His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos
President of the Philippines
At the 25th commencement exercises of the Philippine College of Commerce
[Delivered at the PICC, April 1, 1978]
Youth and Society
I GREET EACH and everyone of you. Noon ako ay ipinakikilala tila bang ako ay masyadong matanda na. Kayo naman po ang nakakakita na hindi pa. I should have brought the First Lady with me had she been available, but as you know, she is a little occupied: she is engaged in the final phase of this political exercise on which will reflect the maturity of our people.
I am not a participant in this political exercise except as the organizer of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and its campaign manager. You elected me President on December 17, 1977, so I am through with the elections except for the fact that today we are passing through a crucial period again. I will now proceed to explain to you why I consider this period and these trials crucial not only to us, the older generation, but also to the young generation like you.
The invitation to address you came to me rather late. I was going to send a proxy, Dr. Gerardo Sicat, to speak before you; and then, I realized that the Philippine College of Commerce was one of the colleges that has been marked as the hotbed of activism in the past. So, I decided I had better go in there and find out what was happening in this old college.
Your college is one of the oldest in the country. I understand it was established at about the same time as the Philippine Normal School in 1904; and I met several graduates there circa 1907. So I asked the First Lady to pinch-hit for me in some of the appointments; sapagka’t mahalaga ang inyong anyaya kaya ako ay naririto ngayon.
There are few events in the life of a man or a woman as unique and as memorable as his completion of studies. And this meeting, to me, is also an opportunity once again to have a forum in which to dialogue with the members of our young generation.
There are perhaps few institutions of learning that are reflective of the currents of ferment and change in our society, or represent the youth in our time, than the Philippine College of Commerce. On this campus it has fittingly been observed, commitment and involvement among the young come early.
When I speak to you therefore, I am aware that I address the members of a new generation of Filipinos who understand and feel deeply the exacting obligations of membership in society; and whose concerns encompass much of what is alive and astir in our country today.
I would like to reply to your generous invitation by addressing myself here to those concerns that bind us in common: the making of reform and change in our society.
The most overworked cliche about the youth in our country is the statement that you, the young, are the future of our nation. Yet no matter how we turn the subject around, no matter how we examine the place of the youth in our society, we come back to the basic and fundamental truth of this statement.
Let me go back twenty-three centuries ago to that father of philosophers, Plato, who said: “States are as men are, they grow out of the characters of men.” This merely means that nations, countries and states reflect what their individual members are. When their character is good, the character of the nation is good; when it is otherwise, so also it is.
Every young generation has always seen itself as some kind of a crusader and savior charged with the task of remaking the society of its time. We, of our generation, who fought the last World War, dreamt many dreams and had many visions. When in the loneliness of our camp fires on the mountain tops we sought succor from the desperation of war, we thought of what victory could bring to us, we dreamt of a brighter and a better world. We would change the legacy that had been handed us for many, many generations. We would alter the very basis of our existence. This is true not only of my generation, it must be true of all generations before us and after us.
So you are not the first to think in terms of rising up to change our society, just as I am not the first to dream of a New Society.
At different periods of our national history, we can see unerringly the recurrent theme of crisis challenging the Filipino youth to action and effort. The men who started the first rebellions were young men, perhaps in their early twenties. And Rizal died as a young man. But beyond the well-known patriots and heroes were the small men whose individual contributions to our country perhaps constitute a greater share of what is Philippine tradition. And they were young. We see it in our revolution at the turn of the century, in which so many young men became the leaders of an emerging nation overnight. But we also see it in the efforts of the generations before us upon the arrival of the conquistadores: the young men who reacted to this new culture and sought to create a mix of all the cultures that had been imposed upon the Filipino We see it in the .struggles and sacrifices of the nation during the last war, in which your fathers and my generation participated.
Between youth and society, there exists, you might say, a constant dialectic between the world as it is now, and the world that is struggling to be born. It is a dialectic that is never easily resolved. It poses great demands both on the society and on those who would wish to change it. And the dangers of extremism are always present; extremism as representing dogmatism, as meaning a man who thinks that he has arrived at the ultimate truth and will not listen to any contrary ideas.
