Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar told new graduates of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta – Las Pinas that having the fundamental values to good citizenship starts at home.
“I believe that good citizenship begins at home. Because becoming a good citizen means becoming a good person first and foremost. And the person that you have become, or that you will become is primarily, although not exclusively, shaped by your family and community or by those around you,” Villar said in an address at the graduation of senior high school students and moving up ceremony of junior high school students held in Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
Although it is a bit of a cliche, Villar, the daughter of former Senate President Manny and incumbent Senator Cynthia, said “it is the truth that your parents are your first teachers.”
“They teach you the values, habits, and knowledge of becoming a good person, respecting other people, following rules, having your sense of right and wrong. All these are formed by what your parents teach you and what you see and hear from them,” the female legislator and the youngest among three siblings, added.
Recalling hard moments from the life of her father, she said he started to work at a wet market at the age of nine. And all these life lessons contributed to who she is today.
The young Manny would wake up before midnight and walk to the bustling Divisoria and sell fishes until 4:00 a.m. After that, he would sleep on the bench of their stall and then go to school. He did this from nine years old until he graduated from college, she shared.
At one point, her father had to endure one of the “most embarrassing” moments in his young life after he started a seafood delivery business right after college.
One day when he was delivering fish to an office in Makati, the young Manny accidentally let go of and spilled the container and the fish and shrimp were strewn all over the fancy marble floor of an office building in Makati. And he had to pick up each fish and shrimp one by one amidst the judging looks and the raised eyebrows of the people in the lobby.
According to the lawmaker, that was perhaps one of the most embarrassing times for her father, but he had to swallow his pride and finish his task and move forward.
And unfortunately, that initial venture failed, but this did not deter her father. In fact, it made him even more determined to succeed.
“Whenever you have trials or hardships that you face whenever you fall, you must pick yourself up and move forward. This will bring you closer to the things that you want to achieve. Many of the values that I have learned that I have now, I have learned from my my parents, and I’m sure many of you will say the same specifically how they have lived their own lives,” she said, adding that from her father’s and mother’s own stories, she learned the virtue of hard work in order to achieve what one needs to do.
Continuing to share the lessons taught by her father, she said failure is not wrong or necessarily bad. In fact, it is necessary to be able to achieve one’s goals and dreams.
“You will not succeed unless you experience failures. First, more than 20% of new businesses fail within the first year and nearly 40% fail by the third year. Many of the entrepreneurial geniuses that we read about experience failures in their initial ventures like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, even Steve Jobs was fired by the company he founded before regaining it and making it one of the biggest companies in the world.”
“What is most important is that every time you make a mistake, fall down or fail, you learn from this experience and keep moving forward and apply it to bring you closer to your goal. It is these trials that will help equip you to face and overcome what challenges may lie ahead. Last, my father taught me that you have to dream, you have to aim high because anything is possible,” she said.