BESTLiNK COLLEGE OF THE PHILIPPINES, NOVALICHES, QUEZON CITY—celebrated its 8th commencement exercises with the CHED commissioner Nenalyn Palma Defensor as guest speaker last April 29, 2011 at PICC, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
Having the CHED commissioner as the main speaker of the graduation day is a history in the making. It is indeed first time in BCP where two big time personalities (full-sisters) became its guest speakers: a senator and a commissioner
CHED COMMISSIONER’S SPEECH
BESTLiNK College of the Philippines: Overcoming today’s challenges, shaping tomorrow’s success.
By: DR. NENALYN P. DEFENSOR
Commissioner, Commission on Higher Education
Commencement Exercise Speech
BESTLiNK College of the Philippines, Novaliches, Quezon City
29 April 2011
Thank you for the invitation to grace this occasion.
Consistent with the national philosophy of the Commission on Higher Education, your institution endeavors to empower every graduate to become responsible citizens and in the process serve the needs of our nation as well as the global community.
Today, as we joyfully celebrate the achievements of Class 2011, we also pay tribute to their parents, benefactors and loved ones who have shown undivided loyalty and unparalleled sacrifice in order for these young men and women to reach this stage of development. Likewise, I would like to thank our school officials, teachers, and hardworking school personnel who strive hard to provide our community with quality education and service notwithstanding budgetary constraints and limited material resources. They are our unsung heroes and heroines, whose noble acts of courage, humility, and generosity will forever be remembered with deep respect and admiration. Their leadership, vision and determination help propel our country to achieve social development and economic progress. They deserve our commendation and support.
Be a Sign of Contradiction
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” says an ancient Chinese proverb. Your journey started the day when you first entered the threshold of your institution. At this moment you are now ready to leave and continue your journey in the real world. I tell you the challenges are enormous but I am confident that with God’s grace you will overcome them. However, once you hurdle the test and temptations of the world you will not only survive but you will also grow in knowledge and in wisdom.
You are now ready to take on the challenge of people scrutinizing your opinion as experts in your chosen field of specialty. You will be called on to preside over matters of importance. And on that occasion you will rise to dispense your wise judgment that shall determine the quality of life of your fellowmen. This will encourage you to perform your duties efficiently. Exemplify the virtues of justice, fairness, equality, and compassion. Respect the dignity of the office that you will represent and always uphold the truth. However, I encourage you to also be a sign of contradiction in the marketplace of divergent ideas and interests. Do not chime with the voices of the majority in the name of expediency, at the expense of your principles and moral values. As aptly described by Alexis de Tocqueville: it is our inescapable moral obligation “to assist one another and … willingly sacrifice a portion of time and property for the welfare of the nation.” The Church also reminds us that as social beings we have a moral and social responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. We depend upon each other for the fulfillment of our needs and the development of our potentials through mutual service and through fraternal dialogue so we may be able to rise to our common destiny.
Knowledge the Crowning Glory of Man
I am strongly convinced that your decision to attend BESTLiNK Institute of Information Technology was greatly influenced by your desire to obtain a well-rounded education. During the Renaissance era, the primordial goal of liberal education was patterned after the Aristotelian concept of “the educated person.” That means he or she should be “critical” in other fields outside the domain of his or her specialty. It is called liberal education because it liberates the possessor from ignorance, fatalism, and social exclusion that consign the unlettered man to the base of the social hierarchy. Thus, acquirement of knowledge and skills are the crowning glory of man.
In the twentieth century, the windfall of numerous scientific discoveries and technological innovations dramatically accelerated the pace of social development and economic progress. No other period recorded in human history has witnessed such gigantic leap. Aerospace engineering allowed men to explore outer space, and install satellite transmitters that enabled us to have a clearer picture of our cable TV, to navigate the internet, and communicate with people in other continents by using the cellular phone. Genetics, molecular chemistry, biology, and physics revolutionized the art of healing. What was impossible in the past has now become commonplace.
Today, in the 21st century, implantation of the human embryo, laser surgery, DNA determination and re-engineering, and lately, cloning are now part of our expanding technology. These are just few examples of the sterling scientific inventions that improve our quality of life.
Evidently, it is no longer impossible for the “educated man” to gain mastery about everything outside of his or her domain of specialty, considering the immense body of information and constantly changing technology. Hence, the education and training given by your school has prepared you to be able to compete with other experts in your own field.
Today we are confronted with the challenges of the Information Age. It is transforming the way we work. It is transforming the way we live. It is transforming the way we communicate. In fact, the Philippines is acknowledged as the text capital of the world. The information age is also transforming the way our society works.