On the one hand, a society can be so closed and resistant to change, so feeble and without vitality, that the only recourse is the total rejection of the social order — in a word, revolution. Such was the case of the colonial order, which in time had to give way to the aspirations of our people for self-determination and national independence. Such might have been the case of our society early in this decade, had we not found the key to making radical but peaceful change.
On the other hand, there can be the extreme of wanting change to take place all at once, at the cost of abandoning altogether what keeps the national community in one piece, in the hope that the apocalypse will take care of itself. In this other extreme, faith in the society dies early; people despair of the existing structure as being worth the effort of repair and reform; and they welcome even the most terrifying upheavals ad cataclysms for the sake of change.
Such a view became for a while the dominant theme of the protest of the young in this country; as they saw the increasing drift and decay of national life; as they witnessed the growing inability of the government to govern; and most of all, as they saw the resistance of the social, economic, and political order to change. The belief of the young then during this period of crisis was that orderly change was impossible; and in the forlorn hope of national regeneration, their protest soon enough harkened to the call of revolution.
There was much that I personally agreed with in the growing dissent of the young. I could not share, however, the belief that the democratic system had failed in our country. I did not believe that the structure was incapable of absorbing change and new ideas. Regardless of its many weaknesses and demonstrated inefficiency, I saw the possibilities of the system to defend itself and to erect the basis for social equality and economic progress, which for so long had been denied our people. I saw the possibilities of creating a New Society which would be the implementation of the dreams and the visions that we had while fighting in the great war. And I saw this dream coming about without recourse to the extreme of bloody revolution.
That, in the main has been the fundamental rationale of the program of national transformation which we launched in 1972; and we must judge it on the basis of whether in fact it has succeeded or not in making the reforms and changes in our society. And whether in fact the situation that it has produced have raised national capacities for making continued and sustained development and progress.
I know of course that even after we see all these symbols of progress there will be opposition against it. But let me say that I think we should look into what the alternatives were at that time. I have seen war at its worst and I made a personal commitment. It is an article of faith with me. I have pledged to myself a lifelong crusade against war. It is my hope that our children will never participate in any war the likes of which we participated in 1941 to 1945, where the Filipino people numbering only 18 million lost one million men, women and children.
This is the reason for the revolution from the center, the revolution which I call the “constitutional revolution.” At the same time, this is the overwhelming reason for my resistance to the efforts of the opposition today to utilize the freedom of elections to foment disorder, for disorder can only lead to bloodshed.
I am against utilizing the freedoms of this political campaign to propagate division and habituate our people whether politicians or not, to the use of degrading, slanderous and licentious language to destroy respect for our Republic and its officials and to degrade our Constitution so as to wipe out our dignity and decency as a people. I am not against radicalism because I am engaged in radicalism, I seek the radical transformation of our entire society, but there is a difference. I seek to radicalize our society constitutionally, peace fully, without the use of force. I abhor the pseudo-radical or the man who claims to be radical and poses to be a radical, but who utilizes the claim to radicalism merely to advance his personal interest to the prejudice of the entire nation.
I am against the pseudo-radical who seeks to transfer the abortive rebellion from the countryside of Central Luzon to the primate city of Manila. You see, I have been studying rebellion and radicalism all my life; and I know that in all the successful revolutions and rebellions, there was need to ultimately establish a mass base within the city. It is quite true that Mao Tse-tung in China organized his mass base in the countryside, but ultimately, they had to take the cities. So the advocates of chaos and ruin, I consider the enemies of our New Society. For there is an alternative to violent revolution, and it is the peaceful even if sometimes tedious revolution we call the revolution from the center — the constitutional revolution.
This is the rationale for the program of national transformation that we launched in September 1972; and we must judge it on the basis of whether it has succeeded. Allow me therefore at the risk of being repetitious or redundant to restate the indicators of progress under the New Society.
Let us talk first, about security. What is the status of domestic peace and tranquility? Although the secessionist movement in the South often erupts in ambuscade and harassment, there is comparative domestic peace which has been formalized by the ceasefire agreement in Tripoli.
