Education, the Best Way Out of Misery

Speech at the Recognition Program of Cavite State University, Indang, Cavite

As a Senator of the Republic, born and raised in our own historic province. I am very happy and honored to be part of today’s Recognition Day of the Cavite State University. 

To all the awardees, as well as their friends, the administration, faculty and staff of Cavite State University, I want to convey my highest admiration. The students are this nation’s future leaders and administrators. Let us continue to guide them to the right path. Ours is a non-negotiable responsibility.

To the awardees and other students, life is really worth living. It is a gift from heaven. Yours is to improve on it. That will be your best gift to the Creator. Do not give up. If someday you intend to give up, remember this advice: Just when you are about to give up, stand up and make a difference.

Thank your parents every day. Thank you teachers every time. And do not forget to return to your alma mater. She will be there waiting.

To all the parents who are here, let me make a statement. The most precious legacy you can bequeath to your children is good formal education. Stop working for yourselves. Continue working for the children. They are God’s gifts to us on earth.

The recognition of our awardees today show they have succeeded. Now they can celebrate what it means to be good. They really are.

To the parents, do not ask your children to make you rich. Only encourage them to make their best choices.
Do not dictate their dreams. Only inspire them to live their own lives the right way.

Do not play god to them. Only ask them to develop a personal relationship with the Creator.

To all the teachers goes my perpetual admiration. Without teachers, there are no students. Without teachers, there can never be leaders. Hold on to the fort and keep the faith alive, afresh, and afire.

Because we are children of one and the same generous Father in heaven, we have no right to be poor. Because we are children of one and the same creative Father in heaven, we have every faculty to have everything we need on this earth.

But why are the majority of the six billion people in this world poor? Why are the majority of the 75 million Filipinos poor?

Some say because they are not born with rich parents. It is impossible for everyone to be born with rich parents. Others say because they are not entrepreneurial. It is not likely for everyone to be an entrepreneur.

Still some others say because they are not doing illegal things. And nobody in his right senses would want to be rich thru violence and crime.

Yet, there is a way out. It is EMPLOYABLE FORMAL EDUCATION. Education may not be everything; IT IS THE ONLY THING.

To all students, I have this to say to you. You can avoid poverty – perhaps, you will even have wealth – only and only when you are an expert on something that benefits the bigger majority of people.

This means two things. One, you must be an expert in what you are doing. Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice. Two, you must have a clientele that is benefited by your expertise. Relate to people. Never be an island. Do not be a solitaire.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. God does not cook the food for us. He can only create our hands which we must use to cook what we want. More importantly, He gave us human beings who can employ our services. That is what the second requirement means.

In this age of globalization, he who has knowledge, will never become poor. And he who has specialized knowledge, may even become wealthy.

And so, my friends, what is the most effective way out of poverty? It is still formal education, such as the Cavite State University is giving you.

But the university can only help you with the foundation. You have to build the pillars. You have to create the roof. You have to complete the house.

Your best university will be your continuing professional education. Education is never a dead-end.

In closing, let me leave you a few points to govern your life:

One, live a life of principles. Principle must never be made second to priviliege. If you commit that mistake, you are bound to lose both.

Two, let me suggest to you a very simple principle to go by: What is right, must be kept right. What is wrong, must be set right. Believe me. It was my guiding principle when I was Chief of the PNP. It is still my guide as a Public servant.

Three, learn to become a leader and a manager. You can lead only if you have the moral courage to do what is right. You can manage only if you have the professional courage to do the right things well.

Four, if you want to be a politician, don’t. A politician places the nation at his service. But if you want to be a statesman, please do so. A statesman places himself at the service of his nation.

Once more, I want to congratulate all of you.

Get moving and don’t rest on your laurels.

Thank you very much.