Be non-conformist, but provide alternatives, Bukidnon grads told

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 2 April) – Amidst the mediocrity, an education official told graduates of a state university here to be non-conformist and take the road of change, but never to forget to offer alternatives.

“Let’s be different from the mainstream, we don’t have to conform,” said Commissioner Alex Brillantes of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) during graduation rites of the Bukidnon State University at the school’s gymnasium last Monday.

Brillantes – who spoke during the morning graduation rites for graduates of the colleges of law, nursing, graduate school, and the business, accountancy, hospitality, and public governance – told the graduates to be different and to make a difference.

But he stressed that the graduates must work out alternatives in their journey for reforms in society.

Brillantes cited, among others, Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Sr. and the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo as examples of government leaders who became non-conformists and offered the alternatives.

He stressed that graduates should pursue change that must be systemic and should involve changes in laws for it to be effective.

Brillantes expressed the need for a paradigm shift as well to go with the changes in laws. He cited inspirational author Stephen Cover, author of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” who stressed the need for a change in paradigm even with the same constraints and circumstances.

During the Second National Governance Forum at the BSU from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, Brillantes told members of the Philippine Councilors’ League that reform of structure and process of governance in the Philippines is not enough. He urged officials to bring good leadership into it.

He said there must be an enabling mechanism to make citizens and officials all as “duty bearers” alike.

“Power is only temporal. Power lies not in wanting power, do not handle power, share it,” he said, adding that “with higher responsibility comes higher accountability.” He echoed the same message in the graduation rites.

Brillantes, who is a professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines and president of the Philippine Society for Public Administration, stressed that apart from being non-conformists and as reformists offering alternatives, the graduates must strive to have values.

“Be honest even if others are not, even if others do not, even if others will not,” he said, adding that “values is key” for the graduates to succeed.

Addressing the graduates as future government workers, officials and other professionals, Brillantes said leadership and political will are important in change.

“The leader must show how the alternative will work,” he added.

He said it is also important to engage citizens so as not to leave governance to government alone.

BSU’s 80th commencement exercises focused on “ASEAN 2015: The Challenge for Higher Education.”

In the afternoon graduation rites for graduates from the colleges of teacher education, arts and sciences, and community education and information technology, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo urged the graduates to level up for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration in 2015, looking at it as widening opportunities for the graduates.

He challenged the graduates to “be proud of their school”, to be “proud graduates of the Philippines”, and “make their school be proud of them”.

BSU has traditionally opted for officials from CHED for commencement speakers.

Brillantes is a CHED commissioner while Romulo chairs the House committee on higher and technical education.