If you will remember, I sent the First Lady to negotiate normal relations with the People’s Republic of Libya in 1976; and so a ceasefire was arrived at. This was done also in Zamboanga in January 1977. The secessionist movement is no longer in control of any definite territory, a municipality or even a barangay or barrio. Whereas in 1972, 1973 and as late as 1974, they were actually in occupancy and in control of provinces like Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan; parts of Cotabato, parts of Zamboanga del Sur, and municipalities in Zamboanga del Norte and Lanao Norte; as well as threatening even such capitals and cities as Zamboanga and Cotabato. Today, we are moving towards the final settlement of the Mindanao question.
The New People’s Army, on the other hand, has been reduced into roving bands that do not constitute a threat to the stability of our Republic. At the same time we are not threatened by any war from the outside. We have made friends with those whom we did not deal with five years ago; like the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Republic of Vietnam, as well as the Soviet Union.
We anticipate a period of comparative peace, regionally as well as throughout the world. And during this period, we will be able to continue the momentum of development.
Then let us look into what is referred to as the economic indicators. You, who have come from this college will be most interested in these economic indicators; and I am certain that you have been told about them.
The period from 1973 was marked by this strange phenomenon known as a mixture of inflation and unemployment, often referred to as stagflation. You will remember that the big nations, including Japan, the United States, England, West Germany, or for that matter all of Europe, suffered from such global economic crisis.
In the Philippines, we have reversed the trend. We started with unemployment figures of seven percent of the labor force; we reduced it to 4.1 percent in 1977. In short, we increased the number of employed from 12 million in 1972 to 15 million in 1977. The minimum wage was increased from the low level of P4 a day to P14 or P15 a day; we included the cost-of-living-allowance; the additional compensations for overtime and holiday work and other fringe benefits.
In 1973 there was a shortage of grains throughout the world and we had a difficult time trying to feed our people; we imported 500,000 tons of rice at a cost of about $500 million. And the inflation rate in 1974, due to the increase in the cost of oil and all the raw materials and machineries that we imported for our factories, increased to 34 percent. In 1975 we brought this down to four percent. Although the price of oil has been increasing we have stabilized the inflation rate to a one-digit figure; meaning, below 10, at 8 percent. These are usually the principal indicators of growth in a modern society.
How about our dollar reserves? Our dollar reserves increased from $200 million in 1972 to $ 1.4 million in 1977. Our gross national product— you, who are studying economics know about this, which is the total of goods and services produced by a country in one year— grew at an average rate of seven percent, reaching 10 percent in 1974. Whereas countries like Japan, in some cases, had a negative growth rate, our per capita income increased from more than P1, 000 in 1972 per person to P4, 000 in 1977. Capital investments grew from 11 billion in 1972 to P46 billion in 1977.
How about the foreign borrowings that you have heard about? Let’s talk about the debt service ratio. This is the amount of money that we use to amortize or pay our indebtedness every year in relation to our earnings of dollars. The usual practice is to average the earnings of the previous three years and that is the level that you must keep. Your expenditures or your amortization expenses usually is referred to as the debt service ratio.
Well, the debt service ratio before the New Society had reached 34 percent. Meaning, all the dollars that we were earning, the average earnings in the past three years, or 34 percent of that went to payment of indebtedness. And this was true as far back as the 1960s. We inherited this. As soon as we established the New Society we knocked down the debt service ratio from 34 percent to 17.8 percent. It was the plan in accordance with our economic plan to further bring down the debt service ratio from 17.8 percent to seven percent in 1982.
At the same time, to show the effects of all of this to the ordinary Filipino, you remember that we have avoided the use of government statistics. So we used the Private Development Corporation of the Philippines. It conducted a survey of what is often referred to as the social indicators, meaning, how has it affected the ordinary Filipino.
Well, in the study of the income of Filipinos, we divided households into low-income, middle-income and high-income household. The low-income households earn from P1, 000 to P3,999. The middle-income is about that all the way to P10,000. And beyond P10, 000 is the higher-income group.
