Vision and Values; (Keynote Address Delivered on the First Day of the 36th National Student Congress Sponsored by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Held December 15-18, 2007 in Cebu.)

Manila Bulletin, December 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

Vision and Values; (Keynote Address Delivered on the First Day of the 36th National Student Congress Sponsored by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Held December 15-18, 2007 in Cebu.)


Byline: Chief Justice ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN (ret.)

MAY I thank you, the delegates from NUSP-member schools attending this 36th National Student Congress held here in Cebu, for inviting me to deliver the keynote address on the theme "NUS at 50: Continuing the Legacy of Passionate Student Leadership, Advancing the Rights and Welfare of Students and the Filipino People, Strengthening the Union Towards Serving Society."

Delighted to relive carefree years

Though already retired from the judiciary and perhaps old enough to be your grandfather, I am nonetheless delighted to be with you today to relive my carefree days as a young man. I have lived on this planet for over seventy years; have met some of the most important people that populate it during my lifetime; have enjoyed some trappings of power and luxury; have traveled to all the continents of our earth, except Antarctica; and have marveled at the wonders of the old and new world, like the Pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, the Coliseum of Rome, the Iguasu Falls in South America, the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Rockies in Canada, the fiords in Norway, the Blue Mountains of Sydney, the hidden Peruvian City of Machu Pichu, the Great Wall of China, St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican, the Taj Mahal of India, the Museums of St. Petersburg, Disneyworld in Florida, and of course, the rice terraces of Banaue.

Let me tell you very candidly that I would exchange all of that to turn back the hands of time and to relive my years as a student leader, especially those I spent attending the various leadership functions of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). I will gladly swap all my experiences as a man of the law, my travels around the globe, and my victories in my battles against poverty, to be able to enjoy again my student pursuits, to be freed completely from any material, professional, social or intellectual attachments, to be young again and to dream without borders and biases. Yes, to all of you I say: Enjoy the best time of your life; you can be young only once; be the best of what you can be in dreams and in reality.

Three-fold NUS conference theme

Your theme is very appropriate during this 50th year of the NUSP. First, you want to look back into the past and connect with the legacy of our Union, its visions and values at its inception and how these double v's of vision and values have been lived in reality. Second, you also seek to improve the future by advancing the rights and welfare of the students and the entire Filipino people. Third, you want to foster the present by strengthening the NUSP so it could continue serving society.

I am deeply impressed by your theme, because it speaks of ideals, of vision and values, and of dreams and reality. I firmly believe that every person and every organization must have a vision of what he, she or it intends to accomplish, a method of fulfilling them, and a set of immutable values to guide the journey until the destination is reached. Without vision and values, one will be like a ship without a rudder, or an airplane without avionics. The journey cannot be completed because the ship or the airplane will be moving without direction and purpose. It will crash in the shoals of uncertainty and failure.

As a founder of the NUSP, let me, in this keynote address, start by discussing the visions and values that guided us fifty years ago when we organized the Union. Let me bring you back to the decade of the fifty's when your parents were not yet born, and when your grandfathers were merely whispering "sweet nothings" into the ears of your grandmothers.

During the late 1950's, the exchange rate was two pesos to one dollar, ice cold bottled soft drinks sold for ten centavos, a semester's tuition was only about 150 pesos, but let me tell you very quickly that we were still complaining about how expensive education was. Cars sold for about four thousand pesos. …

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Vision and Values; (Keynote Address Delivered on the First Day of the 36th National Student Congress Sponsored by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Held December 15-18, 2007 in Cebu.)
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