Honorable Teofisto T. Guingona, Vice President, Honorable Raul Roco, Secretary of the Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports, our generous partners in Sky Foundation, and my fellow employees in the Lopez Group of Companies and Sky Foundation, good afternoon.
First of all, allow me to thank Vice President Guingona and Secretary Roco for gracing this event this afternoon. And please, let me indulge by expressing congratulations to them for a wonderful job in government.
Today, Sky Foundation takes another step toward the fulfillment of its vision, that of a community of educated and empowered citizens working relentlessly toward a better Philippines.
We wish to thank the Department of Education, Culture and Sports - now under the helm of the courageous and indefatigable Secretary Raul Roco - for helping us move closer to realizing our common dream. And that dream is to democratize access to quality education.
After two years, we can say that all the elements are in place. We know that the Knowledge Channel is on air regularly, schools have access and use the Channel, and support programs like teacher training and reference guides are available. We can proudly turn over to the Filipino people, The Gift of Knowledge.
What better gift can we endow our young people than the Gift of Knowledge! The gift of education. The gift of the future.
As any parent among us knows, education is the most important legacy we can leave our children. It is the key that will ensure the success of our children. Recent developments bear this out.
Sky Foundation envisions a community of educated and empowered citizens working relentlessly toward a better Philippines.
A people working relentlessly, perhaps the country does not lack. Without meaning to condone their actions and behavior, we've seen a lot of people admirably standing for their beliefs and fighting for what they believe is right. What they believe will pull them out from their poverty. Mere passion and determination do not work for the improvement of any one's lot. It would be like climbing up a ladder placed on the wrong wall. You're moving in the right direction but to the wrong destination.
Enlightenment is key. An enlightened people working relentlessly to make our country better is what we need, and what we hope to build for the Filipino people's collective security in the future. And only by ensuring that all Filipinos have access to quality education and opportunities could we have a community of educated and empowered citizens working for a better Philippines.
What are we doing in education? A core value in our organization is public service. Public service as a business philosophy was well articulated by my late brother Geny: "Our reason for being in business is to render public service. Public service - doing well by doing good Profits are not the only reason we go to work each day. There is the fulfillment of being able to give back to others who deserve the best for their money."
Like our partners here this afternoon, another core value in the Lopez Group which my late father constantly stressed is education and the concept of continuous learning and improvement in our companies. My father firmly believed that young talent must be nurtured by the best education possible. He sought to provide other young Filipinos similar opportunities in education as he had enjoyed in his youth by donating the edifice of the Asian Institute of Management.
We, his children, have institutionalized this learning process within our organizations by establishing the Eugenio Lopez Development Center in Antipolo. The Center is dedicated to the continuing professionalization of our management staff.
Among the most prominent efforts we've made in education development in the country is of course the ABS-CBN Foundation. Through free television and the production of educational programs, schools may avail themselves of quality educational materials to supplement classroom instruction.
To have an even greater impact on basic education, Sky Foundation was founded and the Knowledge Channel was created to supplement classroom education in core subject areas of elementary and high school.
Why television some of you may ask? Of course, it is a core competence within the Lopez Group. A competence area that we can easily harness to the fullest. Television is also the fastest means of distributing information. It is also the cheapest relative to print. Through technology, imperial Manila and other urban centers may no longer enjoy the advantage of obtaining educational materials ahead of other areas. Any student anywhere in the country has access to the same information that may be available globally. For me, that is equalizing access opportunities to education. These are just a few of the advantages that television technology enjoy over other media.
Cable television provides additional advantages. For one thing, it prepares ourselves and our school system for the advent of breakthroughs in technology. Cable television has been touted as the medium of the future. It is the medium where, technology developers predict, entertainment, communication and information technology will converge.
The task of providing education opportunities is not that of the DECS alone. Nor is it ours alone. There are limits to how far our resources can stretch. Our strategic partners and allies play a crucial role. They provide the lifeblood that keep the Knowledge Channel alive.
If I may digress a little bit, aside from forging partnerships with us and with the education sector, our fellow organizations in industry may also play an important role in helping build our society's moral fabric. Enlightenment of our people may not come by education alone. A strong sense of right and wrong is also important. By way of advocacy, many companies could help build the right values in our people. Of course, this task is more appropriately that of the home and family. Again, this is another core value that our group is firmly committed to: that of family and corporate unity.
Had educational opportunities been available more equitably before had our people been enlightened and been woven of stronger moral fiber perhaps there should not have been an EDSA Dos, nor an EDSA Tres, and definitely no Mendiola riot. People would have voted for the right people from the very start.
As our way of showing that we shall relentlessly work to ensure that Filipino students have access to the Knowledge Channel, we today turn over The Gift of Knowledge. Let this be our humble contribution to the gargantuan task of re-educating our historically downtrodden people. May we request President Arroyo, to be assisted by Secretary Roco, to accept this gift on behalf of our countrymen, the Filipino people.