"As today‘s door closes softly between us, those are my parting words. But there will be other partings and other last words in your lives. But today will not be complete without acknowledging what Father Ben has done for the Ateneo these past 17 years as the university‘s longest serving president – the new Loyola Schools, all the new buildings, the UAAP championships and the bonfires. It has been a pleasure working with him. Thank you so much Father Ben.
I do have one last word for you, if I may. This was a gift when I graduated at the age of 19 – the gift of friends with whom I sat on graduation day, who remain my friends for life. So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships.
And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you will recall those of Seneca, one of the old Romans i met in search of ancient wisdom: ―as is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. I will now let you go. Through God‘s providence, may each of you travel well that precious journey called life. And may your future be worthy of your dreams. My deepest thanks for the courtesy and honor you all have shared with me. Many congratulations. God bless you all. Good day and good life." Ateneo Commencement 2010 Speech
"Time to call it a day."
From GMA News
After being one of the prime patrons of the Ateneo de Manila University for nearly a decade, business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan announced on Friday that he is cutting ties with the school following disagreements over mining and the RH Bill.
Pangilinan is also the main sponsor of Ateneo's champion basketball team, which is gunning for its fifth consecutive UAAP title this year.
In a letter to university president Fr. Jett Villarin, Pangilinan highlighted the difference between his and the school's stand on the RH Bill. After Ateneo professors came out in support of the bill, Villarin issued a statement saying that the university still supports the CBCP's stand against the proposed legislation.
Pangilinan, who is the Chairman and CEO of Philex Mining, was also reacting to a letter by Rev. Fr. Jose Magadia, Jesuit Provincial of the Philippines, in which he referred Jesuit communities to a document entitled "The Golden Mean in Mining: Talking Points."
"Failure to manage one’s affairs – such as weak institutions, failed regulatory agencies, corrupt enforcements – do not mean a particular business is per se evil, as suggested about mining in that Jesuit Paper. It is man’s frailty – Filipino frailty to be exact – that should be blamed, not the business," said Pangilinan.
"And in the context of two other gruesome incidents (i.e., plagiarism and the first mining blow-up) in the recent past, I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally ('non-negotiable')."
By "plagiarism," Pangilinan was referring to his Ateneo commencement speech in 2010 which was found to contain passages lifted from speeches by US President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and others.
After explaining his disagreements with the Ateneo, Pangilinan ended his letter to Villarin with the following lines:
"The logical consequences of this are: (i) each of us can pursue our advocacies freely without having to be sensitive with regard each other’s feelings; (ii) my complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo – something which, after reflection, I must confess I welcome with some relief at this stage."
The letter was originally posted on the Twitter account of Denis Lucindo, with the caption, "for the attention primarily of my Ateneo Alumni Friends, the full text of MVP's letter to Fr. Jett Villarin with the subject 'Jesuit Paper.'"
Lucindo is identified as the Vice President for Business Development of Philex Mining Corporation.
Ateneo president Villarin could not be reached for comment, but Sonia Araneta, Ateneo's public relations head, confirmed the Pangilinan letter and said that Villarin has sent him a reply, but declined to say whether Villarin accepted Pangilinan's "total disengagement."
"This matter is now best handled in quiet and private conversation," Araneta said.
An Ateneo official said they were surprised by the letter and were still "reeling."
The Jesuit Paper
The Jesuit Paper that Pangilinan was referring to is titled, "The Golden Mean in Mining: Talking Points" and was written by the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate (SJSA), Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.
Posted on the website of the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI), the document presents itself as a structure of "talking points" outlined by the SJSA for its members to identify "non-negotiables" - values and bottom line positions - that would potentially serve as a guide for its members and other organizations on the issue of mining.
The 9-page document cited the following Catholic principles and applied them to mining:
The principle of stewardship - that mining should not be "at the expense of the environment";
The precautionary principle - as long as there is serious risk to environment or human health posed by mining, even if these are not clearly known or understood, decisions should always be on the side of the environment and safety; "In this case, the mining operation or activity must be disallowed at least temporarily."
The principle of the common good - all stakeholders in mining should benefit in the industry. Priority must be given to indigenous peoples, local communities and local governments. The article stated that the current system of revenue distribution in mining is "inadequate" and favors mining companies;
The principle of subsidiarity - national and local laws should be in harmony when it comes to mining;
The principle of preferential option for the poor - benefits should be given to host communities, affected communities and indigenous peoples;
The principle of the dignity of labor - emphasis on the importance of applying safety hazards in mining such as not employing children and degrading and hazardous work environment;
The principle of association - grievances of all sectors should be heard when it comes to mining; checks and balances should be maintained;
The principle of respect for human life - mining should strive to protect human rights and human dignity.