Now, in 1971 or 1972, what percentage of our households, say, in the countryside belong to the low-income household group? Meaning those that were earning only P1, 000 to P3,999 a year. Well, let me tell you what this survey of the private Development Corporation of the Philippines indicates. According to this survey, in the rural areas, the total percentage of low-income households was 80.7 percent in 1971. By 1975, however, the low-income households were 29.8 percent. Now, you who are wizards in mathematics and arithmetic, that is about 50 percent, isn’t it? If it is 50 percent reduction in 1975, you can imagine how much reduction has ocurred. Now from 1975 to 1978, ang mga dalubhasa natin mayrooon silang mga projections, as you know. You have been taught these ideas and projections, determining the amount of momen tum, etc., the base control period. So they now say that if these were projected to 1978, the low-income groups would have been reduced to 15 percent, all the way from 18 percent to 15 percent. Now anyone who has any inkling whatsoever about the meaning of income will understand why this is such a quantum leap. And you can also see why so many families are now sending their children to school. Do you see the number of television antennas shooting up in the countryside? Well, that is because of the increased income in the rural areas.
At the same time, according to the salesmen or the corporations engaged in selling household appliances, they are selling more household appliances in the countryside than in the urban areas at the rate of 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1 in some cases. And this is further shown by the studies on savings and deposits. As you know, the savings and deposits may be divided into personal and institutional. What do you mean by institutional? In the big corporations you keep them out because these are the savings and deposits of artificial persons like corporations.
Let us look into the savings and deposits of individuals, the small Ones. Do you know how much the growth is? The growth is four times from 1972 to 1978. I understand the last figure is P27 billion.
And so we now listen to the World Bank, as well as the board of governors and the men who are engaged in awarding all these special awards to countries that have managed their economy well. I have very happy news for you. The Philippines has been awarded a citation that it is the Third World country that has managed its economy best of all. So you can see that these are endorsements.
The World Bank is not an institution that you can buy or who will give you a certification like this for friendship or pity’s sake. No. It is a very objective and prestigious institution. All these indorsements are indorsements that all countries aspire for.
In spite of all that we are doing now, they say, Buwagin ang Bagong Lipunan? Palitan ang Bagong Lipunan, in addition to many other things. The question that we ask is: Ano naman ang ipapalit ninyo sa Bagong Lipunan? This is why I wanted a clean, good debate, in the print media but they re fused to engage in debate. Ang gusto nila paroling bomba, bomba! Magnanakaw si Marcos at pati Unang Ginang! Kapag tinanong mo naman ang sagot ay: sapagka’t sa inyo ang Meralco. Papaano naging amin iyang Meralco, eh it belongs to Meralco Foundation. Baka nagkamali ka ng pagbabasa sa Marcos Foundation at Meralco Foundation. Meralco Foundation, 600,000 ang shareholders. Papano napasok ang Marcos Foundation?
Alam ninyo, ako ay parating natatawa kapag sinasabi nila ang tungkol sa pag-aari. Nalalaman naman nila na ako ay nagtatag ng Marcos Foundation. Marcos Foundation owns the properties that I own, except one house in the province and one house in Manila, which of course, I hope to give to my poor wife. Papano, wala siyang titirahan kung bigla akong mamamatay. Wala naman hanapbuhay ang aking asawa. Kaya’t may dalawang bahay at iyong trust fund to send to school. After all, Bongbong is still a senior at Oxford. He is graduating this June. He is so busy he could not stay here, he came here and stayed only two days and said: “I better go back to Oxford, Father, at ngayon ay naghahanda kami sa final examinations ng June.” Ganoon din si Imee: she is finishing her senior year at Princeton. Si Irene naman ay naghahanda po for her A-levels because she wants to take up anthropology. Kaya mayroon akong trust fund para sa aking mga anak. Kakailanganin ko iyan sapagka’t kung hindi they will have to get a scholarship somewhere if I suddenly pass away. Huwag naman sanang mangyari iyan.
