DAP Public Management Development Program
Middle Managers Class – Batch 13 GRADUATION CEREMONY
06 OCTOBER 2017, DAP Tagaytay


            Distinguished guests, DAP and PMDP officials, the eminent faculty members, agency heads and institutional partners, PMDP alumni, our families and friends, mga ka-balangay, ladies and gentlemen, buenas tardes a todos!

            About 13 months have passed, I felt truly honored to accept, in behalf of our class, the challenges posed by MMC 12 during our gala night. Towards the end of that speech, I said, “with optimistic minds and brave hearts, we are looking forward, a year from now, to celebrate the successful completion of what we are starting today – the graduation ceremony!”

            Today, ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply humbled that I am delivering this address in behalf of the superb MMC 13 Balangay!

            Our PMDP journey was, and still is, really life-changing for all 41 of us. I’d like to compare ourselves to water molecules. Because, like water, prior to enrolling in the program, we were possessed of “suspended and colloidal solids”. We had (and actually still have but not at as glaring as before) flaws and imperfections… we needed purifying. We needed training experiences to teach us exactly how we can improve ourselves and become better leaders, better public servants.

            And just how surface tension allows water to resist external forces to a certain degree, our Balangay Class molecules are also cohesive resulting in our own surface tension, this enabled us to get things through and shoo away those uninvited negative forces. In the same manner that water molecules want to cling to each other, our class, in the spirit of synergy and altruism also stood by each other.

       We covalently bonded that while during the first few weeks of our class, all were kind and nice and polite… then after serious sharpening of the saw, now, almost all of them are competent bullies.  Then, of course, there was the birth of the balangay goons!

           Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, the 1-yr PMDP journey pushed us to our limits and consequently, brought out the best in all of us. There were the highs and the lows of the waves, the challenges were tough and it just got tougher as we went on the journey.  And we are not complaining. Because those difficulties made this little victory of ours – our graduation – even more worth celebrating.

            From being the mere water molecules with suspended solids, we were purified and nurtured. The difficulties and challenges thrown our way served us well. From the liquid state, the balangay class solidified. We turned into ice! … But not just your ordinary hexagonal type of ice. We transformed into the elusive ice xv – the kind of ice that’s solid, super dense, and stable.

           Thanks to the precision drills, the group works, and the dreaded paperworks for they taught us about teamwork and perseverance… they taught us that victory is sweet but it is sweeter when it is shared and sweetest when no one is left behind…

         Possessed of the characteristics of a true ice xv, the Balangay Class is tested to withstand great pressure. We lived by the saying “sleeping is a luxury and eating is an option”. And again, we are not complaining. Because despite all these, we managed to pass our exams and delivered more than what was expected of us and we still made time to socialize, enjoy, and party party! The 5-month residential phase allowed us to bond ionically too that we danced, we sang to our hearts’ desire to the point that some of us found ourselves already on top of the tables and chairs!

          Due to low temperature, the amount of potential energy of water molecules is reduced, causing them to slow down. Just like us, when we were subjected to the several examinations and exercises, we reached the point when we slowed down and others even thought of quitting. I, personally, reached the point when I questioned myself if I can still make it. Not only did I feel deprived of sleep and rest, I also felt homesick. I missed my family, especially my daughter. Luckily, being the ice xv that we were, I received the much needed support and encouragement from my classmates, especially Paris, Asper, Paul, MJ, and of course, my sister from another mother, my roommate, Ate Idang who have since become very dear friends to me.

           There were bad times but there were also the best of times! Indeed, when the paperworks get tough, the balangay gets tougher! True-blooded HPHP, as we call it here in PMDP! The high performing, high potential!

             Looking back, we had each part of the balangay intact! The layag, angkla, kaha, cabrisante, timon, arsia, kamarote and my very own moton! Each part functions not to their own advantage but so that the balangay can sail as one. I saw the true sense of unity as it unfolded. And true enough, we emerged as one – one team. One spirit. I personally witnessed a group of strangers that turned into family- the family we now call balangay- well others prefer it as balangey – for reasons I choose not to mention anymore.

            The bond we developed is nothing short of inspiring. That despite sometimes dark skies and stormy waters, we heeded well the whisper of the winds and roar of the waves, and together, Class Balangay has arrived because together we kept going!