The article then called the Aquino administration's mining EO, Executive Order No. 79, a "mixed bag".
"It is not perfect but it contains good provisions which, if implemented, would make mining operations more responsible," it said. "We should work to implement these good provisions and to hold government accountable for its realization. At the same time, certain provisions in EO 79 assume that the Mining Act of 1995 establishes the right paradigm for mining in the Philippines. We should reject those provisions and work to have them changed."
The paper then pointed out provisions in the EO that should be "revisited" and "changed" as the provision that "unconditionally exempts current mining agreements and operations from the application of the new policies on no-go areas and revenue distribution needs to be qualified."
“Such exemption should have been done on a case-to-basis where justified by the non-impairment of contracts clause of the Constitution and where the company involved has a good environmental and social record," it said.
It also pointed out that the provision that mandates consistency between national policy and local legislation was "problematic," adding this could possibly "dampen" initiatives of LGUs in their own areas of jurisdiction.
"More than specific provisions, the reason why EO 79 is inadequate is its failure to question the paradigm that animated the mining act of 1995," it continued. "This paradigm has the following elements: (a) Our minerals are there to be utilized and exploited; (b) Largescale mining is the preferred approach for that utilization and exploitation; (c) Mining companies, including foreign ones, are encouraged with incentives to invest in the Philippines. At best, under this paradigm, the environmental and social costs of mining are underemphasized if not altogether ignored."
From Ateneo Website
Commencement Address of Manuel V. Pangilinan to Ateneo's Sesquicentennial Batch (Editor's Note)
date posted: 2010-04-03 21:08:00
Concerns have been raised about the commencement speeches delivered by Mr. Manuel V Pangilinan, chairman of the Ateneo Board of Trustees, last March 26 and 27, which were previously posted on this site.
Below, we post the statements of Mr. Pangilinan and Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ, president of Ateneo de Manila University, contained in their exchange of emails stemming from the said expressed concerns. We are sharing these with the community for its enlightenment.
Thank you very much.
The Ateneo Web Team
Dear Father Ben
I have been told last night that portions of my graduation remarks - in particular my address to the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences - had been borrowed from certain other graduation speeches.
I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison @ Facebook, and must admit to this mistake.
For this, I wish to express my sincerest apology to you, the University and to the 2010 graduating class.
I have had some help in the drafting of my remarks, but I take full and sole responsibility for them.
In mitigation perhaps, the body and substance of my speech represented my own story and my thoughts. And I have labored long hours to get those speeches done. It is my hope that their impact has not been lost on the graduates. That said, this post fact event I am certain has devalued the words I have uttered at graduation - whether original or copied.
I am told further that comments posted on Facebook have started to spill beyond graduation, and are now alluding to my misconduct with respect to Meralco, with former President Erap, and so forth. Under the circumstances, it is best for the Ateneo and myself to shorten the life of this controversy and prevent it from spinning out of control.
Fr Ben, this has been a source of deep personal embarrassment for me.
I am truly regretful for it. I already have too many battles to fight, and some of them I wish not to have to fight. In this instance, I do not want to, and would seek only the honourable and principled way out. The matter at hand may rest after this public apology, but it gives me a lot of personal discomfort to continue to be closely involved with Ateneo affairs after this incident. I am afraid the damage has been done - wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.
With much regret, Fr Ben, I would wish to retire from my official duties at the Ateneo.
With all good wishes to you and to our graduates.
M. V. P.
I received your apology just a few minutes ago and feel how deeply embarrassed and pained you are by this event. We realize that this was a mistake and we respect and appreciate your taking responsibility and your immediate apology.
At the same time, we know that this happened without your full awareness, though you take full and sole responsibility. Thus this does not diminish our admiration and respect for your person and for your care and accomplishments for our country and for the Ateneo. In fact, your acceptance of responsibility and apology command our utmost respect.
In reading again through your speeches, we also see that indeed the main part of your speeches were your story and your thoughts. We thank you for taking so much time to craft them and to share them with us and our graduates. We are deeply touched by this sharing of yourself.
Again I realize how profoundly embarrassed you are by this event and that you believe that resigning from official duties at the Ateneo is the principled thing for you to do. However, reflecting on the events and circumstances, I cannot quite agree, and I believe with many others that what is appropriate is the apology you have given. Neither can I agree with you that "wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos." I would thus like to take up your retiring from official duties at the Ateneo with our officials and Board of Trustees and discuss it further with you.
It is Easter Vigil and may the Risen Christ be Light to you.
Fr. Ben, S.J.