Aquino at Ignatian festival: Get out of comfort zone
MANILA, Philippines – Despite late nights working on his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno Aquino III went for a quick visit to his alma mater and urged his fellow alumni to be “men and women for others.”
During the 2nd Ignatian Festival held at the Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday, July 20, Aquino highlighted in his short 10-minute speech what the popular Ateneo mantra meant.
“Lumabas ka sa nakasanayan mong espasyo; piliin mong makipagkapwa-tao. Kailanman, huwag kang matakot na bagtasin ang masalimuot na daan ng katuwiran, at umiwas sa madaling landas ng kamalian."
(Get out of your comfort zone; choose to relate with others. Never be afraid to cross the tough road of uprightness, and to avoid the easy path of wrongdoing.)
He also called out inaction and asked everyone to participate in the “positive transformation of the country."
“Hindi sapat na alam mo lang ang problema—obligasyon mong makiambag sa solusyon; tungkulin mong itama ang mali. At di po ba, kung di ka kumilos, magiging bahagi ka na rin ng problema? Hindi mo lamang binigo ang iyong kapwa—binigo mo rin ang iyong sarili, at ang institusyong kumalinga’t sumuporta sa’yo."
(It's not enough that you know the problem—it's your obligation to contribute to the solution, your duty to correct what's wrong. If you do not act, isn't it, you also add to the problem? You did not just fail others—you also failed yourself and the institution that cared for and supported you.)
Aquino and Ateneo President Fr Jett Villarin SJ have been friends since their Ateneo days. Their closeness was evident as they joked about one another in their speeches.
“Wala po akong balak magtagal at maghintay sa pagpasok ng anak ng ating pangulo (I don't plan on staying and waiting for the President's child to go to Ateneo,” Villarin said in his speech introducing Aquino.
Aquino replied, “Hindi ko po makakalimutan si Father Jett, na ang tanda ko po’y sumang-ayon na hihintayin niya ang magiging anak ko bago magretiro. Hindi ko naman inaasahan, Father, na mag-graduate ng college. Puwede na sa high school lang.”
(I will not forget that Father Jett agreed to wait for my future child before retiring. I don't expect him to graduate college, Father. At least only until high school.)
This is the second time Villarin invited Aquino to speak to the Ateneo community. The first time was during Villarin’s own investiture in 2011.
Heart in the right place
Villarin told Rappler that the president’s heart is in the right place.
“He's not perfect. [The] man for others is not a saint. But you can see that there's a desire, and I think that alone is enough for me right now that we have a shared desire,” Villarin said.
He also recalled an anecdote about the president which Education Secretary Armin Luistro shared. In a meeting, Villarin asked Luistro why he had so much trust in this administration.
“Bakit mo pinagtitiyagaan yung gobyernong yan? It's such a snake pit; daming nakawan sa gobyerno, (Why are you patient with that government? It's such a snake pit; there's a lot of corruption in government), " Villarin asked Luistro.
Luistro replied he cannot leave a president who asks the question, “How will the poor, the marginalized be affected by whatever decision I make?”
“I think [Aquino] also realizes how difficult it is to be good even in a broken world, a broken system,” Villarin said.
Preparing for the SONA
Aquino left as soon as he delivered his speech to do more work on his SONA.
“He left early because he said he’s very busy—he hasn’t finished the SONA yet. He was up late last night [working on it],” Villarin said.
"I think it was a good break for him to be here because he's been working on his SONA most of the week," Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said.
He said not even the Cabinet members know exactly what Aquino—who, for the past SONAs, has been writing the speeches himself—will say on Monday. - Rappler.com