             But please take note, ladies and gentlemen, we did not simply arrive, we are actually reaching a milestone for DAP’s PMDP! After 12 MMC batches, Class Balangay is the 1st batch to achieve 100% graduates of Masters in Development Management! We are making history here, ladies and gentlemen! #luckybatch13, indeed! Like a true ice xv, we remained strong, worked hand-in-hand, and made sure that no one is left out.

            We have so much to be thankful for, here at dap we have received a great education, thanks to our fine pmdp administration, to Ma’am Dedeng, Ma’am Nanette, Ma’am Inday, Raymart and Brian. And all our eminent faculty who molded us to take on whatever challenges come next in our lives as public servants.

            Our 1st week in the journey was already heightened with Prof. Llorin’s opening statement “there must be a reason why this program is one of the activities in your life–that we must find that reason! Har har har”… and our crafting of the team and personal strategic development plans facilitated us in finding that reason! To be peak performers!

                 Looking into development perspectives reinforced the realization that public service is not a joke! Public service is a commitment rather than mere employment. As what Dr. Rivera said, “kahit hindi ka na nakikinabang, you still continue to work for public service”.

             Ma’am Beth Manugue instilled in us that it is not enough to do our best, we must know what to do and then do our best in building high performing organization.

               I thought the accounting for non-accountants with Ma’am Monteza will be as easy as counting 1, 2, 3 but it turned out like it was as complicated as getting the anti-derivative of an inverse trigonometric functions in a calculus class! Buti na lang we have our accountants, Ces, RJ, and Maz who helped us through!

            Then there’s executive negotiation with Prof. Nieves! My batna is only to graduate with a master’s degree, but I received a whole lot more!

            Thanks to Madam Arcellana that today I can correctly pronounce graduation “ceremony”.

            I would like to commend Dr. Nic Agustin for making a highly technical module as project development and management an exciting and motivating learning experience for the batch.

            Mastering public policy analysis with Prof. Edgon is like “a walk in the park but it is in Jurassic Park.” It was really difficult but when everything was done, I say, it was all worth it.

            To live simply so that other people may simply live, as what Madam Corazon instilled in us, is the key message of our 10-day sensing journey. All the challenging, joyful, and humbling experiences I had (i.e., walking/mountain trekking for about 1hr, everyday; squatting on a pit privy with walls covering only lower half of my body; eating “metal”–me-talbos ng gulay; fellowship with my host family and the community) are to be treasured and cherished! It taught me lessons I may never ever learn in the four corners of a classroom. It showed me the value of pursuing and living a purpose-driven life.

            Thanks to Ma’am Bobbie for guiding us in our Re-entry Projects.

            At this point, I’d like to take a moment to remember our mentor who is no longer with us today. Dr. Mely Ancog, for reminding us that collaboration could mean almost everything in governance.

            I’d also like to take this opportunity on behalf of my fellow graduates to thank our respective agencies and the people that have brought us here.

            Personally, I am grateful to the Department of Science and Technology specifically Regional Office IX for sending me to DAP. Special mention to Engr. Mahmud l. Kingking, my institutional partner, Atty. Mario Bravo, my faculty adviser, Sir Martin Wee, and to the entire DOST-IX ReP team for supporting me in the implementation of the Re-entry Project. And of course, to no less than my former Regional Director, now the Undersecretary for Regional Operations, my mentor, my boss, USec. Brenda Nazareth-ManzanoMa’am, thank you for recommending me to this program and inspiring me to reach new heights. I hope that somehow, I am able to return the favor to DOST with this achievement.

            To our families and loved ones, our heartfelt appreciation goes to you. The past 13 months have presented us with a lot of ups and downs and it is good to know that we had our families in our corner, supporting us along the way.

            Special thanks to my family… Benjie – my love, my daughter Pippa, John2x, and syempre si Mama. Your presence today means a lot to me.

            Ladies and gentlemen, rest assured that the learnings we got from PMDP will, like the balangay, continue to sail. And as graduates, we promise to be the water molecules that will allow our balangay to continue its navigation to give excellent services. We will be bringing with us the learnings and experiences to wherever fate may take us.

            Finally, to my dear batchmates, the friendships that we have made here will last a lifetime. Now that we are already graduates, it is time to go back to our respective agencies… and this requires our transformation back to the liquid water that we once were… but this time, with lesser suspended and colloidal solids than what we had before.

            To my ka-balanga/eys, as you embark on your new journey, remember the counsel of the great novelist, Mark Twain, when he wrote:

            “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

            Bon voyage, balangay! Muchisimas gracias a todos y buenas dias! Thank you!