MANILA, Philippines – Good or bad, learn from experience.
This was the piece of advice former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave to the graduating students of Pangasinan State University during their commencement ceremony last week.
“Good grades may be among your achievements, but these are not the only ones…..No matter how insignificant the small experiences in school seem, these experiences – good or bad — are great teachers that tell you about yourself and how you interact with the world,” she said.
“You can rely on your experiences to tell you what your strengths are and where your weaknesses lie. Build on your strengths, avoid repeating your mistakes and try to lessen your weaknesses,” Arroyo added.
Arroyo’s many years in politics were marked by achievements but also marred by controversies, which led to her hospital detention for four years on plunder and graft charges. The Supreme Court last year dismissed the cases against the former chief executive.
In her speech, Arroyo also stressed the importance of education to the country’s growth, saying the best investment that any government could make is on human resources.
“President Duterte has ordered free tuition for students in selected tertiary education schools, including PSU, because our human infrastructure is the country’s best singular resource and education is very high in our value ladder,” she said.
Arroyo further told the graduates that government carries out physical infrastructure programs “to create the environment conducive to investments that will provide jobs for you when you get out of school.”
“This is the main reason that every administration builds more roads, bridges, ports, airports and other physical infrastructure, while constantly seeking to improve the educational system which provides the human infrastructure needed for development,” she said.
“Government does not create jobs by opening new positions. Our country can prosper and people’s living conditions are improved only if new jobs are created by the proper investment environment, major of which is adequate human and physical infrastructure,” Arroyo added.
Arroyo also cited the major infrastructure projects implemented during her nine years as chief executive such as expressways and schools, as well as tuition aid programs.
The Pampanga lawmaker is among authors of House Bill 5633, which seeks to provide students free tertiary education in state universities and colleges as well as in technical schools and create the Student Loan Board for tertiary-level students enrolled in private schools.
The bill has been consolidated with the Senate’s version and approved at the bicameral conference committee level.