YOU know why I love people who earned diplomas after having survived the rigors of being working students?
Well, aside from their sheer display of indomitable spirit to achieve their dream for which they ought to be lustily cheered till eternity, they must be presented as models worth emulating not only for this generation but for the generations still to come, as well.
That is why hat’s off to Far Eastern University (FEU) for conferring a doctor of honoris causa to Ramon S. Ang, a 1980 FEU graduate of mechanical engineering, simultaneous with his appointment as the university’s commencement speaker only last week. From being a working student to becoming an engineer all the way to heading the country’s biggest conglomerate in San Miguel Corp., why, anytime, that is a huge feat RSA had accomplished so well. To say that his crowning moment is for the ages is an understatement.
I take special pride in RSA’s achievement as I was a working student, too. Recently, I was offered by my alma mater a professorial chair. Thoroughly humbled I was; I declined it. But that is another story.
Meanwhile, have I not told you I love speeches? Here’s another one, from RSA himself.
“Chairman Emeritus Lourdes Montinola, Chair and CEO Gigi Montinola, FEU Board of Trustees President Michael Alba, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Be proud. FEU has produced the best and the brightest graduates: Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Henry Sy of the SM Group, Lucio Tan of PAL, Alfonso Yuchengco of RCBC and Ramon Sy of Asia United Bank.
FEU has competed and can compete with the best and brightest of graduates from UP, Ateneo, La Salle, Harvard even! In every field we have excelled.
I am an FEU graduate of mechanical engineering 40 years ago.
Today I run San Miguel, the biggest conglomerate in the Philippines.
From its original business of beer, food and packaging of about P100 billion sales revenue a year, we diversified in 2008 into a company that now has interests in oil and petrochemicals, power, infrastructure, properties and banking. Today we are a company with P900 billion in revenues.
- Our beer market share is 95 percent.
- We continue to expand our feeds, flour, feedmill, piggery, chicken dressing plants and ready-to-eat products, packaging and property businesses, thus creating more jobs for our countrymen.
- We own Petron, which has the largest network of gas stations in the Philippines and a growing network in Malaysia.
- We are the largest power generator.
- We are a properties company that manages hotels, residential, commercial projects and economic zones.
- We manage toll roads, among them, Skyway, Slex, Star Tollway, South C-6 connector road. Through our toll roads we hope to solve traffic on Edsa.
- The Boracay Airport in Caticlan is in its finishing stage and we are building Boracay Bridge that will help solve solid waste, sewage, water, power and telecom problems.
- MRT 7 and the Edsa Loop connecting SM North Edsa through Commonwealth, Batasan, to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to Malabon, Navotas, Manila to Makati will ease commuter stress.
- The Bulacan Airport will be one of the biggest airports in Asia and the world. It will have six parallel runways good for 200 million passengers equipped with mass transit. It will create 40 million jobs and bring in 20 million foreign tourists a year. A comparable country like Thailand with a population of 100 million brought in 30 million tourists.
- San Miguel also has investments in cement, banking and BMW cars.
I never imagined that one day, I would be accepting a doctorate from my alma mater.
I am truly honored.
Looking back, being a working student helped me become more equipped in dealing with people from all walks of life.
One of the reasons for my accomplishments is because of my ability to read people and situations.
I am able to adapt. I make tough decisions based on gut instinct.
FEU has taught me well.
FEU made me what I am today.
What is the key to my happiness? Allow me to share with you what I have armed myself with in dealing with people:
- Be a man of your word.
- Know how to keep a secret.
- Work harder than anybody else.
- Be decisive.
- Be a risk taker.
- Nothing is impossible.
- Believe in a bigger purpose.
At San Miguel, we believe that love for country is important. That is why we continue to help many Filipinos as we can through our products, roads, airports and infrastructure.
Building a better future for the next generation is our ultimate goal.
My character has been molded by this school and I am proud of the contribution I have made to society.
I have made my mark and I challenge you to do the same.
In fact, I am inviting you to send your résumés so that we can possibly work together at San Miguel in the future.
I would also like to announce that I have started an educational fund in FEU for deserving but less-privileged students.
To the class of 2018, congratulations and good luck to all of you!
Mabuhay tayong lahat!”
PEE STOP Prayers for Justine Baldivia, the 6-year-old niece of versatile actor Dennis Padilla. Justine succumbed to a vicious dengue virus last week. My family deeply condoles with your loss Dennis and your entire clan.