Speech Before the Science City and Community of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
This is my first time to address a science community, the first and only Science City of Muñoz. Thus, I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to all of you, most specially to City Mayor Nestor Alvarez, who is a rare gem in local governance. He is heaven’s gift to the science community of Muñoz.
It is only 19 days before Christmas. And in the spirit of the season, I shall avoid discussing the miseries of the times. Instead, I shall share with you two stories. Stories, after all, inspire us to reach the heights of excellence, in every field. This is my way of contributing to your theme of Excellence in Local Governance Through Science, Technology, Culture and Arts.
In a few days, we all will be hearing the Misa de Gallo. Here is a story.
There was a little boy who went to church for the Misa de Gallo. Strangely, he would go to church after all the churchgoers had gone home. All alone by himself, he would kneel before the Belen and he would pray as if everything depended on the Baby in the manger before him.
After celebration of the last Misa de Gallo, the priest, who had been wondering all the time, waited for the boy and asked: “My little boy, I never saw you during all the Misa de Gallo. You never attended any of them. But why do you come and pray all alone?”
And the boy replied: “Father, I had wanted to be all alone with the Baby Jesus so He could listen very well to my prayers.”
The priest said nothing more, smiled at the boy and wished him Merry Christmas. That was early morning of the 24th.
When the bells rang at midnight, the priest prepared himself to celebrate the Midnight Mass. Something, however, was terribly wrong. The Belen was not complete. There was no Baby Jesus. He has disappeared!
Pragmatic as he really was, the parish priest sent for the sacristan to replace it with another Baby Jesus. And everybody experienced a very inspiring Midnight Christmas Mass.
Sometime in the afternoon of Christmas Day, the very tired priest decided to take a walk in the park. And as he was strolling, he saw a very happy boy whistling the time away and pulling a new cart. This is the boy that the good Padre used to see come to church after the Misa de Gallo – and pray all alone.
The priest slowly approached the boy and asked: “My dear little boy, you look very happy with your new cart. Is this your Christmas gift from the Baby Jesus?” And the boy proudly replied: “Yes, Father, this is all I asked for Christmas. And the Baby Jesus answered my prayers. I wish you Merry Christmas!”
The priest was about to continue his stroll when he noticed something inside the cart. And to his shock, he saw the missing Baby Jesus inside the cart!
The priest could have chosen to get mad and blame the entire world for keeping a thief in so young a boy. He did not. Instead, he calmly asked: “My dear son, the baby Jesus answered all your prayers. But why did you have to steal him from the church?”
Feeling a little embarrassed, the boy replied:
“Father, in all my prayers to the Baby Jesus I promised that should I ever get a new cart, I promised that he would be the first to enjoy the ride! That is how the Baby Jesus got there. And if it is not too much of an asking, Father, will you please help me bring back the Baby Jesus to His father Joseph and His mother Mary inside the Church?”
This is a Christmas story told from ages to ages. The moral lesson is very clear and compelling. A commitment is a commitment; no ifs, no buts.
We will soon be making new resolutions for year 2003. I strongly suggest we make a very strong resolution to make our country free from narcotics and drugs. We must start in our own individual families. And that brings me to yet another story.
I will read to all of you a very touching letter. This was written by a young drug addict in 1997. Before the young boy died, he sent this letter to a columnist, the late Jess Bigornia who published it in the papers in the same year. The letter reads as follows.
Dear Mr. Bigornia,
By the time this letter reaches you, my physical body may have either been buried six feet below or laying in state in a funeral parlor or church receiving empty and hollow words of a necrological service.
But my death will not be in vain if you just print this letter as it is in your column…
I was the teenage son of a ranking government official and, like most children of high government officials and business executives, I was left alone to manage my young life.
My Dad was an honest, dedicated, and able public servant. There was no question about his integrity. Every knows about that. To show his loyalty to the public service, he worked from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday from Monday to Saturday. He was, indeed a model.
My Mom, on the other hand, may have been bored of not seeing my father except during curfew hours. Or, maybe she was out to prove something. So she joined a women’s group and engaged in civic activities, public service, all sorts of ceremonies and social functions.
And nobody was left at home. Except us their children, the maids and the dogs.
As a young boy, I almost had everything in life one would have dreamed and cherished. Except for that one thing that I needed most: parental love, care and concern.
Nothing in this world can replace a parent’s love and I was absolutely and completely denied of that. My father never found time to take me out for vacation where we could freely talk with each other. I needed him very much but he was too busy indoctrinating his subordinates and proving to his kind what a fine example of a public servant he was.
Without that kind of love, what is there to live for?
So, I joined a group of young boys and girls similarly situated like myself. Yes, there tens of thousands like us.
Our parents never forgot a single speaking engagement, birthday party, official or social ceremony, courtesy call and many others. They had secretaries and reminders. Yes, they remembered everything and every occasion. Except their own children and family.
Slowly but surely, I turned myself to drugs to forget how unlucky I was. I committed petty crimes to sustain my addiction. I engaged in sex orgies with similar and opposite sexes. I did almost everything conventional only to attract the attention of my parents.
But all these efforts were in vain.
My father bailed me out when I went to jail. He fixed all the criminal cases in which I was involved. And he gave me money, car, and a bodyguard.
He asked me several times what was wrong with me. But he never realized that it was his affection that I needed most and not the earthly things like power and money.
Hopeless as I was, I decided to wake him up from his endless dream of loyalty and dedication to the government service. But it must be in the manner of the young but lost generation: death by means of drugs.
I still have a living sister, though. And I dedicate my death to her. May she be given the happiness that I utterly missed from my parents.
Mr. Bigornia, please print this letter for the sake of my sister and the rest of my kind.
Perhaps, you and I can create the necessary crusading movement against drugs and narcotics right here. This will be our best Christmas gift ever to our children and grand children. Let us make this crusade our lifetime commitment.
I hope I have expressed my mind in all candor. I want to thank you for you leave.
Once more, congratulations on your 2nd Charter Anniversary.
Thank you very much.