Anyway, you know the Marcos Foundation is of record. It is open to public scrutiny and registered with the National Science and Development Board. And the trustees are well-known persons; some of them members of the Cabinet. Kaya ako ay nabibigla tuwing may sasabihin sila na kung anu-ano. But that is part of politics. I always knew that to be in politics in this country you have to have a cast-iron stomach.
Alam ninyo noong unang pumasok ako sa pulitika, sukat ba namang doon sa Ilocos, wika nila, papano kayong maniniwala sa sundalong ‘yan, maraming pinatay iyan noong panahon ng giyera? Marami nga akong pinatay nguni’t pinatay naman sa laban. Hindi naman parang pumapatay ng manok. Sagot naman: huwag kayong maniniwala riyan, anak iyan ng Chinese pirate. Naging anak tuloy ako ni Limahong. Kaya ako ay sanay na sanay na riyan sa pambabatikos na iyan.
Nguni’t sa halalang ito ay masyado namang mababa ang uri ng ating mga kampanya. Hinihintay ko sanang magkaroon ng magandang debate. Kagaya noong aking binasang mga figures, statistics sasabihin nila, prove it. All right, I will prove it. I will bring my books and the books from which I quoted. Pagkatapos ay sasabihin ko naman sa kanila: O kayo naman, ano naman ang masasabi ninyo sa aming naipaliwanag sa ating mga mamamayan? Nguni’t hindi magkasalubong ang aming salita sapagka’i sila ay patama sa baba; kami naman ay lumilipad ng kaunti sa mataas na uring salita.
But whatever it is, just remember this, ito ang ating isipin: ang Bagong Lipunan ay bayan na itinatag natin lahat; hindi naman mithiin lamang ng lahat ng bayani na nag-alay ng buhay nila sa dambana ng kagitingan at dambana ng ating bansa; at nagbuhos ng dugo upang maiwagayway na mag-isa ang ating bandila. Lahal ng mga mithiin na iyan ngayon ay tinutu-pad naling kung maaari at ipahihintulot ng ating makapangyarihang mga mamamayan.
Now they say we should change all of this. My question is? Inuulit ko, change for what? Naririto at humaharap pa tayo ng krisis, umuulan pa ng kaunti, lalapit itong oposisyon, hali kayo at inaakit tayo. Iwanan ninyo iyan, sunugin natin iyang bahay na iyan. Teka muna, umuulan. Kapag sinunog natin ito saan tayo sisilong? Wala naman silang itinuturong sisilungan, siguro ay sa kahoy.
Therefore, it is relevant for us, especially those, who have had the privilege of study to ask: Can we not look deeply into the conditions of our people today without having to curse each other? and consider well what each and everyone offers whether it is a foreign ideology or a domestic ideology. Saan ninyo napag-aralan ang kaisipang iyan, ang palakaran na iyan, iyang sinulain na pinaninindigan ninyo? May won ba kayong ulirang halimbawa na maaari nating mapag-aralan upang malaman natin kung ano ang mga panganib na ating haharapin? Kung ipalagay natin na susundan namin ang inyong mga mungkahi at payo . . . these are the things that we would like to ask; What kind of misery, deprivation, and sacrifices do you want us again to offer to our country? We have offered too much already in the past. You want us to fight another war; you want us to divide. We have been divided for so long. We were divided when the Spaniards arrived. There were only 200 or 300 na mga nanakop sa atin na mga Kastila. Ilang daang libong mandirigma ang Pilipino;bakit tayo nabigo sa digmaan? Si Lapu Lapu, napatay nga si Magellan, nguni’t nagpatuloy pa ring sinakop tayo ng mga Kastila. Bakit? Sapagka’t tayo ay nagaaway na parati. Iyan ang ugali na nakaugat sa ating mga mamamayan. Buhat pa noong sapul ay iyan ang napupuna ng mga sumakop sa atin. Ano nga ba ang sabi ni Casimiro Diaz? They dreamt of liberty; they wanted freedom, but they could not unite and so our few soldiers overwhelmed them. This is our entire history as a people.
