Over 800 receive degrees in UB commencement rites; former DENR secretary Gina Lopez urges graduates to ‘care for others’




More than 800 graduates were conferred during the graduation rites.

(Photo: Rene Pascua/UB-MAP) 




Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary Gina Lopez addressed over 800 new graduates of the University of Baguio (UB) at the UB gym on Dec. 16.


‘It’s not the money that makes the difference’ 

A staunch advocate of the environment and biodiversity, Lopez, who delivered her talk via video conference, started with a thought on developing areas of biodiversity: “Making a difference starts when you care for others. It’s not the money that makes the difference. It’s the heart that makes the difference. It’s when you give to others. It’s when you love.”


“[So] you have a job, and you earn a lot of money, say a million, but you don’t care if you’re making an impact or not. That’s not making a difference,” she said.


Lopez was speaking about an initiative called “I LOVE” which she put up before her stint with DENR. “I LOVE” stands for Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies. In the project, she works with companies to invest in the development of areas in the country rich in biodiversity, giving importance to the “people on the ground,” to the community people while protecting the environment.


“A green economy could bring on social justice and facilitate communities of harmony, building the country from the bottom up,” she said, referring to the grassroots approach in facilitating development. A grassroots approach starts at the roots of the problem and develops to involve all concerned stakeholders. While most organizations start with the higher channels, a grassroots approach starts with the group that will be affected by the change. Instead of having the upper level executives or mid-level management involved in implementing a change through orders, the people who would be most affected by the change have the most involvement in the grassroots approach. This provides more substance and passion for a cause as the people whom will be most affected directly have a voice and better understanding of why the change must be made.


‘Gross national happiness’ 

In her talk, Lopez mentioned the concept of “gross national happiness” (GNH) which, according to her, is one indicator of a country’s economic performance. GNH’s central tenets are sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, environmental conservation, preservation and promotion of culture, and good governance. 


“I feel that the foundation of economic growth is love,” she said, stressing that love breeds happiness. When you show your care and compassion for others, you show love, and you are manufacturing happiness, she remarked.


Concluding her address, she said, “You are young. There are a lot of possibilities out there for you. Go and live,” she said.


“But remember this: If you feel small, you will dream small, you will do small. Dream big, and know that you can achieve anything – anything – because you have God inside you,” she said.




The graduates and their parents share a moment in a tribute for the parents. 

(Photo: Rene Pascua/UB-MAP)



 Carmina Noelle Padilla, who graduated with a degree in medical laboratory science, delivers a speech honoring the parents at the graduation ceremonies.

(Photo: Rene Pascua/UB-MAP)



In a speech, UB president Dr. Dhanna Kerina Bautista-Rodas said, “Remember that intelligence is not the only thing that matters,”

stressing that “relating well to others, respecting differences, and showing empathy” equally matter.

(Photo: Rene Pascua/UB-MAP) 





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