President Macapado Muslim, Chancellor Sukarno Tanggol, Chancellors, Alumni Regent Roberto Lim, Regents, General Dan Lucero, Vice Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Administrators, Faculty Members, Staff, Parents, Guests, my dear Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Congratulations sa Class 2013.
Maraming kuwento tungkol sa numerong thirteen.
Ayon sa marami, suwerte raw ang numerong thirteen.
Kapag nagiging trese na ang isang batang lalaking Hudyo, ginagawa siyang Bar Mitzvah. Ayon sa Torah ng mga Hudyo at ayon na rin pati sa ilang mga Kristiyanong simbahan, mismong ang Panginoong Diyos ay may labintatlong katangian. Labintatlo ang mga colonies sa America na lumaban sa imperyalismo ng mga Ingles. Ang mga pyramid sa Egypt ay binubuo ng labintatlong hakbang na sumasagisag sa pitong araw at anim na gabi. Sa musika, kung ang gagamitin nating paraan ng pagbibilang ay ang tinatawag na “inclusive counting,” labintatlo ang nota sa isang octave. At naririyan ang bandang heavy metal na ang Megadeth; noong 2011 inilunsad nila ang kanilang ikalabintatlong album na may labintatlong track at, natural, pinamagatang thirteen.
Sa kabilang banda, inaakala rin namang malas ang numerong thirteen. Friday the 13th. Apollo 13. Sa tarot, ang ikalabintatlong baraha ay ang Card of Death. Ang ilang Kristiyano ay naniniwala na ang 13th man sa Last Supper ay si Hudas, pero mali iyon, dahil labindalawa ang apostoles kaya ang 13th man ay si Hesus mismo. Mayroon pa ngang syndrome sa sikolohiya na tinatawag na Triskaidekaphobia, o irrational avoidance of the number thirteen. Kabilang sa mga sira ulo na ganito ang sakit ang maraming gumagawa ng elevator at mga matataas na gusali.
Sa totoo lang, kahit aling numero, hindi lamang ang numerong thirteen, ay inaakalang suwerte ng iba at malas ng iba. Halimbawa’y ang numerong four. Kapag nagpunta kayo sa bansang Tsina, mapapansin ninyo na maraming mga gusali ang walang Fourth Floor at wala ring Fourteenth Floor. Sa Mandarin kasi, at paumanhin sa mga marunong ng Mandarin sa inyo dahil isa lang ang aking tono at hindi apat, ang numerong Four o sì ay kahawig ang tunog sa salitang sĭ na ang ibig sabihin ay kamatayan.
The number 2013, I am sure, will soon have its own share of believers and unbelievers.
What is lucky and what is unlucky? What is good luck and what is bad luck? Sino ang suwerte? Sino ang malas? Ano ang suwerte? Ano ang malas?
Today, I want to talk about luck.
You have been very lucky so far. You once had a dream of getting a degree from MSU-IIT and you have now fulfilled it. You have worked hard. You have sacrificed a lot. Your parents have sacrificed a lot. But now that your dream has been fulfilled, you must start working on your next dream. This is where you will need a lot more luck.
In 1854, in a lecture at the University of Lille, the French microbiologist who first realized that germs cause disease once said, “Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.” In English, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Sa Filipino, “Kung handa ka, siguradong suwesuwertehin ka.”
You have heard horror tales about college graduates not being able to find jobs. This is the infamous “mismatch” that employers like to talk about and that educators worry about every day. I call it the “Fear of the Mismatch.”
That fear has caused the Commission on Higher Education to change the curriculums of various major programs many times. That fear started the K to 12 reform of the Department of Education, back in the days of President Erap Estrada and now fulfilled in the days of President Noynoy Aquino. That fear has made us look beyond our shores to the educational systems of other countries, such as that of Europe, with its dual-tech educational systems and the Bologna Process.
Just like any fear, the fear of the mismatch is a good fear. It keeps educators on their toes. It keeps employers a reason to put money into the educational system. It keeps our country from complacency.
Should you also fear a mismatch between what you learned at MSU-IIT and what you will face during your first job interview?
