MANILA – Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael III on Thursday called on graduating students to give change a chance to help resolve the country’s accumulated problems including poverty, crime, moral decay and bad governance.
Alunan made the call in his speech as commencement speaker before graduating students of the Central College of the Philippines (CPP) held at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Alunan said that in life, “most often we don't allow our imagination to roam free because we’re afraid of change. We’re afraid to move away from what’s familiar. We’re too rigid to let our dreams evolve. The better way is to loosen up and give change a chance.”
“Change is the only constant thing in life. You’re never too old to learn something new. Believe in yourself. Believe that you have the power within you to make your dreams come true. Be fearless. Make your own choices,” Alunan said.
He also adviced the graduates to take advantage of opportunities because “they don't come very often; they come far and few in between but when they do, you should be able to recognize them; conquer your fear of the unknown, and make the most of them.”
Alunan told the graduates “don’t be afraid to make mistakes (because) life isn’t perfect, failure is part of it. . Mistakes and failures serve as guide posts so, embrace them because they teach us powerful lessons...Mistakes and failures should neither paralyze nor define us. How we use it as a learning tool is what counts.”
“Mistakes teach us to reflect, analyze and adjust. They teach us humility and courage to face the truth, accept reality, take responsibility and be accountable. They teach integrity. And by taking corrective action, we inspire others to do the same,” Alunan added.
In fact, he said, many of the world’s successful people had experienced failures many times before they succeeded in life.
One of them was Walt Disney, who was fired from his job as a young reporter, but did not give up in pursuing his good ideas in the midst of a series of failures until he succeeded in his movie “Snow White.”
Another success story was Col. Harland David Sanders, the founder of the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), who was fired from various jobs he had, but did not give up until he succeeded. Today, KFC is a worldwide food chain.
Alunan held the post of interior and local government secretary during the Ramos presidency, and was the tourism secretary during the Cory Aquino administration.
“I’d like to leave you with one more thought. Once you leave this hall as a new college graduate with all the hopes and dreams for a better life, don’t forget that you’re, first and foremost, citizens of the Republic of the Philippines; the sons and daughters of Inang Laya. The country’s future will depend on what you do for it in the years to come.
“I’m sure you’re aware that we’re a country with many accumulated problems – moral decay, bad governance, crime, corruption, poverty, injustice, ecological destruction, climate change and security threats. Those could only be effectively addressed by a nation united in common purpose under one constitution, one flag and the divine guidance of one God,” Alunan said.
Alunan said the Philippines “is a diverse society but we need to come together as One Philippines to build a better nation in all respects for all Filipinos. 'Walang iwanan'.”
“In the words of a former President, Fidel Ramos, we must care, share and dare to win the future. Our current President, Rodrigo Duterte,
has long internalized that and is using the force of his political will to make things right in our national interest. We must all do our share, government and society, working together as One Philippines, to build a worthy nation for generations to come.” (PNA)