by Christine F. Godinez Ortega

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte was the guest speaker during the Institute’s 45th Commencement Exercises held at the MSU-IIT Gymnasium on April 7, 2015.

Duterte arrived by helicopter from Davao City landing at the Iligan City National High School grounds. He was met by an MSU-IIT official party led by former BOR regent and Protocol Officer Eduardito C. Maruhom, Rex G. Ortega of the Office of the Chancellor, and former Iligan City Mayor Franklin M. Quijano.

After signing autographs and posing with some of his admirers who were on hand to greet him at the high school grounds, Duterte, wearing a plaid, polo shirt and jeans then proceeded to the MSU-IIT with police escorts.

MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol and top officials as well as the incumbent Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia were among those who greeted Duterte upon his arrival at the MSU-IIT where he was again mobbed by an adoring crowd.

After he changed into the academic gown, everyone went post haste to the Gymnasium for the graduation ceremony.

Setting aside his prepared speech, the Mayor spoke extemporaneously tracing first the country’s history leading to the Mamasapano killings.

He began when the Spaniards stayed in the country for 400 years imposing her religion, Christianity, and her attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity hence, the Muslim resistance; and the coming of the Americans who stayed for 50 years imposing treaties with so-called “parity rights” but in reality, he said, it was anything but “parity or equal”; and, America’s influence to this day has resulted in inequities in the sharing of income and resources by today’s politicians or today’s elite who are based in Manila who decide on who will receive and how much share is given to certain groups when, ironically, Mindanao contributes about 54 per cent of its income from agricultural products to the national coffers. He then lamented what all Mindanaoans know that Mindanao gets only, in return, a small share of the nation’s wealth.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte

In Duterte’s historical meanderings, he explained that the Mamasapano killings happened because, like the colonizers who did not ask permission from the country’s inhabitants to stay in the country, he said, the “bright boys among the Police” went into Mamasapano territory violating the ceasefire agreement.

Duterte later had a luncheon meeting at the Institute Board room with local businessmen led by his former dorm mate at the San Beda College’s Law School, Benny Badelles.

After this, Duterte left for the College of Engineering (COE) Amphitheatre where a multi-sector crowd gathered for his “Listening Tour” on Federalism organized by Quijano.

The multi sector forum on federalism at the COE Amphitheatre

The forum opened with a power point presentation on federalism by Chancellor Tanggol based on his own book on federalism.

MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol

Federalism simply means a system of government where there are two levels of distribution of power within a given territory. Today, the Philippines runs a unitary form of government where the central government holds all the powers to chart the country’s present and future, including the local concerns of cities and provinces.

In his extemporaneous speech again at the COE Amphitheatre, Duterte mentioned the newspaper article from Inquirer where Peace Secretary Ging Deles warned of ‘bloodshed’ if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed. Duterte agreed about this prediction but elaborated that the battleground will be in Mindanao and not elsewhere.

However, Duterte reiterated his allegiance to the country as a Filipino and asserted that he is for peace.

He also talked about the unspoken differences between tribal groups and the less known fact that is common knowledge among Mindanaoans of the gap between the tribal groups. For example, he said, the Tausug cannot like the Maranaos and vice versa, and if the central government deals with the Maguindanaos through the BBL, then it must deal with Nur Misuari, a Tausug, as well as the Yakans and the Sama.

A lawyer who finished his Law degree from San Beda College, Duterte has been Mayor of Davao City for 23 years and is serving his seventh term as Mayor. He was also a one-time Vice Mayor and Congressman. A son of a provincial governor of a once unified Davao, Duterte is known to have cleansed Davao of rebels, and criminal elements, an achievement all peoples of Mindanao acknowledge.

Most of all, Duterte is known as a Mayor with the common touch. He is said to never turn away anyone who wants to see him. He accommodates everybody and is not time conscious of his appointments making some MSU-IIT students to remark, since he was already running late for the MSU-IIT Commencement Exercises, “he is worth waiting for.”

And this is borne out of present realities. Minutes after the MSU-IIT official Facebook (FB) page announced that he, Duterte is this year’s commencement speaker, 200 gave positive comments and shared the post and 1,000 likes were posted.

Called alternately as “idol”, and “hero”, Iligan residents turned out to greet him despite the noon day heat. His commencement speech was live-streamed by the MSU-IIT Center for E-Learning (Micel) because only about 4,000-5,000 could be accommodated in the MSU-IIT Gymnasium at any one time.

This year’s graduating class of 1,612 hung on to Duterte’s every word during his speech before the MSU-IIT Class 2015 that had 35 magna cum laudes; 261 cum laudes for the degree courses; 15 With Honors in the three-year Diploma courses and five (5) for the two-year Diploma courses.

The 2015 class was led by Class Valedictorian Rachel Anne O. Monteclaro, a BS Biology graduate major in Zoology, summa cum laude with a GPA of 1.19848. The School of Engineering Technology (SET) posted the highest number of graduates at 320 followed by 229 from the College of Business Administration & Accountancy; 224 from the College of Arts and Social Sciences; 211 from the College of Education; 199 from the College of Engineering; 182 from the College of Science & Mathematics; 117 from the School of Computer Studies; 84 from the College of Nursing; and, 33 from the School of Graduate Studies. Thirteen more joined the graduating class that brought the total number of graduates this year to 1,612. The MSUS President Macapado Muslim was represented by MSUS Executive Vice President Dr. Emmanuel M. Lagare during the two-hour graduation ceremony. Lagare conferred the various titles and degrees on the 2015 Graduating Class in the presence of BOR regents, Chancellors of the different MSUS units and the MSU-IIT Chancellor Tanggol.

MSU-IIT Batch 2015

Photos by Jez Orbe

Topics : Commencement Exercises