14 April 2015
MVP to 2015 grads:
No secret to success, just old-fashioned values and a passion to fulfill dreams
By: Cristina Lazo, News5
MANILA (via InterAksyon.com) - What does a man who sits at the helm of a conglomerate share with young people eager to know his formula for success? No secret, no magic, is the reply of Manuel V. Pangilinan, who told students at the state-owned Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila: it's basically just "old-fashioned values" like working hard and being fair and honest.
In a speech Monday at the 47th Commencement Exercises of the university owned and run by the Manila city government, Pangilinan said: "There is no magic. No mystery. No secret recipe. Success springs from values as basic and old-fashioned as being honest and truthful. Working hard, playing fair, setting goals, and having the discipline and determination to pursue them."
The PLM awarded Pangilinan the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.
"Manny V. Pangilinan is blessed to be one of the prominent icons in the business world who has achieved a high level of excellence in his chosen field by effectively maximizing every opportunity that comes his way, characterized by his abiding integrity as well as intellectual and financial honesty," said the PLM Board of Trustees chairman, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
In his commencement address delivered at the PICC Plenary Hall, MVP looked back on his struggles as a student having to make do with a meager allowance.
"When I went to San Beda for my elementary and high school education, I had 25 centavos each day to spend for my transportation and merienda - 10 centavos for a bottle of Coke, 5 centavos for crackers and 10 centavos to take the bus home - which I could not afford to lose. Otherwise I'd have to walk home. In college at the Ateneo, I commuted by bus or jeepney. I only had P10 every week."
Pangilinan also recalled his struggle to pursue post-graduate studies despite his financial limitations. "After college, I wanted to earn an MBA in the United States, but knew no money was available. So I had to find a way. Fortunately, Procter and Gamble then offered a rare scholarship to the University of Pennyslvania's Wharton School. It was a national competition; I won. From my elementary to High School to College days, all the way to my MBA at Wharton, my education was like what most of you have - free."
What accounts for success? MVP listed the "basic and old- fashioned" values of honesty, fairness, perseverance, but added: "Most of all, success is about passion. The passion to succeed. The passion to compete. The passion for excellence."
He said his experience in Hong Kong, where he spent years interacting with a lot of Filipino workers while working with First Pacific, "taught me that the commitment to succeed can overcome being poor. That a spirit of purpose can give impetus to human energy. That the power of ambition can set heroic goals and achieve them."
Pangilinan told the graduates, "You can't succeed if you're afraid to fail. I've known how to lose- not just once, but many times. Boldness to take risks, guts to decide and act - these are strengths, not weaknesses. Just like in basketball, paano ka makaka-score if you don't shoot that ball?"
Poverty, he stressed, should not be an impediment to achieving greatness.
"There is a greater satisfaction to have accomplished something from being poor, rather than out of wealth inherited," he declared, then quipped, "It's good to be poor - so long as it's not forever."
To conclude his speech, MVP reminded the graduates to contribute to the nation's progress.
He also announced that he will provide the PLM campus with free wifi from PLDT, clean drinking water from Maynilad, and fix electric wires courtesy of Meralco - on top of a P20-million personal donation to the university.
The MVP group is invested in a diverse range of companies that include telecom leader PLDT-Smart, Meralco, Maynilad, Philex Mining, hospitals topped by the Makati Medical Center, and TV5, where he is board chairman. InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.
HERE'S FULL TEXT OF MVP'S COMMENCEMENT SPEECH AT PLM:
Sa lahat ng pinagpawisan ng ating nagtatapos, ang araw na ito ay bunga ng inyong pinaghirapan, at isang tunay na gantimpala para sa inyo. Do not let this day end without thanking someone - your parents and grandparents, your teachers, friends, and siblings.
PLM was created by law in 1965, on the day of birth of Jose Rizal. It opened its doors in 1967, admitting freshmen scholars from the top 10-percent of Manila's public high schools. From the start, excellence has been an indelible trademark of the university and its students.
The school took root in the historic district of intramuros, on the hallowed grounds of what was once the Jesuits' Universidad de San Ignacio, and Ateneo de Municipal de Manila. In that historic place, your mission and spirit were formed - grounded on the principle that poor, but deserving, youth of Manila deserve the chance for higher education.
Your horizon has since expanded beyond the old, colonial battlements of Manila. Now PLM is called to service by our nation. Evolving from an institution of just 556 students, to a university with over 11,000 enrolled in 12 colleges, two professional schools, seven graduate schools, engraving its mark of excellence on everything from accountancy and business to humanities, medicine, law, and engineering.
PLM has given this country its share of great graduates: Fe Palileo, SSS commissioner; Adolfo Alix and Roy Iglesias, award winning filmmakers; Senen Reyes, the first Filipino cosmonaut doctor; Wilma Galvante of TV5. Let's not forget Beethoven Bunagan - better known as Michael V.
These alumni were once like you, struggling and simple. Sabi ni Wilma Galvante, nagtyaga silang kumain ng vegemeat sa canteen – adobong vegemeat, fried vegemeat, ginisang vegemeat – kasi mas mura kesa all-meat – saving their last centavo to buy banana cue at Sarsi, or lunch of matamis na adobo sa Old Maxi. Ngayon naman, ang kinakain ninyo ay kwek-kwek at fewa, siomai na mas maraming arina kesa baboy, "chicken chop" na mas maraming bread kesa chicken.
Poverty did not keep these illustrious men and women of PLM from dreaming and achieving. Their - and now your - perseverance reflect PLM's motto - Educatio ab Inotia Liberat – education liberates from poverty.
