April 8, 2011
Congressman Jerry P. Treñas
I wish to express my warmest congratulations to the graduates of the Technical Institute of Iloilo City. Today marks the 16th commencement exercise of the Molo Campus and the 51st commencement exercise of the Bo. Obrero Campus of your prestigious institution
I highly commend the graduates of the technical and vocational courses of the Institute. Moreover, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the parents of the graduates. Your parents, my dear graduates, have sacrificed for so many years to support your education. But their hardships are well-worth the gift that they have given you – the opportunity to excel in the modern workplace as highly educated men and women. Truly, you have made your parents extremely proud.
For the graduates, today marks the end of a long and laborious academic struggle to master your chosen vocations. The mastery of your chosen craft will surely bear fruit, as you are now equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to be competitive in the 21st century labor market. Today’s commencement exercises mark a new beginning for the young men and women assembled today. You shall now enter a new phase in your lives which entails greater responsibility.
However, graduation does not mean that you shall forever shed the student in you. Rather, I implore you to forever be students – to never forget that it is through the continuous accumulation of knowledge through constant education that brings enlightenment to a person. Your teachers may no longer be with you after you march outside the gates of your school, but your thirst for more knowledge should be insatiable.
I truly believe that the Technical Institute of Iloilo City already provided you with excellent training in your chosen fields of study. Yet never be satisfied with the skills that you now possess. Always endeavor to become more than you are. To be the best in your industry or profession. Aim high and keep the hunger that drove you to excel while in school.
It is not a sin to have lofty ambitions, for you have the potential and the superior technical and vocational training to become highly successful men and women. So dream big, my dear graduates. Julius Caesar, as Shakespeare so eloquently put, is a man of great ambition. It is through his ambition that gave him the will to cross the Rubicon and set the foundation for the greatest empire in the age of antiquity. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that one day his children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. His dream allowed him to transform American society by significantly reducing racial discrimination. Our national hero, Jose Rizal, had high ambitions for the Filipino people. His dreams were realized as the Filipinos rallied to his cause, eventually paving way for the creation of the first Asian Republic that we now call the Republic of the Philippines.
The greatest men and women in history were all dreamers. So I implore you, my young friends, to be ambitious. To always strive for perfection. To never be satisfied with mediocrity.
But is not enough to just dream, for you might end up with mere delusions of grandeur. It is necessary to act, to make real your dreams by working hard for what you want. Moreover, it is important to always maintain your good character and moral standards. Never sacrifice your soul to achieve your ambition. Maintain your dignity and honor as a Filipino and as an Ilonggo in pursuing your aspirations.
I firmly believe in the theme of today’s commencement exercises of “Tech-Voc education as the city’s answer to the booming labor demand and industry.” One of the main reasons for the massive unemployment in the country is the mismatch of the skills of the prospective employees with the demand of the employers. There are too many obsolete and saturated courses in our institutions of higher learning. I therefore support the initiative of TESDA and the Technical Institute of Iloilo City to develop and promote technical and vocational education as a better alternative for students. We have to be conscious of the demand for skilled labor requiring specific technical expertise instead of encouraging our youth to pursue the common college courses leading to professions that have little or no demand in the current labor market.
So be happy and proud, graduates. You have an edge over your peers for you have been trained to be experts on technical fields that are currently in high demand. There is therefore no reason for the graduates of the Technical Institute of Iloilo City not to dream big and set your ambitions high. Your superior technical and vocational education shall lead you to greater heights. Congratulations!