The Challenge of Nation Building

Excerpts from Prof. Randy David’s remarks at the Rock Ed Convenors Meeting

13 August 2005
Filipinas Heritage Library
Makati City

“ I thought I would talk to you today about the business of building a nation. I take the slogan, “No more excuses” to mean precisely this- no more excuses for not lifting a finger while our country swings from one crisis to another, and while the vast masses of our people sink deeper into hopelessness because of poverty. As in Rizal’s time, the key is education. The nation awaits a new generation of ilustrados who would become the nervous system of a modern nation.”

Over 40 Rock Ed members ages ranging from 22 to 40-something gathered to hear remarks from the elder convenor as well as to discuss with each other.

Questions flurry around the room as the afternoon went on. Dialogue ensued about abstract ideas on nation-building and concrete plans for action. CP David speaks up on an environmental project while Gang Badoy and Jaime Garchitorena listen in.

Prof. David concludes:

“The first time I heard about the Rock-Ed initiative, I became more hopeful about the future of this country. Suddenly, the spectacle of thousands of Filipino doctors enrolling in nursing schools to qualify for nursing jobs abroad paled in comparison to the millions of young Filipinos who do not seemed deterred by the problems created by the country’s politicians. The intervention that is demanded of all of us is nothing short of an educational revolution that creates new values and new visions even as it imparts new skills. It is not mere coincidence that every social revolution everywhere has been launched on the backbone of a literacy campaign. And the goal has been to eliminate not only material poverty of the masses but especially the intellectual and moral poverty of the whole population.

The recovery of a nation’s self-esteem is as important as the recovery of its sovereignty. Without self-esteem, there will be no motive for self-improvement. Thank you and may you succeed in this endeavour.”