XU’s graduation rites theme: Resiliency

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


IN THE wake of calamities and mishaps that beset the country last year and how the Filipinos had dealt with them, resiliency seems to be the theme that dominated Xavier University’s 75th graduation rites on Thursday.

University president Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ, said that while it cannot be denied that the country had a difficult 2013, the people should be encouraged by leaders for them to bounce back from the misfortunes they had experienced.

In his message to the graduates at the school’s gymnasium, Yap said the communities where disasters struck the gravest need leaders who could help them become resilient.

Xavier graduates

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CAGAYAN DE ORO. Graduates fill up the gymnasium hall during the 75th commencement exercises of Xavier University, March 27, 2014. (Erwin M. Mascarinas)


“To face these calamities, our people need leaders, inspiring leaders, who by their courage and compassion, would help fellow Filipinos find hope and strength,” Yap told the graduates.

Resiliency, he said, has always been considered as returning back to what was before, as he likened it to a bamboo, which goes back to its original shape after bending.

“But resiliency is better thought of as becoming stronger under the pressure, to rise from the rubbles of the siege, the earthquake and the supertyphoon,” he said.

In her valedictory address, Reynarose Cuerquis also discussed about resiliency in the face of challenges that the country had faced and is still facing months after a series of disasters hit the Philippines.

“Looking back to these last years, we witnessed storms that led to floods, earthquakes that led to vast destruction including heritage structures and hard-earned properties. We struggled against disasters, both natural and man-made,” Cuerquis said.

She said the Filipinos’ resilience had earned the respect of other countries.

“Resiliency has become one of our best qualities. In the aftermath of typhoon Sendong, we demonstrated resiliency by being true to the call of being persons for others,” she added.

Though a lot of Ateneans became Sendong survivors themselves, still some of them managed to get involved and help in the university’s Tabang Sendong operations.

“During these past two years, we demonstrated the same compassion for our fellow Filipinos in the aftermath of the siege and flooding in Zamboanga, the earthquake in Bohol, and the super typhoon that flattened Tacloban and other parts of the Visayas,” she said.

“Resiliency brought us together as a university and as a nation,” Cuerquis said.

But, she added, there’s more to be done than just being strong in the face of calamities.

“No, it’s not enough that we learn to adapt to misfortunes. Each one of us should take part in preventing disasters from happening in the first place, hence, resiliency should pose a way [for] preparedness and responsibility,” she said.

Some disasters can be prevented through what Cuerquis called “professional competence.”

“So what does it take to be resilient these days? There are many ways,” she said.

As educators, Cuerquis, who took up Education, said, “We can make use of our trainings and talents to enrich the K to 12 curriculum which aimed to develop more globally competitive and responsible citizens of the world.”

As engineers, Atenean graduates can skillfully design and build infrastructure that can withstand hazards and risks.

“As doctors and nurses, we can truly practice ‘cura personalis,’” she added.

Accountants and businessmen can opt for more conscientious profit and benefit-sharing.

“As agriculturists, we can practice sustainable systems that nurture an abundance of clean and green produce while caring for the environment,” Cuerquis said.

For their part, computer programmers can develop applications that will advocate the pursuit of truth through greater transparency and accountability.

Cuerquis said: “Our Xavier education has prepared us to accomplish all these and more. At Xavier, we were also taught to commit ourselves to be men and women for others.”

“Today, for those of us working or joining the workforce, we take the challenge to become socially responsible professionals,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 28, 2014.

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