A LETTER TO ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS

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A LETTER TO ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS

Topic |  
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boholano-thumbby Jose “Pepe” Abueva

Dear College Students: You are young women and men who will be graduating from College to begin your professional life as young citizens and leaders of our country. Some of you will pursue graduate work in a university and then also become professionals and leaders a few years later.

Certainly, you are all entitled to enjoy your life as students and young citizens and to have good memories of your youth in college and university. As it is also our responsibility as teachers to do our best to enable you to learn well and be satisfied and fulfilled with your schooling with us.

But we believe you also have the serious responsibility of learning well, because you are preparing yourself for your life as young professionals and leaders in our country.

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You may be in the private practice of your profession, or work in a family enterprise. Or you may work in the government, in a business organization, in a community, or in a civil society or non-government organization (NGO). Someday, you may even seek election to a government office.

Meanwhile, we, your teachers, are doing our best to make you well aware of the true state of our country and our people.

We suffer so much inequality and injustice. Most of our people are poor and insecure, and unable to provide for the health and education of their family. Many are jobless or under-employed. Homeless, or live in inhumane slums. They are often unable to provide the health and education they need. While they see fellow citizens who are well-to-do and live in luxury in the gated communities of our cities.

There is so much violence and killing in our country that many citizens are displaced from their homes and communities. In 2014 the Philippines ranked 134 among 162 countries in the Global Peace Index. This means that we ranked very high in violence and very low in peacefulness.

The Philippines is identified as a “Soft State” and our democracy is known to be seriously flawed. For one it is ruled by an oligarchy, or by the rich and powerful family dynasties that our Constitution declares should be prohibited by law, but are not.

Article II of our Constitution declares that “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” This is the ideal defined by law but it is not the reality. For many of our citizens who are poor and insecure are dependent on our elected leaders for patronage: jobs, protection, and material support.

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So they are not empowered to influence or check the conduct of elected or appointed government officials. Only those in the upper and middle classes are politically empowered and can effectively participate in governance and hold our elected leaders accountable to some extent.

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Our serious ills and mal-governance inspired the framers of our 1987 Constitution to declare our lofty and inspired vision of building “a just and humane society” and “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.”

Christianity and Islam also enjoin us to love God and one another, respect human dignity, and live together in peace, freedom, and solidarity.

Let us emphasize that our politics, government, and governance as an aspiring democracy require serious reforms in our political institutions that require not only new laws but also amendments to our 1987 Constitution. In particular we need to transform our old, obsolete and dysfunctional Unitary System and Presidential Government to a more responsive and functional and accountable Federal-Parliamentary Republic of the Philippines. In this respect our leaders and citizens have so much more to learn and discuss together so that they can fulfill our constitutional vision of our ideal society and ideal democracy.

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So, dear College students, we appeal to your nationalism, and your adherence to our faith, to be serious students and prepare yourselves to serve our country and our people to the best of your knowledge and capability and dedication to help them to fulfill our constitutional vision of building “a just and humane society” and our ideal democracy.

Mabuhay kayong lahat!  Jose “Pepe” Abueva

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Dear College Students: Our own Kalayaan College in Metro Manila adopted its vision and mission that I am sharing with you now. I led a small group of senior faculty members from the University of the Philippines in 2000 to establish Kalayaan College. And I still serve as the KC  President, and as Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration in the University of Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Our Vision. To be a leading center of learning, educating our share of tomorrow’s professionals and leaders who are committed to the ideal of building a just and humane society, fulfilling the material and spiritual needs of our nation, and contributing to global peace and human development.

Our Mission. To nurture in our students the needed values, knowledge, skills and commitments in a caring community of learners enjoying academic freedom and in touch with the larger community and the world.

Our Core Values. These are linked to the national vision embodied in the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land, and to KC’s own commitments as an institution of higher learning  reflected in its own Vision statement, namely:

  1. Helping build “a just and humane society….” (Preamble, 1987 Constitution);
  2. Helping build “democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace….” (Preamble, 1987 Constitution);
  3. Learning for truth, professional competence, and leadership for the common good; and
  4. Contributing to global peace and human development.
  5. A spiritual dimension to learning. Relating life and learning to spiritual values and ethical norms and behavior.

My email is pepevabueva@gmail.com. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

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