Extract from a speech at the U.P. College of Mass Communications
26 April 2009

I firmly believe that one of the most essential components of education is patriotism, for an education that focuses only on personal advancement or personal success is shallow and incomplete. For education to be complete, it must build not only the person but also the society where he lives in. For education to be complete, it must help bring success to the person but also prosperity to his community or country.

Today, more than ever, our country needs an education that will incorporate patriotism as one of its integral parts. An education that will value the whole more than any of its parts. An education that will put a high premium on our unity more than our individuality, but without choking anyone’s aspirations and creativity. An education that will value harmony despite our diversity. In short, an education that can make us whole – as a people, as a family, as a nation.

Today, more than ever, our intelligence needs to have a heart. The intelligence our country needs today is intelligence that cares for others in our society, intelligence that builds and not destroys, intelligence that unites and not divides, intelligence that heals and not aggravates, intelligence that can help us become one family as a people, intelligence that can bring progress not only to ourselves and our families, but also bring genuine prosperity to the least and the lowest of our people. We have to be wary of that kind of intelligence that a former American president warned us about – intelligence without morality. For intelligence by itself is attractive, to business and to government. But intelligence without morality is actually one of the biggest menaces to our society and to human cizilization.

Today, more than ever, our country needs new heroes and patriots who are willing to shed the wounds and the bitterness of the past that divided our parents and grandparents. Today, our country needs new patriots who would view and love themselves as Filipinos first and foremost, but without forgetting they are also Cebuanos, Visayans, Ilocanos, Davaoenos, Ilonggos, among others.

Today, more than ever, our country needs citizens and leaders who cannot be bought; who will value character more than material wealth; who will be honest in small things and in great things; who will make no compromises with wrong; whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires.

Today, more than ever, our country needs citizens and leaders who will value honor and commitment, who will value public office as public trust, whose word is their bond, whose oath of office is their commitment.

Citizens like Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga, Nene Guevarra of Synergia Foundation, and Efren Penaflorida of World Vision. Leaders like George Washington and Ramon Magsaysay, like Abraham Lincoln and Ninoy Aquino – who had tremendous powers during their prime, but used these powers to empower those they served and to build a better society for their people.

The challenge for you today is this – What will be your story? How will you use your intelligence today and tomorrow? What kind of Filipinos will you be? What kind of leaders and citizens will you be?