to try.
My dear graduates, you are the authors of your respective lives. Congratulations and happy graduation!