Commencement Address, Graduation Ceremonies, Ibn Sienna Elementary Graduation, Dimaporo Gymnasium, MSU, Marawi City , April 6


Praise be to Almighty, the owner of the Earth, the Galaxy and the Universe.

I praise today the foundations upon which this school was founded, remembering Ibn Sienna or Avicenna who founded medicine, influencing Europe (the West) for 800 years. Without who we would not have injection.

I praise the role you play in this Philippine Republic in bringing Islam to the fore and consciousness as a vital tool of education.

As a youth, I dream that Markazz Shabbab and your leadership engages our society more, lead us to a direction out of darkness. I wish our children make their own laboratories within their homes and discover new things.

I WISH for a land that nourishes its people, both in spirit and in body, a studentry that leads us into enlightenment.

Can a presidential race be instead a people’s space, (election be selection) , Sultanate be a code of honor (royalty be loyalty to law ), education be vocation, graduation be assumption of responsibility to humankind?

We are free, able to wake up and choose, able to chart our day. But is freedom instead a prison, when all we do is receive and we do not give?

I wish for the eye to not just see but to SAY WOW to the colors of a rainbow, paint his garden with as many roses as she can plant.

I wish for the ear to listen to the pain, agony, experience of the wise.

I wish for the mouth to speak up for the deaf and against slavery.

I wish for the hand to lead a direction, draw a map of change, write, plot action.

I wish persons can turn to one another, create a community out of their aspiration.Turn a walis tingting into a broom that sweeps away hatred and jealousy.

I wish to see you under trees, recite the Darangen words like you do the Bayang Magiliw and remember Dansalan Declaration, Padang Karbala and the heroes with no books to tell about them.

I wish for the Lake to be a pool, our own Timoga. For our airport to bring goods, for our banks to grow from deposits. We cannot murder the lake for our own eating pleasure, throw away the plastic nang walang pakundangan. Such plastic if thrown on the canal reaches our waters, gets fed into the fish’ mouth and thus kills the fish.

I wish maratabat is for the upliftment of Christian suffering as well, for the protection of the vendor, downtrodden and stranger. We cannot celebrate with glitter and gold when the dead is buried without a family.

Let waking up to fresh air be a blessing, and responsibility. To chart out a day where we can read and teach, distinguish, discover, find and unfind, know the real and the fake.

I would be remiss if I cannot speak about the truth of what has happened in our electricity, Islamic bank and in some of ARMM educational reforms .

It is a responsibility to inform you as I served a year in ARMM. 1 billion was paid in remittances, teacher’s appointments divorced of paying middlemen, among others.

Before you condemn, hear about the system. Power supply is shared with others in industrial Iligan, Zamboanga, Davao  in an integrated system that allots from hundreds of megawatt a measly 15 megawatt for Lanao del Sur and Marawi.

Just like a business, you get high something when you also have a good record, considering we have a 10-billion debt.

Islamic banking has grown over the years from its 1-billion capitalization. It needs your deposits to make its top performing Marawi branch grow more.

Islam becomes meaningless without justice. And justice is not true jihad if it destroys the name it defends. Islam is inquiry, it is a weapon of asking, and doing, it solicits solutions to world problems, to work on time, be on time, to overtime.

Plan ahead and you will not line up, people will accept you can get ahead of them in the line dahil ikaw ang hahanapin sa linya.

Do not be disenchanted and frustrated. You will certainly fall, scrape a knee, fall in love and heartbreak.

Make us drink not sink Ranaw. In this fountain today is the youth, who pledge responsibility to use their eyes, ears, mouth, hand , reason and emotion to cleanse it from wrong.

In this pregnant silence, I yield to Almighty’s power to define our reality. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNew. Samira A. Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., is former assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, Inc.; former director, Marawi Resort Hotel, Inc. See her blog at