Ang sagot ko: suwertihan lang iyan.
Baka suwertehin kayo na makahanap ng kompanya na naghahanap ng taong may talino at galing na swak na swak sa inyong talino at galing. Puwede rin naman na malasin kayo at ibang klaseng talino at galing pala ang hinahanap ng kompanyang gusto ninyo sanang pasukan.
Tomorrow, and perhaps you have already done it, you will send out your first résumés. Before you do that, before you do anything at all, in fact, tonight, after you are done with your graduation parties, sit down quietly by yourself and ask yourself, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?
I will answer that for you. You want to help your family. You want to help your province or region. You want to help our country. You want to help the world.
Iyun lang naman talaga ang dapat na sagot sa tanong na iyan. Gusto ninyong mabuhay hindi para sa inyo sarili, kundi para sa pamilya ninyo, para sa magiging anak ninyo, para sa komunidad ninyo, para sa bansa natin, para sa mundo.
It is really that simple. You should spend the rest of your life helping others. Not yourself. Definitely not yourself. You know why? Because if you think only of yourself, if you want only to help yourself, no employer is ever going to hire you. Employers want you because they want you to help their companies. They will not hire you if all you want is a big or a bigger salary, if you want to have all sorts of benefits immediately, if you just want to sit down doing nothing. They are not interested in what they can do for you. They are interested in what you can do for them.
But if they see that you are interested not in yourself but in something bigger than yourself, they will be interested in you.
Let me shift abruptly to the big picture, the national picture. Kana sa gamay nga paglantaw sa mga butang, ari ta sa mas dakong paglantaw, sa national nga hulagway. Bag-o lang gikahimaya sa gobiyerno na ang nasod kay nakab-ot ang estado sa investment grade. Daghang ekonomista ang nag-ingon nga parehong maayo o dili ang pagbatud nato og investment grade. Maayo tungod kay ang nasod makahulan og kwarta sa ubos nga interest og daghan dolyares ang musulod sa nasod. Pero ang investment grade kay dili pud maayo tungod kay ang kantidad sa peso kay mubaskog og tungod ani magpaubos sa kantidad sa foreign currency na ginapadala sa mga Pilipino nga gatrabaho sa abroad diri sa ilang pamilya sa Pilipinas og nagpadako sa higayon nga makusog ang pagkawala sa call center industry tungod kay mas daghan dolyares o mas mumahal ang sweldo sa mga trabahante og tungod ani posible mobiya ang mga foreign companies nga naa diri sa Pilipinas aron mangita og nasod nga mas barato ang labor costs. Suwerte ta na investment grade nata. Malas pud ta na investment grade na ta.
A little bit earlier, Forbes magazine proudly announced that fifteen Filipinos are dollar billionaires. Is that good or bad? It is good because it means that we have a lot of money in our country. It is bad because it means that only fifteen people or fifteen families have money. The rest of us are, to put it simply, poor. Of course, it is not true that there are only fifteen families that have money. According to economists, there are forty. But fifteen or forty are still very, very few, compared to the millions of families that are poor. If you want numbers, look up the National Statistics Office figures on unemployment. In October 2012, the unemployment rate was 6.8%. It was only 6.4% in October 2011. In October 2011 the country gained 2.1 million jobs. In October 2012 the country lost 882,000 jobs. Suwerte ba tayo o malas?
Let me now abruptly return to the small picture, which turns out to be the big picture.
There is one economic indicator that should hit home in Iligan. According to economists and other experts, the “new growth pole” in the country is Mindanao. This is where the country will rise or fall. Mindanao has always been called the new frontier. This year, 2013, it is literally true. Manila is hopeless. Luzon is hopeless. The Visayan islands are stuck. The country will move forward only if – I should say when – Mindanao moves forward.
Sa madaling sabi, suwerte kayo at dito kayo nag-aral sa Mindanao. Suwerte kayo dahil ang katawan, isip, at puso ninyo ay nasa Mindanao. Nasa Mindanao kasi ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Wala sa Maynila. Wala sa Cebu. Wala sa Visayas. Narito, sa Mindanao.