Kaya ako ay nag-isip. Sa kasalukuyan ako ay nagsusulat ng ating kasaysayan under the title “Tadhana.” Bakit Tadhana? Ano ang ibig sabihin ng Tadhana kung hindi destiny? Hindi kasaysayan iyan kundi Destiny, tadhana nga sapagka’t ang Tadhana ay nasa kasaysayan, bunga ng kasaysayan. Studying our history maliwanag na ugali natin iyang away. Kapag tumahimik ng kaunti maghahanap tayo ng away.
Sino ba angpumatay kay Diego Silang? Isang Filipino na may dugong Kastila — pero Pilipino. At pagkatapos na mamatay ay tinraydor pa siya. At bakit pinatay? Because he was paid a price. At pagkatapos na mamatay ang kawawang Diego Silang ang humalili ay ang kanyang asawa, si Gabriela Silang. Sino ang humuli kay Gabriela Silang, Kaslila ba? Filipino ang humabol kay Gabriela Silang hanggang Abra, at hinuli siya. Sino ang bumitay kay Gabriela Silang? Pilipino.
Ganoon din, bumalik tayo sa malaking himagsikan ng 1896, 1898. Sino ang pumatay kay Bonifacio sa Mt. Buntis, hindi ba kapwa Pilipino? At si General Antonio Luna? Si General Antonio Luna ay binaril sa likod sa Cabanatuan. Sino ang pumatay sa kanya? Pilipino. At sino ang nagluro ng Tirad Pass at nagdala ng mga Amerikano doon? Dinadakila natin si General Gregorio del Pilar sapagkat silang lahat ay yumao sa labang iyan. Ang nagturo na naman ay Pilipino. At sino naman ang lumusob sa Palanan kay Aguinaldo at humuli sa kanya? Pilipino na naman. Dumating ang malaking digmaan, ang Digmaang pandaigdig. Oo nga, mayroon tayong Bataan, Corregidor, at dito ay ipinamalas nating ang tapang at pagkabuong-loob ng ating mga binata. Ngunit pagkatapos sumuko ang Bataan at Corregidor, ano ang nangyari? Nagkaisa ba ang mga gerilya? Hindi po. Ako po ang isa sa mga malliiti na sundalong nagtago sa bundok at sumama sa underground. At noong papunta ako sa Australia ay pinabalik ako dito sa Pilipinas at ang bilin sa akin na kung maaari ay pagisahin ang mga kumander ng gerilya maski sa Luzon lamang. Kaya noong nagtatago ako sa Bulacan ay tumawag ako ng isang miting ng mga gerilya lider. Usapan namin ay walang magdadala ng baril at ito ay salu-salo lamang. Titingnan namin kung papaano maaayos ang ating mga gerilya. Nagkasundo na walang magdadala ng baril. Kumain kami nguni’t pagkatapos ng isang oras ay nagaaway na. Walang ibig maging sundalo at lahat ay ibig maging heneral. At nang hindi magkasundo, kung sino ang magiging commanding general, ayan, nagbarilan na — may mga taong may baril sa sapatos at pati ako ay kaunti ng tinamaan. Ganoon din sa Visayas at Mindanao. Ilang beses na kaming kamuntik mahuli sapagka’t iyong-kapwa namin gerilya na may alinlangan sa amin ay isinusumbong ang aming gawa sa mga kalaban. Mayroon ba naman kasamang Pilipinong ganyan? Kaya nasasabi nga, iyan ang ugali ng Pilipino — walang ibig magpatalo. Kung hindi ako ang lider ay wala. Kung ako, ay okay lamang.
This is one of the vices that we must now eliminate. Kayong ma kabataan, anuman ang mangyari sa ating bansa, huwag ninyong kalilimutan ang simula ng kasaysayan ng ating lahi. Kaya tayo nabigo ng sunod-sunod ay sapagka’t tayo ay hindi nagkaisa; tayo ay hindi nagkabuklod-buklod. Daang libo ang ating mandirigmang nakahandang mag-alay ng buhay sa digmaan nguni’t pagdating ng araw ng laban nagkahiwa-hiwalay. Iyan ang kasaysayan ng ating lahi. Huwag na natin ulitin ito. At ang mga dayuhan buhat noong sapul ay balak nilang parating paghiwalayin tayo upang madaling sakupin. Divide and rule, this has always been their objective.
