Aquino to 'Pisay' grads: Join gov't
MANILA, Philippines – Give back to the country that funded your education.
This was the plea of President Benigno Aquino III to the graduates of the prestigious, state-run Philippine Science High School (PSHS) when he addressed them on Wednesday, March 26.
Aquino praised the graduates for their outstanding achievement and posed a challenge to the more than 230 students to join government.
"Now I ask: Who among you will use your talents to face the problem of our country? Who among you graduating today can find solutions to our future problems, not just in the Philippines but for society – problems in health, environment and the changing state of the world?," he asked.
He cited two PSHS alumni – Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Miriam Colonel-Ferrer, head of the government's peace panel – and encouraged graduates to follow in their footsteps.
"And how many of you will choose to serve our Bosses – who will be the next Secretary Jun Abaya or Professor Iye Ferrer? How many will serve, how many will contribute their time, sweat and skills to uplift the lives of our fellow countrymen?"
Aquino emphasized the need for meteorologists and scientists in government to assist with disaster preparedness, infrastructure, developments in technology, and environmental projects.
With more than 20 storms that hit the country every year, Aquino said there is a need for "skilled meteorologist to give early and accurate warnings in order to rescue communities from the coastlines."
He also mentioned that in 2015, the Philippines will enter the demographic sweet spot, wherein majority of the population will be of working age.
The President said that because of this, by 2019 about 500,000 vehicles will be sold annually, compared to the current 200,000 per year. Thus Aquino said there is also a huge demand for infrastructure which he said will need "expert scientists."
He said scientists in government have helped the country save money by ensuring technical supplies for technological projects are of good quality, and by studying dredging projects and ensuring these were being executed well.
"The whole country has worked together to give you this opportunity. When the time comes, it will be your turn to help others. Will you choose to say, 'Thanks for everything, but I will think of myself first?' Or will you choose to dedicate, even a small part of your life, to give back the opportunity given to you by your Pisay education?," he asked.
In his speech, Aquino also gave his assurance that the PSHS would remain on Agham Road amid talks of relocation. His announcement drew cheers from the crowd.
He also promised there would be 16 PSHS campuses – one in every region – by the time he steps down from office in 2016. Aquino said that from 9 PSHS campuses when he became president in 2010, there are now 13 campuses across the nation.
Aquino, who personally awarded medals to honor students, said the government will continue to support the PSHS system because "on the straight and narrow path" administration projects must have sufficient supporting evidence "if we truly wish to institute change."
"Our plans cannot be lacking of scientific evidence," he said.
Before leaving the commencement exercises, Aquino gave one more impromptu promise to the PSHS community, which he said would encourage "a healthy body for a healthy mind."
"I noticed there are 4 basketball hoops in your campus, not one with a net. And that in your soccer field, the net there is filled with holes. I'll take care of it. Just send me the bill," he said, amid applause. – Rappler.com