Kudos to the graduates

Tomorrow, a Thursday, the streets along Corrales and Hayes in Cagayan De Oro City would be barren. The streets would be closed to traffic as combined military and police with bomb sniffing dogs patrol the areas. Security at the entrance of the Jesuit-run university would be rigid. Security personnel would search in detail any person entering the university compound. Anyone entering the university compound should pass a detailed security check.
No. There is no war in the heart of the city. Neither there is imminent threat nor a dangerous fugitive is on the loose. Tomorrow, the university will hold a “convocation ceremony” to signal the start of the three-day 2015 commencement exercises.
Fr. Roberto Yap, the President of the Jesuit-run Xavier University, announced that three important university guests, including the chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would receive an award.
Secretary Teresita Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP) would be conferred an honorary doctorate degree in humanities (honoris causa). Miriam Coroner-Ferrer, the governments chief peace negotiator and Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF ‘s chief peace negotiator, would each receive the “Fr. William Masterson’s Award.”
Yap said that the security measure is part of the university’s commitment to make the occasion peaceful in order that parents, students, guests, and visitors would feel secure during the ceremony.
Since last month, the military and the police have been burning candles in preparing an elaborate security measure for the occasion. Actually, there is nothing special about the university’s commencement exercises. After all, the graduation rites are the usual activity in any university or college anywhere in the country as the school calendar year closes.
What makes the Xavier University’s graduation ceremony controversial this year was the decision of the Board of Trustees to award people involved in the “peace process” in Mindanao. Most residents, including the university alumni, have expressed apprehension over the “timing” of the award, at a time when 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were mowed, in what appeared to be a massacre in Mamapasano, Maguindanao last January 25, 2015.
There are fears that the university’s graduation rites would become subject of sabotage as emotions about the Mamapasano “massacre” remains high. Others also expressed the fear that Iqbal, the MILF top man, would tow along with him dozen of armed escorts apart from the armed security of the OPAPP officials.
The military and the police have allayed fears of sabotage or any untoward incident that would otherwise mar the university’s peaceful commencement exercises. The university officials also said that Iqbal has made an assurance that no armed escort would be around when he comes to the city on Thursday.
“We believed in Iqbal because we had several meetings with him in the past. We observed that Iqbal has never tagged an armed escort with him during those meetings,” Yap said during one of the many interviews with the local media.
Anyway, everybody hopes that the university’s commencement exercises would be peaceful and successful. To the new graduates, congratulations! To the parents, thank you for enduring the challenge in sending the sons and daughters to school – often amid frustrations of surmounting high tuition and nasty school officials.
By the way, we also wish to congratulate the Makahambus Eagles Club and the Makahambus Lodge for donating 20 hospital beds with mattresses to the JR Borja City Hospital, Wednesday morning. Kudos to Kuya Robert Dy, president, Makahambus Eagles Club and WM Jeremy Lim Lo Suy, president, Makahambus Lodge 315. May your tribe increase!

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