Dati ang kantyaw ng mga taga-University Belt sa PLM, "Pamantasan sa Likod ng Mapua". Sagot naman dyan - PLM ay "Pilipinong Labis na Matalino". (Pwede rin matinik? O maganda? Baka naman magaling kayo kasi "PLM" kayo: Pinagagalitan Lagi ni Mommy!)
Kaya kayong mga graduates ay parang paborito kong celfone: Smart. At para kayong Meralco: maliwanag ang bukas.
Kaya rin ako nandito, tinuturing ko kayong lahat parang TV5: Kapatid!
Your background and values resonate in my own life.
Tulad ni Mayor Erap, naging mahalagang bahagi ng aking buhay ang Maynila at San Juan.
I was born at the Fabella Memorial Hospital in Oroquieta. My father then was a messenger at the Philippine National Bank in Escolta, kaya tumira kami sa silong ng bahay ng aking lolo't lola sa Isabelo de los Reyes, Sampaloc. Ang "mall" namin ay Central Market sa kanto ng Quezon Boulevard at Fugoso Street, malapit sa city jail. Ang libangan namin ay manuod sa Central Theater, malapit sa Central Market - double feature, black and white. Kaya lang may surot. Syempre paborito naming bida si Mayor Erap, sa pelikulang Kandilang Bakal, Lo Waist Gang, Cuatro Cantos.
Then we moved to Little Baguio in San Juan. Our modest house stood right on the boundary of a squatter settlement. From my bedroom window I could see, smell, and feel the lives of the poor.
When I went to San Beda for elementary and high school, I had 25 centavos each day to spend for my transportation and my merienda. Ten centavos for a bottle of coke, 5 centavos for crackers and 10 centavos to take the bus home. I could not afford to lose a single centavo, or else I'd have to walk home. In college at the Ateneo I commuted by bus or jeepney, making the most of 10 pesos every week.
After college I wanted to earn an MBA in the United States, but knew no money was available. So I had to find a way. Fortunately, Procter & Gamble offered a rare scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. It was a national competition. I entered and won.
From my elementary to high school to college days, all the way to my MBA at Wharton, my education was like what most you had at PLM - free.
And just like most of you will likely do, I started working as an employee. I was executive assistant at Filoil in 1970, with a salary of P1,000 a month. Even with my Wharton MBA, I had to train as a salesman for six months, working in many parts of Mindanao.
It took persistence and years of waiting before I finally became my own boss.
In 1981 I founded First Pacific in Hong Kong with six people, 50 square meters of office space, and little capital. It's scary. But today that small company is now a regional conglomerate, employing more than 100,000 people in most parts of Southeast Asia, sales of about 20 billion dollars, and invested in a broad range of businesses from agriculture to branded food, from phones to power, from tollways to water, from hospitals to mining.
When I visited PLM 10 days ago, I was asked: What accounts for success? There is no magic, no mystery, no secret recipe. Success springs from values as basic and old-fashioned as being honest and truthful, working hard, playing fair, setting goals, discipline and determination to pursue them.
Most of all, success is about passion. Passion to succeed. Passion to compete. Passion for excellence. Commitment to succeed can overcome poverty. A spirit of purpose can give impetus to human energy, ambition can set heroic goals and achieve them.
But let me add this - you can't succeed if you're afraid to fail. I've known how to lose - not just once, but many times. Boldness to take risks, guts to decide and act - these are strengths. Paano ka makaka-score, if you don't shoot that ball?
Remember that you can afford to fail because you're young. Successes tell you that you can attain more successes in the future. But failures tell you that you can survive and move on.
Sabi nga ni JK Rowling: "It's impossible to live without failing at something, unless you've lived so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all."
I also say: There is greater satisfaction to have accomplished something from being poor, rather than out of wealth inherited.
Nakausap ko ang inyong valedictorian, si Rovin Callagas. Walang saysay ang parangal kay Rovin kung hindi natin tatantuhin ang kanyang buhay. Ang ama ni Rovin ay magtatari sa sabungan. Ang kanyang ina, simpleng may-bahay. Working student ang inyong valedictorian. Rovin passed the UPCAT, but as a child of a poor family in Manila, even a daily commute to Diliman wasn't affordable. And so he chose PLM.
Sabi ni Rovin: no regrets. He has a quality education that will allow him to compete. Dagdag nya: "Ang PLM student ay may pangarap at may panata. One day I will not be poor anymore. One day, I will serve the country and PLM."
Rovin's story is a good one, but it is only one of 11,000 other stories which prove that industry, perseverance, and unshakeable determination can make you succeed.
Kami naman po ay handang tumulong sa inyo. Paano aangat ang PLM kung walang Internet? PLDT will help provide wifi throughout your campus. I will ask Maynilad water to help fix your pipes, to provide cleaner, safer drinking water and to bring down your costs – so President Lenny de Jesus can better spend Mayor Erap's budget for you. Meralco will help look at your wires - kung may nakasabit at ano dapat ayusin. Kuryente load or prepaid electricity could be a solution too.
Sa paglisan ninyo sa pamantasang ito, ngayong araw ng pagtatapos, isa lang ang hiling ko sa inyo. Ipangako ninyo na kayo ay magiging bahagi ng pag-unlad ng Maynila, at ng ating bansa. Ipangako ninyo na ang Pilipinas ng bukas ay magiging mas maunlad kaysa Pilipinas ng kahapon.
Mabuhay kayong lahat! Many congratulations!