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Aquino to ‘Pisay’: Bill me to repair sports facilities

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 02:24 AM March 27, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—They have a sound mind, but what about sound body?

President Aquino on Wednesday awarded medals to most of the more than 200 graduates of the Philippine Science High School—the country’s future scientists and inventors—but he noticed something amiss.

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As he concluded his address, the President shared his observation: The four basketball goals in the gymnasium had missing nets, the football field’s nets were filled with holes and the gym had bad acoustics.

‘Send me the bill’

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“Just send me the bill, and Asec. [Assistant Secretary Reynaldo] Delantar and I will pay for it,” he said, chuckling, drawing cheers from the toga-clad graduates and their parents.

“Suddenly, I remembered what my Jesuit professors—Bro. Armin Luistro’s best friends—said: ‘It’s important to have a healthy mind and to have a healthy body,’” added Aquino, an alumnus of Ateneo de Manila University.

The “acoustics” inside the gym may need some fixing, too, and Science Secretary Mario Montejo should attend to this, he said.

Otherwise, the students are in good stead and good company, the President said.

Distinguished grads

He rattled off the names of the school’s alumni now in government, including Transportation Secretary Joseph E. A. Abaya and government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

While taking Economics at Ateneo, he said he had a classmate—a Pisay (Philippine Science High) graduate—who ended up teaching their Math professor about an error in their textbook.

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“Pisay graduates are so brilliant, one alumnus ended up teaching a college Math professor,” he said.

Of the graduates, Maria Crispina Buensuceso received the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award, and Alyssa Jane Boller, the Science and Technology Secretary Award for Model Science Scholar.

President’s niece

The President’s niece, Jacinta Patricia Dee, was among those who graduated with an academic award. The young Dee went up the stage with her parents—Viel Aquino-Dee and Richard Dee—to receive a medal from her uncle.

To the applause of the 232 graduates, Aquino announced that Pisay’s campus would remain on Agham Road in Quezon City amid speculations it would be moved to give way to urban development.

“Mayor Herbert Bautista would be the first one to oppose this,” he said.

Before he steps down in June 2016, the government will target building Pisay schools in all 16 regions from the current 13, the President said.

Give back to State

In his speech, he exhorted the graduates—all government scholars—to give back to the State by serving their fellow Filipinos.

“Our country needs you. I’m hoping that as you make your mark in the sciences, you would fight for the interest of the many,” he said.

“Now, we’re recognized the world over as a model for good governance. If we carry on, and with your contribution, we will be recognized as examples of wide development,” he said. “Through science, and with the help of each Pisay scholar, the Filipino will lead.”

Aquino told the graduates that they would find themselves at a crossroad in the future.

Return favor

“The time will come when you’re presented with the opportunity to help others. Will you say: ‘Thank you for what you’ve given, but myself comes first?’ Or will you offer a little part of your life to repay the opportunity that a Pisay education has given you?” he said.

“I’m hoping that when you find yourself at the crossroad, you would choose to return the favor to your fellow Filipino,” he added.

The President stressed that the graduates could put their skills to good use in everything, pointing out that there was a scientific process to stamping out corruption.

He cited, for instance, a study by experts from the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Geological Sciences that the dredging of the Pasig River didn’t follow standards.

Serve

“My question now is, who among you will use his talent to address the country’s problems? Who among you will find solutions not only to the ills of the country, but of the world?” he said.

“How many of you would come back to honor a debt of gratitude to our Boss? Who will be the next Secretary Abaya or Prof. Iye Ferrer? How many will serve? How many will spend time, sweat and talent to improve the lot of our countrymen?” he added.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Philippine Science High School, Pisay, Schools, sports facilities, Students
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