It’s been more than a week since I graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication with an undergraduate degree in Film & Audio-Visual Communication. It was a long, tiring day. Not to mention, quite hot, especially during the beginning of the university graduation rites at the Ampitheater behind Quezon Hall.
Mass Comm graduates are fortunate enough to have their recognition rites and the university graduation rites fall within the same day, with ample time in between for a luncheon celebration. Graduates from other colleges in UP Diliman had theirs on separate days.
My family and I had to wake up really early last April 27, because we were repeatedly advised to arrive early at 7 AM because seats for guests were apparently limited, and that the college recognition rites were to start strictly at 8 AM. Wake up early we did, but the rites didn’t really start on time. It was a relatively brief recognition rites. Everyone was called on stage together with their parents to receive their certificates of merit and rolled pieces of blank paper. There were the usual speeches and a couple of intermission numbers. One of which was an audio-visual presentation prepared by one of our friends. I appeared in the video, lying at the Sunken Garden musing at the sky.
I sort of got irked with what the college dean said in her speech, that as part of growing up we should become pragmatists instead of idealists. The guest speaker, Maryo de los Reyes, said something with the same thought, that we should always learn to work with the prevailing order and compromise. My goodness, what kind of uninspiring commencement speeches are these?
Anyway, the program ended a little more than an hour before noontime. My family proceeded to have lunch with my parents’ godparents at some buffet restaurant. I went in famished and I ended up eating too much. We even had to go home right after lunch before going back to UP for the university graduation rites because I had to spend some time in the toilet.
After a hearty lunch and a brief rest time at home, the family and I went back to UP Diliman for the university graduation rites. It was in the middle of the afternoon. The graduates, well, everyone actually, had to sit under the torrid heat of the summer afternoon sun. It was quite an uncomfortable ordeal.
We, the graduating students of the University of the Philippines, are united in our call to hold accountable President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her grave crimes against the people. As Iskolars ng Bayan, we are determined in upholding our historic and traditional roles as the nation’s scholars, inherently burdened with the duty of enjoining and taking part in our countrymen’s struggle in defending and upholding our democratic rights and interests.
Oddly, in the middle of the four-hour program, dark scary clouds hovered over the open-air ampitheater. Fortunately, it didn’t rain. That was such a welcome relief from the heat of the sun.
We, the youth of our country, have consistently been betrayed by the present leadership who has continuously implemented policies that has further made education and opportunity inaccessible to many Filipino youths. We are firm in our resistance of attempts by the present administration with its vast propaganda machine to manipulate the youth’s collective consciousness to render us pessimistic and resigned to a prevailing leadership that continuously deceives the youth with empty promises.
The reading of the honors’ roll got quite monotonous. There were more than 800 honor students out of the four thousand graduates. Each laude-honor students’ name was called and awarded a medal. I was a little disappointed with the valedictory speech delivered by one of the summa cum laude graduates of the batch. There was a line there which simply echoed the administration and the establishment’s demonizing propaganda against militants. She said something like the militancy of some UP students waste taxpayer’s money. What an insult to UP’s history and traditions. In fairness to her, she did remind the graduates to ‘serve the people’, though I didn’t quite get how. All I remember are the sad attempts at romanticizing poverty and scholarship.
Speaking of militancy, if you’ve seen the news a few nights ago, you’ve probably seen or heard about the lighting protest some students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) staged at their graduation rites while Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was speaking as the guest of honor. We had a similar lightning protest at our graduation, towards the end of the program. Here’s a video taken by a friend’s friend, that documented the lightning protest that we did.
Here are the pictures that appeared in some news sites.
While people were secretly planning the protest, I was asked if I wanted to mass-lead, meaning do the protest speech with the megaphone. I begged off, partly because I didn’t feel confident enough. I did, however, write the manifesto with things that I would say in case no one else was willing to speak and I would have been be compelled to mass-lead.
We are firm in our belief in the power of the youth to fight for social change. We are firm in our belief in the power of the Filipino people to determine our future. We are determined to take part in our people’s struggle to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.