Saturday, November 19, 2016

Resiliency and Vigor in the name of Peace and Progress - A Declamation Piece

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“Papa!!! Help!!! Please help us!!! My body aches!!! I can hardly move.” I fell badly from the motorcycle we were riding in. “Papa!!!” I screamed out loud but I could not hear any reply except for the deafening silence of the night. Then, strange sounds from the jungle made me scared. Huhuhuhu. I slowly opened my eyes and with all my might, I looked for my father and a couple of meters away I saw him breathing in and breathing out uneasily. “Father, please hold on! Help, we need help! My father is dying! Oh my God!!! My father was shot dead by a gunman riding in tandem on board a motorcycle.” He tried to survive but the criminals shoot him again. Then, before my father’s one last breath, he uttered, “Mary Jane, pursue your dreams and never give up. God will be with you.”  “Yes Papa,” was all I could say. Huhuhuhu… “Oh God, please help me deal with this problem. I don’t think if I could ever survive. Huhuhuhu.”

Then, someone said, “Mary Jane, Mary Jane, Mary Jane, wake up!!! It’s already 8:00 o’clock in the morning. Hurry, today is our rehearsals for graduation at the Dimaporo Gymnasium. Get yourself fixed and we’ll catch up! Or else we will be required to have an extended CIVAC and we will not be allowed to join the commencement exercises!!!” I paused for a moment and reminisce the days when my father was still alive and everyone in the family shared happiness. “Mary Jane, there you go again,” my roommate interrupted. “Your graduation will be your ultimate gift to your father and your family. Remember that they strived so hard to help you reach this far. And yes, an MSUan will always be a survivor!!! You can do it!”

Like a thousand hopefuls, I dream to graduate in a prestigious university and my achievement will be dedicated to my father and my family.

Then comes the 50th Commencement Exercises, “Mary Jane Panto, Bachelor of Science in Peace Education, Magna Cum Laude.” I can hear the resounding applause of the crowd and looking at my mother and siblings, I can see the joy in their faces. “How I wish my father is still with us, so I could make him proud too. But I know, he’s also happy with this humble achievement.”

“Good morning class. Today is Monday, August 1, 2016. I am Mary Jane Panto and I gladly welcome you all to Peace Education. I believe that Peace and Progress are inseparable for humanity to thrive. This is one of our ideals and may we all be guided in our dealings with our fellow human beings.”

I have loved teaching peace education that it makes me excited and passionate to teach my students the essence of peace building towards progress until one gloomy afternoon, when all my students have gone home before 5:30PM, a tall, dark and hmmm ‘nevermind’ guy entered the room. He stared at me and I began to quiver. Nevertheless, I managed to ask him, “Yes, how may I help you?” He took a glance at the window, as if to check that no one is around the building. Then, he immediately grabbed my hand, pulled me towards his body and maliciously touched the whole of me. I forcefully pushed him but he was strong enough to resist my opposition. I screamed out loud, “Help!!! Help!!!” But the rains have started to pour down heavily with a roaring thunderstorm and a frightening lightning. I begged him, “Please, don’t do it,” but he was too forceful. I tried to kick him and escaped a bit but he chased me with a wild grin on his face. “Nooooo!!!” I exerted everything I could but he got what he wanted. “Oh my God, what in a world is this? I could no longer bear this suffering!” Huhuhuhu.

Days passed and I convinced myself. “If I will remain mum and weak, the criminals will continually abuse other ladies like me. I need to fight for my right and with what happened to my father who was killed without any reason.” “Mr. President and to this most august body, these problems have become a norm in the university and elsewhere. Every now and then, a guy killed, a girl raped, a student wounded and a lot more. Will we let these life threatening occurrences to continue without doing anything? I am a rape victim and I will do my best to help Mindanao State University a better place to live in. We need to implore all the faculty, staff, students and residents to be vigilant and let us work hand in hand to attain lasting peace.”

Months passed and positive change has come in MSU. No more killings, no more rape incidents, no more snatching and everything is in order. Peace and Progress have become prevalent that academic excellence, social responsibility, cultural sensitivity and professionalism serve as the new culture. “Thank you God.” MSU now has all the updated state of the art academic facilities and every MSUan is enjoying it.

I am Mary Jane Panto, the newly appointed Vice President for Peace Administration J To God be all the glory J

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