Tomorrow, let us all vote. Let us also pray for credible polls so the winners will be accepted by our people. Three days after Election Day, the vote-counting machines (they are now nicknamed VCM, no longer PCOS) will tell us who the political victors are. Or so assures Commission on Elections Chair Andres D. Bautista.
Mothers and bar exam. Partisan political activities are banned today. In that spirit, let me just congratulate the nonpolitical winners in the family, in the recent bar exams and in the business community.
It is said that love flows like a river because it always flows downstream. How true! But today is Mother’s Day. Let the river of love flow upstream. Let us all show Nanay that we can love her more than she loves us—on this one special day.
Let me congratulate, too, the 1,731 passers out of the 6,605 takers in the 2015 bar exams, yielding a genteel 26.21-percent passing rate.
Special felicitations go to first-placer Rachel Angeli Miranda of the University of the Philippines. A former Inquirer scholar, may she write as succinctly as our staffers and as eruditely as Supreme Court justices.
Kudos also to second-placer Athena Plaza of the University of San Carlos. She reaffirmed that her alma mater is probably the best law school outside Metro Manila.
I also felicitate the Bar Exam Committee headed by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro for a fair and well-managed examination.
Business winners. Let me likewise pay tribute to the “RVR Award” winners who exemplify the life and values of the late Ambassador Ramon V. Del Rosario Sr. Since 2010, this award has been sponsored yearly by the Junior Chamber International (Manila Chapter) or Jaycees, the Asian Institute of Management and the Del Rosario family.
I was invited to keynote the recent launch of the search for this year’s awardee. My speech can be accessed at cjpanganiban.com, but let me just sum it up within my limited space and hail the winners of the last six years:
For 2010: former agriculture secretary Senen Bacani, who founded a large banana plantation, La Frutera, tilled by former rebels in Muslim Mindanao, and former ambassador to Great Britain
Jesus Tambunting, the founder of the micro-small-and-medium-enterprise-focused Planters Development Bank now merged with China Bank.
For 2011: the principled Oscar M. Lopez, patriarch of the Lopez Group, which espouses the “Power of Good” and integrates the green ecosystem in its many businesses.
For 2012: philanthropist Washington SyCip who founded and headed SGV, the largest auditing company in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
For 2013: former senator Vicente T. Paterno (now deceased) who organized Philippine Seven Corp. in the country and promoted the Medium and Small-scale Industries Coordinating Action Program (Masicap).
For 2014: the visionary Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chair of the country’s oldest business conglomerate involved in real estate, banking, telecommunications, water distribution and business process outsourcing, as well as the leader of several educational and charitable causes and foundations.
For 2015: the multitalented Manuel V. Pangilinan, chair of several conglomerates involved in telecommunication, digital commerce, electric power, water distribution, tollways, railways and other infrastructures, hospitals and health services, broadcast and print media, and mineral resources, and the unassuming head of the Philippine Business for Social Progress and many other huge foundations, including some that promote sports here and abroad.
Unique award. The RVR Award is unique because it promotes entrepreneurship and nation-building, traits that some people still treat instinctively as mutually exclusive and separate, when in fact they should be, and are, mutually inclusive. Together, they create inclusive progress, which ultimately benefits the country.
Yes, when businessmen help in education, the young invariably become good citizens, and in the process, consume higher quality food, purchase more homes and appliances, wear better-made clothes, travel more frequently, and use more mobile phones. In this manner, they move the economy and help the country.
When employees and laborers are paid correctly, treated with fairness and respect, and amply rewarded for work done well, they become efficient and loyal, thereby helping their employers advance the interests of their shareholders, customers, community and the nation at large.
When farmers are assisted in planting, harvesting and marketing their products, they multiply their resources. When out-of-school youth are trained to sharpen their vocational skills, they get employed and contribute their share in nation-building.
When ex-convicts and former rebels are given a chance to work in farms, factories and offices, they reform themselves and become useful members of society, instead of going back to their old ways. And when young athletes are trained in a world-class environment, they bring honor to our country and to themselves.
The RVR icons do all these and more. They devote a great part of their time, talent and treasures in helping the least, the last and the lost. I hope that beyond merely sponsoring the search, the Jaycees themselves will emulate these twin values of entrepreneurship and nation-building in their own lives and pursuits.
After all, they are echoed in the credo recited at the beginning of every Jaycee activity: “That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise; that government should be of laws rather than of men.”
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