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JOSE F.

LAYON
Senior Boa rd Me m ber Sanggunia ng Panl a lawigan Province of Northe rn Sa mar
(Speech delivered during the 20 t h Capping, Pinni ng and Candlelighting Ceremonies, UEP C ollege of Nursing, Zircon 2012 , July 27, 2012 )

Greetings! All my life I have alwa ys shunned the limelight. Well, my surname speaks otherwise but if I were given a choice, I would have lived a simple life. But having heard Dean Agus introduction , I am bit reminded of my role as a public servant. And being at the public eye is a necessar y consequence of that role ascribed upon me. And I submit. When your invitation reached the doorstep of my office, I had a definite instruction to my staff: Clear all my appointment on July 27. Its a big day. No meeting in the morning, no paperwork in the afternoon. Apparentl y, my staff gazed at me and said, Sa UEP College of Nursing ka naman ano, Sir? Amused, I said to her, Kay nano nga maaram ka? She responded, Kay mao iton imo words pirme basta may imbitasyon an UEP or an Nursin g! I smiled at her. Sitting on my desk, I glanced upon your invitation program, picked it up and said, Kay kit -i naman la ine, imbitasyon pala, bonggacious na. Talaga pirme pinaghahandaan. I wasnt finished talking yet when my staff interrupted me and said, Tatak UEP. Tatak Nursing! I laughed at the top of my voice. That was exactl y what I was going to utter. Honestl y, your invitation alwa ys receives primac y. And that explains my ph ysical presence toda y. Thank you UEP College of Nursing for this singu lar honor. Toda y, I share the happiness of these forty -one (41) young men and women and their parents for reaching this far. The nursing degree afterall entails so much hardwork. It is so taxing. Let alone the financial obligation which depletes famil y r esources. But after a four - ye ar sacrifice, you get your license and go elsewhere. And mind you, your UEP background will bring you to higher grounds be it at home or abroad. Over the years, the UEP College of Nursing lived up to the highest standards of nursing education at par with the countr ys est. And for this, I guess, the Dean and the whole College of Nursing famil y deserve a big round of applause, ladies and gentlemen. In recent years, we have witnessed how the nursing program graduall y fades awa y from the list of baccalaureate degrees favored b y incoming freshmen. There are a lot of factors which explain this sudden paradigm shift. One is the continued downtrend in term s of job opportunities abroad, and man y others including our governments preference for IT and other technical courses. In fact, TESDA toda y receives a bigger share of the budget because of increase d government subsid y for the technical program s aimed at producing pool of skilled workers for job placements overseas.

This is practicall y the situation in the job market toda y. Wh y am I telling this to you? Well, the prospect of a good job is alwa ys yo ur primary motivation. And you t ook up nursing because it e ntails a good job a high pa ying job, in fact. But given all these developments in recent years somehow make yo u a little uncertain of what the future ma y bring to you when you become nurses. Dire na damo nga trabaho an available labi na sa abroad. Kadamoan san mga foreign countries nag ha -hire na san kanra kalugaringon nga nurses. Ngan mao ini an rason kon nano nga damo san at mga nurses yana aadi la guihapon sa Pilipinas nag aagwanta san ditoy na sweldo sa mga hospitals, an iba ngani nag vo -volunteer na la, ngan an iba naman adto sa iba nga mga trabaho nga medyo hirayo san ira propesyon. The CHED Memorandum placing the nursing program all over the

countr y under moratorium is not at all responsive to the demands of the times. In my opinion, the government should not control the number of nurses that we produce. The decreasing demand for nurses abroad should never be the reason for such moratorium. Rather, the government should find means to accommodate all these nurses into public hospitals and rural health units in order to improve our health care delivery. Magkano ba ang ina-allocate na budget for education? Magkano ba ang b udget para sa military? Magkano ang budget ng DSWD? In 2010 alone, the government allocated a lofty 21 BILLION pesos for its Pantawid Pamil yang Pilipino Program or 4Ps. Instead of putting the big bunch of public funds to this program, wh y cant the government increase the budget for the Department of Health and devise a program like NURSES TO THE BARRIOS? Why cant the government increase its subsid y for public hospitals so that the y can answer to the ever -increasing shortage of nurses in t he public sector? As a politician, of course I have a bias for the 4Ps because their numbers, if translated into votes, would ensure my clinch into a political seat. But then again, if the government continues its lopsided prioritization of public funds, I believe, the problem on decreasing job opportunities for nurses will never get a long term solution. And as a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of our province, I feel am obliged to convince my colleagues to make a collective stand on this issue. I know that it is an uphill battle but this is for you and for the next generation of nurses whose lives will be greatl y affected if this situation will drag on for decades. In my future meetings with Deput y Speaker Raul Daza, I guess, this problem

would be a rich source of discussion. Wish me the best of luck, ladies and gentlemen. Having said all of these, I believe, I have in my own way, engaged m y audience in something worthwhile. Delivering a ke ynote address after all is impressed with social responsibilit y. And this occasion falls squarel y into that context. Be yond your caps and pins toda y, and your degrees and licenses, two years from now, is the prospect of a good life which the UEP College of Nursing offered and will continue to offer. To m y mind, your future is still as bright as it was for the first, second or third batches of UEP Nurses years ago. Do not be swa ye d b y the negative prospect in the job market. Remember, you will be a UEP Nurse. Kahit saan ilagay, you can survive , may tatak UEP College of Nursing kasi. To the parents and guardians here present, continue to guide your children to the career path the y have chosen. The prospect of being of service to others as nurses is a vocation that not ever yone is called for. To their mentors, continue to be the Florence Nightingale of these young men and women who want to carve their future from your footsteps. Inspire them as you had inspired your alumni nurses in the recent past. Encourage them to live up to the highest standards of your profession. Let them become your worth y replacements. And to our dear young men and women, I sa y to you: Make sure that you have your own cop y of the program, that bonggacious program, its not bulk y after all and its beautiful. Its worth keeping. Keep it as you keep your priciest personal possession at home. And then after graduation, check it out and read its contents and draw inspiration from it. That program is a complete repository of what transpired toda y, the men and women who witnessed the cerem on y, the Florence Nightingale Pledge, the Nurses Pra yer, your Class Song, WIN, the UEP H ymn and foremost, the Zircon cr ystals from where your class name was derived. Be the living Zircon cr ystals of your respective communities in your time. Soar high. Shi ne! God be with you. Congratulations!

JOSE F. LAYON
S eni or Boa rd Mem b er S angguni an g P anl al awi gan P rovi nce of Nort h er n S am ar