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    Building Partnerships for the Future

    Office of the Vice President

    25 August 2017

    Message at the Graduation of Astoria Hotel Scholars from the University of Rizal Systems (URS) , 24 August 2017

    Mrs. Vivian Ng, Chief Operating Officer of Astoria Plaza; Señor Miguel Cerqueda, President of Asian Grand Legacy; Mr. Alfonso Ferrer, Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute Director; Dr. Marita Canapi, President of the University of Rizal System (URS); Prof. Edgardo Celestial, Campus Director of URS Cainta; department coordinators from Astoria Plaza; our dear OVP scholars; teachers and students present; sa inyo pong lahat: Magandang, magandang hapon!

    Una sa lahat, let me congratulate our dear students, parang kalian lang, for completing their internship as our first batch of scholars under the Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute (ACHI). Naalala ko you visited me in my office parang kahapon lang. Before the internship training started and when you were just starting, I was also here for an event. Tapos ngayon, maggagraduate na kayo. Hindi madali ang 208-hours of training; kaya, iyong sa amin lang, saludo kami sa inyo, humahanga ako sa inyo. You are an inspiration to our youth today, who need to learn the value of hard work and determination.

    This would not have been possible without Astoria’s support and commitment to building a better and brighter future for our youth today. This program is only one of the many projects that Astoria is currently holding for our youth.

    In fact, I think it was two weeks ago, the Astoria Plaza [team], sila Jeff and sila Vivian, and the Angat Buhay team of our office were in Palawan together. And we held a similar graduation program together with DOLE, the Asian Development Bank and the local government of Palawan. Medyo iba lang doon ng konti because Astoria set up a hands-on training program for the community where they can enhance their life skills and competencies. Iyong kagandahan doon the scholars, 41 of them, most of them came from the indigenous people community. I forgot pero mayroong there were many stages in the training. The graduation we attended was just the end of the first stage, life skills training. It was very, very inspiring to see these 41 young people being given an opportunity of a lifetime. Parang paminsan the success of everyone is hinged on the kind of opportunities that come their way. And we’re just so thankful that the Astoria Plaza has given them such a tremendous gift.

    Gaya ng sabi ko, when we met with them in Palawan, it was just the end of the first phase of their training. But you could see the hope and the excitement in the eyes of our very young people, pareho rin with the hope and excitement that we see in your eyes.

    Ito iyong binibigyan natin ngayon ng emphasis at the Office of the Vice President. We try to find opportunities where we can link iyong mga nangangailangan and iyong magbibigay ng pag-asa under our Angat Buhay program. We have been linking very poor communities with our private partners so that we will be able to bridge the gap between the supply and demand side. Paminsan kasi, nandoon talaga iyong pagkukulang. Hindi nagkukulang sa edukasyon, hindi nagkukulang sa availability ng trabaho pero iyong pagkukulang iyong matching. And we are just so thankful that the University of Rizal System has been very proactive as far as your program is concerned. Malaking bagay po na bukas iyong, hindi lamang ang inyong mga kamay, pero pati iyong inyong mga puso to find these golden opportunities for our graduates.

    Iyong sa akin lang, just my one message to our graduates today: I think the best form of gratitude that you can show to your school and to Astoria is huwag niyo sayangin iyong training na ibinigay sa inyo. Not everyone is given this chance. Hindi nabibigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon. You were one of the few who have been given this gift and the best part of showing, sabi ko nga, your gratitude is to maximize all the skills that have been taught to you. Not only that, not only for yourself, use that to pay it forward.

    Papaano niyo ba maibabalik to your community what gift has been given to you?

    I think this is the most crucial thing in our society today: not everyone is given a chance pero sana iyong mga nabibigyan ng pagkakataon nakikita iyong lalim nung implication of the opportunity that was given to you, and the passion – make sure that the gift is shared with everyone else.

    So heto, this is just the first batch, and we have made representations already with Astoria. Astoria has been very generous in supporting our endeavors. I think this is going to be a continuing program of Astoria already and the University of Rizal System. And we are looking forward to the fruits of this partnership.

    So kayo iyong pinaka-torch bearer. Huwag niyo sana kami bibiguin.

    We can only be excited of what is to come for every one of you in the next months or so. Sana sa susunod nating pagkikita, you can only regal us with the best stories of how fruitful and meaningful your 208 [hours] with Astoria have been – hindi lang sa Astorya, pero sa school, which nurtured you also.

    So iyong sa atin, thank you very much Astoria, Vivian, and Señor for the wonderful opportunity you have given these kids and also for the kind of help and support you have been giving our Angat Buhay program.

    So sa inyo po, congratulations! Lalo pa silang gumanda, Vivian. I think you would have to agree with me, mayroon na kayong ibang glow ngayon. I think it can only come from the experience that you underwent in the past 208 hours, the difficulties included. Iyon naman iyong nakapagpapaganda sa lahat: when you go through challenges and difficulties, you learn how to nurture, you learn how to value what has been given to you.

    So thank you to Astoria, to URS, and to our graduates today, and to the entire Astoria family for accommodating this wonderful young people in your program. We look forward to continued partnerships with you.

    Maraming salamat at congratulations!

    Posted in Speeches on Aug 25, 2017