Congressman Rene Lopez Relampagos of the First District of Bohol and Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, graced the 7thÂ commencement exercises of the Bohol Island State University â€“ Balilihan Campus last Thursday, March 17 as the ceremonyâ€™s guest speaker.
With the theme â€œOnward towards a Sustainable ASEAN Integration,â€ Relampagos shared his thoughts on how could the fresh graduates successfully compete and promote sustainable development now that the country is one with the rest of the other nine Southeast Asian nations in the ASEAN Economic Community. According to him, â€œto conquer the obstacles and attain a robust economy and viable growth, we need to be Filipinos.â€
â€œMany Filipinos have proven themselves in many different fields.Â We have kababayans who excelled in governance, sports, arts, business, entertainment, technology, and even beauty.Â Wherever Filipinos are and no matter what we do, our brilliance and our hard work continue to shine.â€
Relampagos cited how the Filipinos innate giftedness, top notch quality of work, as well as our perseverance, creativity, innovativeness and resiliency make us stand out in our different endeavors.
The two-term congressman also challenged the graduates to embrace their responsibility to their communities.Â He further asked the graduates to use their education to help ensure inclusive and sustainable development within the province, having been â€œmolded by this institution to have a mind that is capable of thinking of solutions and hands that are capable of putting them into action.â€
In his speech, Relampagos said: â€œMake it your personal mission to help society.Â Adopt a certain cause â€” be it education, health care, environment, or livelihood â€” and support it in whatever means you can.Â Use your education to educate, to empower, to build capacities, and to change the face of this nation.Â As what the great Nelson Mandela said, â€œEducation is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.â€
Relampagos also reminded the graduates to not be lured by quick and false promises that â€œdefy our laws, morals, and valuesâ€ especially now that it is election time while reiterating that nation building is a collaborative effort.
â€œBeing the young and occasionally naÃ¯ve individuals that you are, sometimes you become too blinded by what we see in our country and in our society.Â And now that it is election time, you may tend to campaign for someone you they think is a â€œMessiahâ€ God sent to save this country from all the social problems we have in our own backyard.Â You are being lured by quick but false solutions and promises that defy our laws, morals, and values. However, what many do not understand in the process of nation building is that your ideas and your efforts are also needed.Â The concept of â€œdaang matuwidâ€ is a collaboration between the government and its people.Â Hence, we need the heroes in you,â€ Relampagos stressed.
As final words, Relampagos called the graduates to celebrate being a Filipino.
â€œAs we integrate with our ASEAN neighbors and with the rest of the world, the only way we compete and converge is when we celebrate who we are and take pride in what we, as Filipinos, can offer to the world. And the only way we can secure that development will remain inclusive and sustainable is if we tap the hero within our identity as Filipinos.â€
Since gaining university status in 2009, Bohol Island State University has consistently ranked itself among the top performing universities in the country as reflected in their performances in licensure examinations.Â The Balilihan Campus is the youngest in the entire BISU system.