There’s no denying that we are in a worldwide downturn. Governments are in debt; jobs are being cut; and people pain because of it. However, an IT education may be your label out of the slump and into a fulfilling and stable career. IT is still very much in demand because of its universality. IT technicians are needed whether one works in television, marketing, communication, client check and other fields. IT can open doors to more than just the usual jobs. For example, it can provide stable jobs for webmasters, graphic designers and programmers. This trend will continue for as long as the internet attracts millions of users. Information technology exist everywhere and this is why it’s important to take advantage of the skills which you possess.
Six months ago, I was in India and the Philippines was on the front page of the Economic Times, the no. 1 business newspaper in India. It said, “Philippines to turn call centre capital of the world.” The article voiced concern that firms such as CISCO, HSBC, T-Mobile and others are moving to the Philippines to avoid India’s high staff turnover. They cited as advantages from the Philippines the following: better affinity with the American culture, lack of competing industries for a skilled workforce and higher tax incentives. By this time, we should be acknowledged as the call center capital of the world.
Likewise, the graduates of Hotel and Restaurant Management will not have difficulty in finding jobs if people will continue to travel worldwide. As Commissioner, I attend a lot of meetings both locally and internationally. Almost all hotels abroad have Filipinos in their employ. It is very touching to be welcomed by a Filipino in a foreign land. I look forward to being welcomed by a BESTLiNK graduate in the future.
Education and Globalization
What does a college education mean? The distinguished French philosopher, mathematician and mystic, Blaise Paschal wrote: “Not only does each individual progress from day to day, but mankind as a whole constantly progresses … in proportion as the universe grows older.” Our intellectual development and the enhancement of our potentials depend on the nature of the information that we receive. In essence, the quality of education that we obtain from our school is crucial to our success and survival in this highly competitive world.
Paul F. Kennedy, an eminent contemporary political scientist and author of Preparing for the Twenty First Century, succinctly emphasized that one of the “key elements” in the preparation of the “global society for the 21st century” is education. Social experts have sounded the alarm that the gravest predicament the global society is facing is the need for massive education of all citizens as a deterrent to human-induced catastrophe due to overpopulation, destruction of ecology and man’s capacity to cause massive destruction.
In order to achieve economic prosperity and strengthen the fabric of society we must embark in improving the quality of education in our country. We must increase the awareness of our people about the importance of ecology, multicultural diversity, religious tolerance, good governance, ethical values, social capital and protection of women and children. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. Another crucial factor in “the emerging universal culture” is language. It is not enough that the Filipino has technical expertise. It is equally important for him or her to have an excellent command of the English language, which is “the world’s principal language of wider community.” In line with this thinking, I would like to believe that BESTLiNK Institute of Information Technology has prepared its graduates for the challenges of this millennium.
Builders of the Edifice
My dear graduates I am almost certain that many of you will soon join the great mass of those who will not only seek local jobs but also abroad as well as many who will seek greener pastures far and wide.
In the event that you choose this alternative path, I earnestly ask you that in your journey carry with you our great Filipino culture and tradition, with a sense of pride tempered with humility. Show to the world the true nature of our race- honest, compassionate, intelligent, loving, kind, industrious and God-fearing. You are the ambassadors of goodwill that will represent the Filipino nation in different parts of the globe.
We your teachers, parents, family members and friends will feel a deep sense of pain and emptiness thinking of the inevitable- your departure from the portals of your beloved alma mater. But we take comfort in the thought that the world needs you. Continue the good works your countrymen have started. Let the world know that the Filipino is a noble man and woman, cultured, educated, and always ready to serve. We will always remember you in our thoughts and prayers.
And when that moment comes, wherever you will be situated, always remember, what a Filipino novelist said, although you will “travel, in another sense you will never leave the place of your birth” – our motherland, the only place on earth that you can claim to be your own. You can change your identities but you can never change your culture.
Bearers of Light in the New Millennium
In conclusion may I share this thought: no one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the lamp.
To our new graduates my parting words is this: carry the lamp of knowledge; hold it high that others may see as you travel in the long night of your intellectual journey. Along the way, be mindful of the debilitating and grinding poverty that afflict our people in the lowest ladder of the social hierarchy. Think of helping us your elders to uplift the poor and transform them to become highly productive citizens like you. Be the torch bearers in the new path of the career you have chosen and let your works herald the dawn of a new age that will inspire and invigorate a global village.
I wish to thank you all for the honor you have bestowed by inviting me to be a part of this memorable journey. Mabuhay at Maluwalhating Pagtatapos!