You are lucky because you are in Mindanao. You are right here where the action is. You are lucky because you studied in a school that is rooted solidly in Mindanao. You are lucky because you graduated from a school that has never deviated from its tradition of academic excellence in many fields, particularly science and technology. You have been well-prepared for the task that you now face.
What is the task that you now face?
It is to propel Mindanao to its position of leadership. It is to be the pilot in the ship that is the country. It is to be the leader of the almost a hundred million Filipinos ready to become, if we will believe the foreign press, the next Asian tiger.
You are really riding the tiger. The Chinese say (forgive my lack of tones), Ch’i ‘hu nan hsia pei. That means, roughly, “kung nakasakay ka sa isang tigre, huwag kang bababa, dahil kakainin ka ng tigre; kailangang manatili kang nakasakay sa tigre hanggang makaabot ka sa gusto mong marating.” The Philippines is a tiger, but more precisely, it is Mindanao that is the tiger. You are riding the tiger. If you dismount, you will die; we will all die. You hold in your hands the survival of the country. Forget Manila. Forget Luzon. Forget the Visayas. Think Mindanao. Do not migrate to Luzon. Do not migrate to other countries. Hindi naman tayo kailangan sa ibang lugar at sa ibang bansa. Maraming ibang bansa na makukunan nila ng enhinyero, ng duktor, ng alila, ng yaya, ng puta, ng seaman, ng nars, ng caregiver, ng mekaniko, ng kung anuano pang uri ng OFW. Pabayaan na ninyo ang mga nasa Luzon at Visayas ang mangibang bansa. Wala kayong dahilan na lumipat sa Maynila, sa Cebu, o sa ibang bansa, dahil narito, narito sa Mindanao, ang naghihintay na yaman ng bayan at ng mundo.
The Philippines needs Filipinos. We need you right here, right here in Mindanao.
If you ask me, what exactly should you do, I will answer very simply, I don’t know, you don’t know, nobody knows. But that is why luck is very important. Louis Pasteur did not know that he would discover germs. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen did not know that he would discover X-rays. Thomas Edison did not know he could make a light bulb. They were all lucky, because they were all prepared. You will be lucky, because you have been well-prepared.
What is the next big thing? What is it that will make Mindanao, that will make the country, the next Asian tiger? What will make us a rich nation, richer than Singapore, richer than South Korea, richer than China? I don’t know, you don’t know, nobody knows, nobody knows right now, but you will know, you will know it the moment you suddenly, without warning, discover it, think of it, make it, do it. Chance favors the prepared mind. Kung handa ka, siguradong suwesuwertehin ka. You have been well-prepared by MSU-IIT. You have been well-prepared to become lucky. Suwerte kayo dahil nag-gradweyt kayo sa MSU-IIT. Suwerte kayo dahil dito kayo nakatira sa Mindanao. Suwerte kayo dahil kayo ang mag-iimbento, ang makatutuklas, ang makakaisip ng bagong kung anuman na magpapayaman sa wakas sa ating bayan.
What can you do, in the concrete? First, of course, you must thank Allah, Panginoon, God, or whatever the name is of the ultimate being that you pray to, that you have received an excellent preparation for life. Second, you must look back at what you have learned, make sure that you keep what you have learned in your head, fill in the gaps that you feel you missed when you were absent or late for class. Third, you must keep your imagination open. Do not be imprisoned in the last century, the twentieth century. Do not be afraid to venture out into the unknown. You are living in frontier land. You are leading the country. Everybody is behind you, not in front of you. You are the only ones in front. In front of you is open space, open possibilities, open everything. You are leading us, you are leading every Filipino, to places where human imagination has not been, where – as Star Trek would put it – no one has gone before. Kayo ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Kayo ang pag-asa ng ating mundo. Kayong mga gradweyt ng Class 2013.
2013 is a lucky number.
Daghang salamat. Shukran. Maraming salamat po. Mabuhay kayo! Mabuhay tayong lahat!
(Delivered as the commencement address at the Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology, 8 April 2013)