ICYDK, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto was a Political Science graduate from Ateneo de Manila University (He was part of Class of 2011). Ten years after his own graduation, the mayor came back to his alma mater, albeit virtually, to share a few words to Class of 2021 as their commencement speaker.
As he sent his greetings to the graduating batch, the mayor also lightheartedly used his humor in his speech when he said, "Ang inyong commencement speaker, akala niyo ay pormal na nakabarong, pero 'yun pala, nakasuot lamang ng shorts." All jokes aside, the Pasig City public servant also had a lot of important pieces of advice to impart not just to Ateneans but also to the youth in general.
Here's a rundown of a few words of wisdom from Mayor Vico Sotto's ADMU commencement speech:
"Dream audaciously and act courageously."
As potential changemakers, the mayor encourages the youth to construct goals that serve not only their families and loved ones but also society and the country as a whole. While the mayor has no doubt that the new generation will have no problems dreaming audaciously and acting mightily, he also hopes for the youth to never forget to respect and listen to those around them.
"We should always act and speak in accordance with our values and beliefs."
Regardless of what situation we find our society in, the mayor encourages the youth to never be neutral. Instead, he asks them to act in support of the principles and the beliefs they hold in life.
"If we want things to improve, there's no one else who's going to do the job but you."
Mayor Vico has high hopes that this generation is bound to spark the change the country needs. In an effort to encourage the youth to take action, Mayor Vico reminds the new generation that they have the tools to initiate this change and defy the norms through platforms such as social media. "At the palm of your hands, you have nearly instant access to more information than Albert Einstein could have possibly seen in his lifetime," he shared.
"Let’s make an effort to listen to people from outside our echochamber."
The power of social media has proven limitless in terms of connecting us to a wider network of people, but Mayor Vico also warns the youth of its perils. "Kung hindi tayo nag-iingat, hindi natin namamalayan, 'yun pala na-stuck na tayo sa isang echochamber kung saan wala na tayong nakikitang ibang perspektibo."
Social media can also be "weaponized" to withhold information and therefore limit discourse, and so the mayor urges the youth to listen especially to those who hold opposing views, even if it's an arduous process. "If you think Lebron James is the greatest basketball player of all time, talk to someone who likes Michael Jordan. If you have a friend who is an anti-vaxxer, politely engage him or her and show them good reputable sources as to why vaccines are safe and effective." The mayor adds, "Walang mangyayari sa’tin kung puro block agad, unfriend agad."
"The times ahead will be challenging, daunting... but your time is now."
In his closing remarks, the mayor hopes for the youth to view this not as a burden but as an opportunity to inspire change for the better. The possibilities in the modern times are endless and the stakes are higher more than ever, but the youth of today are just as fervent and capable in taking on the challenge. "Nananatiling mataas ang aking pag-asa at buong puso akong naniniwala na kung meron mang grupo ng mga tao na kakayanin ang hamon ng mga panahong ito, kayo 'yon."
You can watch the full speech here:
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