So whatever happens, just remember that your talent, your capabilities, your strength, your youth and your idealism will be nothing unless our people are united for the national welfare. And this is the purpose of everything that we do; not for ourselves alone out for our country and for our people.
Kaya kung ang tugon sa katanungang, Ano ang sagot sa kagipitan na hinaharap ng Filipino, ay rebolusyon, himagsikan, madugong labanan, my answer is: Hindi, mayroon tayong landas na maaaring daanan. And that is elections. That is why I offered elections—peaceful elections—to determine once and for all the people’s decision. Will our people support the New Society or not? If they are not, well and good; we should abide by whatever the people say.
We live in an age of ideology, in which too often men sometimes mistake ideas for reforms. We are persuaded by the apocalyptic tone in which social reform programs ar categorized, to imagine that they can have a magical effect on real conditions in our lives.
Ang mahirap kung minsan, akala naling kapag isinigaw na nating yumaman ang maralila, nagawa na magiging mayaman na ang maralita. Hindi po ganyan ang buhay na tunay. Ang kailangan ay mga plano; ang mga sinusundan na palatunlunan ay dapat na malaman ng bawa’t isa. This is the reason why I keep writing books; why I keep explaining what we intend to do for our country and for our people. In the last analysis we must look at what these ideologies offer to our people. They may sound well, but in practice, what do they offer to us?
Change, such as our society has needed and still needs, does not take place overnight; or in one season of effort, not even in five years. Nor do we seek a perfect society, for in this world there will never be a perfect society.
At the same time, our young have been given a share in decision-making. Never have they been given such an important role in government. And so to you, my young friends, and when I speak to you, I hope that I speak to all the young people in the country. Let me then give you a message straight from my heart.
Through all these years, you the young have been for me an integral part of the conscience that awakes me to the wrongs that must be righted and the changes that must be sought. You have been for me one of the many forces in our society upon whom the tasks of rebirth and renewal have been placed.
And I count it indeed as one of the hallmarks of the last five years, that in this period of crisis and challenge, the youth of our country has rallied to the cause of national survival and transformation.
And as we face this crucial test today, I certainly hope that the young will strengthen the effort towards the attainment of the restructuring of our entire society. We dismantle gradually the apparatus of crisis government by establishing those institutions which will enable us to insure greater democratic control over government, while sustaining the processes of reforms and development in our country.
And as I look at you today, I can only ask myself: who among you someday will take my place as President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Pangkaraniwang hindi nakikinig ang mga bagong nagtapos sa graduation speaker, lyan po ang katotohanan. Pati ako noong nag-graduate, wika ko sa loob-loob ko, mas marami akong nalalaman kaysa sa nagsasalitang ito. But I discovered to my dismay in later life, ako ay natuto ng husto pagkatapos ng graduation na hindi naman pala ito totoo. Marami pa tayong kailangang matutuhan sa mga taong marami ng karanasan. And as I keep looking at all these good-looking young ladies here I wonder who among them will become First Lady?
I hope that each and everyone of you will want to become President and First Lady.
This should motivate you to greater achievement. And as I look at you today, I can only echo the old man in Rizal’s novel: “Yes, I know that the seed will grow; I will not be there to see it grow into a tree. I will not be there to stay in its shade nor smell its fragrant flowers, nor taste its fruits, but I have sons and daughters who will be there to rest in the shade of the tree, smell its fragrant flowers, and over and above all, taste the fruits of that seed.”
So no matter how difficult it is for us to plant that seed today, I shall continue planting it. This is what I hope will happen. In order that you may have more opportunities, I hereby announce that as of today, on your graduation, the Philippine College of Commerce is now a university.
In your presence, I initial all the pages of the decree creating the university known as the Philippine Polytechnic University, and hand it over to the president of the university.
Source: Presidential Museum and Library
Marcos, F. E. (1980). Presidential speeches (Vol. 8). [Manila : Office of the President of the Philippines].