At a time when United Nations estimates around 3,700 Filipinos leaving the Philippines to work abroad or migrate, a Valenzuela City graduate who topped his class challenged his fellow graduates to stay home and serve.
“Serve the community first! Serve the country first!” Christian T. Pantoja, a cum laude of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) told fellow graduates at the Folk Arts Theater in Pasay City, April 10.
“Dito muna tayo maglingkod sa sarili nating bayan o bansa bago tayo maglingkod sa iba (We should serve here in our own community or country first before we serve others),” the degree holder of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Science made his appeal during PLV’s 10th Commencement Exercises, before an audience of 1,055 graduates and their parents, university and city officials and commencement speaker Golden Arches Development Corporation (Mc Donald’s Philippines) president and CEO Kenneth S. Yang.
This sentiment is in stark comparison to the findings made by a study on education choices and migration intentions, which were presented during the 12th National Convention on Statistics (NCS) in Mandaluyong City in 2013.
The study found that a student who has relatives and friends abroad who encourage migration as well as relatives and friends in the Philippines who encourage migration is 11.75 times more likely to consider migration compared to the average student.
The study also reported data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) revealing, “Filipinos with college level education comprised almost half of the total emigrant population in the past decade.” The number of registered emigrants has grown from 57,720 in 2002 to 83,640 in 2012, an increase of 45%, the study quoted.
In Pantoja’s 20 minute-speech, he extolled graduates of their school to thank the taxpayers who made their schooling possible. “The community subsidized our education. Think of the taxpayers that contributed to your education. Isipin nyo yung mga nagtitinda sa palengke, MMDA, driver, city hall workers, mga magulang ninyo,” he said.
Son of a retired factory worker and a housewife from Brgy. Marulas, the honor student was also a recipient of the Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship Program of the city government for bright yet underprivileged Valenzuelano youth. Pantoja told this writer that his relatives also helped him get through his degree.
“We are [products of the doctrine of] survival of the fittest,’” he said in his speech. “Out of 100 students who entered grade 1, only 14 finished college,” he stressed.
PLV is a city-run tertiary institution whose student population and academic programs have been increasing steadily since its opening in 2002. With only 437 enrollees during its founding year, the university admitted 4,999 students last year. PLV has 19 academic programs designed to sustain the economic and human capital development requirements of Valenzuela City.
Ticket to extraordinary life
Meanwhile, City Mayor REX Gatchalian zeroed in on the importance of education to help uplift one’s economic condition during the 17th Commencement Exercises of Valenzuela City Polytechnic College (ValPoly) at the City Astrodome, in Brgy. Dalandanan, April 14.
“’Yung pinakamalalaking negosyante dito sa Valenzuela City, na-realize ko na madami sa kanila o lahat sila ay mga ordinaryong Valenzuelano who make extra ordinary things happen (The biggest businessmen here in Valenzuela City, I realized that most of them were ordinary Valenzuelanos who made extra ordinary things happen.),” the chief executive said. “The education that they hold is their ticket to have an extra ordinary life.”
The mayor said the city government is continuously investing for quality education for the “ordinary citizens” so they will have the competitive advantage to make “an extra ordinary life after school.”
He further inspired the graduates telling them that the local government strongly believes on what these ordinary youth can do to make the city extraordinary.
ValPoly, another city-administered institution offering 25 four-year courses and technical and vocational programs has 692 graduates this year.
Graduates with Latin Honors
From PLV, cumlaude: Naffy M. Alinsub, Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Science; Demar G. Bayona, Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Science; Mary Ruth Luster S. Regalado, Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English; Christian T. Pantoja, Secondary Education Major in Biological Science.
From ValPoly, magna cum laude: Daryl Hifi C. Chongco, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electronics Technology; Edwin S. Francisco, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electrical Technology; Melvin L. Padrinao, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electrical Technology; cum laude: Raymond M. Latoy, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electronics Technology; Raymar B. Paguio, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electrical Technology; Jilian T. Parohinog, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electrical Technology; Helbert B. Tedoso, Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education Major in Electronics Technology.