The PSU Graduation Rites in Cuyo was laden with high spirits, good will and a hope for a bright future for the newly honored graduates of the Palawan State University from the said satellite campus.

President Jeter S. Sespeñe himself was very excited as he introduced the commencement speaker for the said event, ASec. Eddie Nuque, who comes from no less than Malacañang Palace in Manila. The graduates and their parents were fortunate to have the chance to learn from the wisdom shared by one of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s most trusted workers. He elaborated on one of the biggest things to come soon in the Philippines, which is the ASEAN Integration.

“The ASEAN Integration aims to establish one single ASEAN community to narrow the development gap between the 6 original ASEAN countries namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Brunei and the more recent members Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam,” said the guest of honor.

It has been observed that within the Southeast Asia region, there is a huge disparity among several member countries in terms of economic standing. Many experts in the field of transnational development have predicted that if the ASEAN countries come together, this will create a powerhouse that could largely influence the rest of the world, to the benefit of Southeast Asia as a whole.

Asec. Nuque was able to address the importance of the upcoming ASEAN Integration, citing the implications in terms of the future of economic development and political changes. According to him, the key to success lies in education.

“There is a logical causality between education and poverty reduction,” pointed out Asec. Nuque as he sought to inspire a positive outlook from the future leaders from the island of Cuyo.

With the free flow of goods and services, investment and capital, and seed labor within the ASEAN, the near future can looks bright for Filipinos. ASec. Nuque was quick to warn his audience though.

“This is a two-way street. There is a major challenge to us in the Philippines. The food, agriculture and forestry sectors have to be competitive otherwise we (Filipinos) will be overwhelmed by our ASEAN neighbors,” he said.

ASec. Nuque has been a long-time ally of the Palawan State University, as he has been known to have constantly engaged with President Jeter S. Sespeñe in discussion of possible policies and future collaborations. ASec. Nuque particularly has a wide range of experience in terms of tourism, an aspect which the province of Palawan has a huge stake in, which is very much in line with the PSU’s commitment to serve the community in Palawan. The island of Cuyo has a huge potential for development especially within the framework of small island tourism. Bringing Asec. Nuque to Cuyo is another way that the PSU has shown its willingness to establish and nurture its linkages with key personalities who may potentially help in the role of the university to uplift the lives of the people it serves.

Although going abroad to pursue their careers is an alternative to many graduates, the gentleman from Malacañang shared, “Before you think of going abroad, think in terms of what the opportunities the ASEAN Integration can give you in contributing to the competitiveness of our country.”