In his address to the UP Baguio graduating class of 2018, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion urged the graduates to look to Philippine history’s heroic figures as models in creating a better future.
Concepcion’s address marked the climax of UP Baguio’s graduation ceremonies, which were held at the CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, Camp John Hay, Baguio City on June 21, 2018. The graduates came from UP Baguio’s three major colleges: the College of Science, the College of Arts and Communication, and the College of Social Science. They took to the stage to receive their diplomas and took an oath to their alma mater and the country before their families, friends, and mentors.
Concepcion’s message reconciled the negative impressions on the youth held by previous generations with their potential to solve the country’s problems through noble service. According to Concepcion, the tendency of older generations to view the youth as selfish and ungrateful (but not without reason) has been echoed across time, as with, for example Jose Rizal’s observations of how his many student compatriots in Madrid led idle and dissolute lives.
The President, however, added that he believed the overly skeptical dismissal of younger generations to be lacking in merit. He gave the example of distinguished Filipinos throughout history, such as Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, as well as the Kalinga hero of the Martial Law period, Macli-ing Dulag, as individuals who, when they were young, managed to view their individual lives from within the context of broader societal struggles despite peril to themselves and to their loved ones.
Just as history produced and molded the individuals who would eventually change society in the past, Concepcion believed that the current UP Baguio graduating class also included individuals who would work towards creating a better world. In this effort, they would be aided by their UP education, which had shaped their minds to be inquisitive and critical (mapagtanong at mapanuri), both inside and outside the classroom.
Taking full advantage of this gift, however, required a deep and penetrating understanding of history. “Ang pagiging mulat sa kasaysayan at kaganapang panlipunan ang magtitiyak sa malalim na pagsusuri sa alinmang trending na kaisipan at mga usaping umiiral sa ating panahon.” (An understanding of history and society ensures a deeper analysis of any ‘trending’ idea or conversation in our times.) This understanding, he said, served as a foundation for our convictions, as well as a tool to remedy society’s ills.
Concepcion concluded his address by inspiring students to live out the essence of being a true iskolar ng bayan. “Sa halip na mabuhay nang makasarili, gamitin sana ninyo ang nag-iisang buhay na ito upang magmalasakit, at mabuhay nang makatuwiran at may katuwiran.” (Instead of living selfishly, may you become models of compassion, and live your lives justly and meaningfully.) (Andre DP Encarnacion, UP MPRO)