From Left to Right: Atty. Oliver Tuazon, Hon. Hiromichi Matsuo and Mr. Isaac Tambunting

Inquies Pro Lege guest of honor and keynote speaker Hon. Hiromichi Matsuo, First Secretary of Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, challenged this year’s graduates to become righteous future lawyers. In his speech last July 21, Hon. Matsuo emphasized the country’s need for leaders who have a “strong moral fiber to steer [the country] towards the harbor of genuine peace, prosperity, and of national unity.” 

Matsuo also noted that the Philippines’ path to development, will affect not just Filipinos, but the international community as well. He explains that the development of the archipelago also impacts its trading partners and allies abroad, particularly those with close ties to the Philippines, such as the secretary’s home country, Japan. He further mentioned that the fate of the ties that bind Japan and Philippines are in the hands of the country’s leaders, thus, making it more imperative for the Philippines to have leaders who will defend such peaceful and friendly relations.

Matsuo then referenced the fact that both the Philippines and Japan belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire, and therefore, frequently experience natural calamities. According to Matsuo, this testifies to the resiliency of spirit which both the Filipino and Japanese peoples share–despite the significant frequency of disasters that occur in their countries, they remain strong and hopeful. Matsuo, then, used this as a metaphor for the individual citizen’s struggle to become more virtuous. To quote:

“Trials and temptations will arrive like calamities, whether we like them or not. We can allow them to defeat us, or to despair when we are defeated. But we can also choose to face them, with acceptance and faith, with patience and perseverance, and allow them to transform our character, to sculpt our identities. To quote the words of the novelist Haruki Murakami, ‘Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.’”

Hon. Hiromichi Matsuo during his graduation speech

Near the end of his speech, Hon. Matsuo charmed and amazed the audience with his brief message addressed to the graduates, spoken in fluent Filipino with a matching accent to boot, part of which read:

“Bilib po ako sa mga batang tulad ninyo na humahanap ng panahon para mga ganitong gawain katulad ng Inquies Pro Lege. Sana ay mas marami pa kayong madala sa mga kaibigan, ka-klase at kapitbahay ninyo sa mga gawain sa Universitas Foundation, para mas marami pang mga kabataan ang maging matalino, masipag, mabait at tapat na tulad ninyo, at ito ay tunay na magdadala ng progreso sa inyong bansa, at ito rin ay makakatulong sa inyong pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga tao sa ibang bansa, katulad sa mga Hapon na tulad ko”

(I admire young people like you who find the time to engage in activities like the Inquies Pro Lege. I hope that you get to bring more friends, class mates and neighbors to the activities conducted by the Universitas Foundation–in this way, more young people will become intelligent, hardworking, good-natured and trustworthy like you, and this will bring true progress to your country. At the same time, this will also be of help in your dealings with people from other nations, for instance, with myself and my fellow Japanese.)

The full transcript of the speech is available here.

NOTA BENE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and the speakers mentioned in the article, and not necessarily to the Foundation.

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