Bishop Socrates B. Villegas was bestowed the degree Doctor of Humanities honoris causa by the Bataan Polytechnic State College during graduation rites held last March 29, 2007 in Balanga City. Former President Corazon C Aquino assisted the College President Dr. Delfin Magpantay in imposing the hood and medallion. At the conferment ceremonies, Bishop Soc delivered the following message to the graduates and their guests.
Now I can say with pride and with much joy that I am an alumnus of the Bataan Polytechnic State College! What a great honor you have given me today. Thank you President Delfin Magpantay! I am proud to belong to Bataan! I am proud to be one of you, my dear fellow graduates of 2007.
What does being an alumnus of the Bataan Polytechnic State College mean for us?
The BPSC alumnus must be a person of courage and valor. We carry in our name the sacred peninsula of Bataan, associated with the heroes of Mount Samat and Corregidor. Every BPSC alumnus must be patriot according to the line of our kababayan Cayetano Arellano and Tomas Pinpin. What the Philippines needs at this time are Filipinos who love the Philippines with a heroes heart. Because of the poverty and social ills besetting our nation, we have become so cynical about our future as a country. Our elected leaders are so anxious about their political survival that they even sacrifice the survival of our nation. Fellow alumni, I challenge you to revive in our veins the blood of heroes and saints that have sanctified the hallowed ground of Bataan. Let BPSC produce new living heroes for the nation willing and ready to live and to die for the nation. What a great blessing that on this memorable day we are inspired by the presence of Former President Corazon C Aquino, herself an icon of heroism and piety.
The BPSC alumnus must be a person of excellence with a global mind and a heart for the poor. The great disease of our age is mediocrity. We think too small. We dread to dream big dreams for fear they may not be realized. We are tired of being disappointed. Fellow graduates: the true BPSC alumnus is a person of excellence not mediocrity. We must be globally competitive without sacrificing the needs of the least, the last and the lost because we ourselves are poor. We are called to soar like the mighty eagle but not like the eagle, we must not prey on the helpless fowls on the earth. Dream big but do not ignore the small brethren and do not forget our small origins.
Finally every BPSC alumnus was created in the likeness of God and must therefore keep God in all he thinks, and says and does. BPSC is a state college. The Charter mandates separation of Church and State but nowhere is it mandated that there must be separation of Man and God. Our God loving College President Dr Magpantay has time and again told us that if BPSC is thriving now, it is because God has been steadfast in blessing this state college. It is not enough that we pray. We must serve the poor. It is not enough that we serve the poor. We must be one with them. To be a maka Diyos BPSC alumnus is to pray fervently and serve selflessly so that people will see us and see no longer us but the face of God shining through us.
I am telling you all these qualities of a BPSC alumnus not just to challenge you but to make a pledge myself to be faithful to the spirit that dear Alma Mater has planted in our hearts.
Mabuhay ang BPSC! Mabuhay ang Bataan!
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Obispo ng Balanga