First of all, let me congratulate you, graduates, for making it. Second, congratulations to the parents who worked hard, one way or another, to send these teens to school.
Ladies and gentlemen, especially the graduates, let me share some few things. Most of us know that crimes nowadays are committed by minors. The numbers are going up. However, because of their age, they can't go to jail, they're send to DSWD. Still though, even if they have no marks of the prison bars, the fact remains the same: they have committed immoral acts at a very young age. Recently, a high school honor student was killed, all because of one simple thing, PSP. The suspects are now in prison. The ages of the suspects? Both in the mid 20s. They have wasted their life at the age where careers are being started, and they have done senseless killing to a teenager, whose ambition was to become a seaman and helped his family.
We have heard news of how early teenagers have committed rape, murder, homicide, robbery, not to mention theft, drug addiction, premarital sex, unwanted pregnancies. Because of this, the Congress is putting in legislation to put down the age of those who can be put into the prison. On the other side of the world, a man named Joseph Kony abducted children. The girls were used as prostitutes, while the boys are used as his soldiers. His advocacy? No known advocacy, but just to create his own army in that African state. NationMaster.com estimated that the Philippines has 101,000,000 people, while CIA World Factbook estimated that the Philippine population is 101,833,938. This survey was made around June 2011. We were 12th most populous country in the world, with China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia, Japan, Mexico all before us. 34.6% percent of our Population are 14 years old and below. Another source that dated 2010 says that there are 4 million teenagers, age 15-19 years old, in 2010 alone.
No, I'm not giving a lecture, for today's occasion is one of the most memorable part of a teenage life, and so does their parents and guardians. No, I'm not giving a tragic news for a supposedly happy occasion, for this occasion is also one of the happiest moments of a teenage life. Today is a day of celebration for all of us here. However, this is also a day of challenge. "What challenge?" one might ask. This day is a challenge of learning. Few minutes ago, rough statistics were given to you, and so does some current events. We can learn from this statistics and events that you, young graduates, has a significant bulk in population. A significant bulk that has so many things to learn like a sponge absorbing water. A significant bulk that can turn this community, or even this nation upside down. In all of this, learning is a significant variable.
Youngsters who committed crimes and youngsters who became honor students or simply graduates have two things in common: they're both young and learning. Youngsters who have committed crime at their young age have learned to do the crime because they have absorbed what is needed to be learned of a criminal. They have learned it from older "role models". It may be their own family members. It may be their peers. It may be of bad company. They have learned the bad deeds quickly...plainly because they are learners.
Youngsters who tried and did their best to finish school have learned the courses required by their teachers. Inside the school, they have learned the art of friendship, camaraderie, and the sense of community. On a humorous note, they have learned the art of cheating, computer games, how to pull jokes and pranks on both their teachers and classmates also inside the school. On a serious note, they have learned learning at school one way or another.
After this graduation, I bet that you're allergic of the word learning because often times, you associate it with school. However, let us be reminded that learning is both inside and outside of the school.
Like I said, both a young offender and an honor student are learners. Learners absorbing learning experiences like sponge. Learners giving what they have learned, one for the bad, and the other for the good. Learning is for us to maximize the positive gifts that we have. Let us use it right, let us rightfully use it.
Speaking of learning, let us not use learning just for personal purposes. Please let us use it to help our nation. Our nation have suffered decades of corruption. They have learned the strategies, the craft, Andover things. Yes they did, only to gain. They also learn to find their way out accountabilities. Our nation have also suffered on dissatisfaction on leadership. They have learned how to topple down one leader and another. Graduates, please let us all not do that (strong emphasis, then pause briefly)! Instead, let's focus on how our nation can bounce back through our learning experience. We must not messianic, learners, let us be an active everyday doer of positive things.
Let us build, not destroy. Let us love, not hate. Let us help, not shun. All of those are possible through learning. Because we have learned that if we build, we don't destroy. If we love, it comes back to us. If we help, we shall be helped one way or another. These positive learning experiences will eventually spread exponentially. Yes, we may not be on the paper or television, but our learning have helped this nation, one simple step at a time.
Ladies and gentlemen, our graduates deserve good role modes. Good role models in which they can learn positive learning experiences. Positive learning experiences that deserves to be shared. Parents, teachers, guardians, older guests, yours truly, they need to get something good from us.
Congratulations, to the graduates, for the learning that you have received, and welcome to the new world of learning experiences. May your learning serve as a big help for today's nation. Thank you very much!