By Gabriela Baron
“People conform to historical revisionism. People believe in fake news and fake stories. People succumb to false teachings without studying them.”
Helbert Paat, a son of a farmer and native of Cagayan, lamented in his commencement speech where he emerged as the lone summa cum laude of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB).
The Applied Math major talked about the many forms of poverty, most especially poverty of knowledge, saying many people lack passion for independent learning and critical thinking.
“There are those who do not make careful analysis before voting in elections. There are those who rely on feelings without assessing if they are based on facts,” he noted.
The young man with a bright future further said that poverty of knowledge makes the nation a slave to the lessons it realized, but never learned from.
Paat thanked his alma mater for teaching him and his fellow students to question their beliefs.
“UP taught us to be critical thinkers and creative learners,” he said.
The UPLB top student also highlighted how greed and immorality have troubled Filipinos. He expressed fears that, by having leaders who do not want to listen and do not want to heed their advocacies, the culture of impunity has become normalized in the present.
Paat ended his speech with a battlecry to his fellow graduates: “Serve the nation!”