The Governor of the Province of Leyte, Hon. Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, in his message as guest speaker during the 59th VSU Collegiate Commencement Exercises on April 11, 2012 at the VSU Gymnatorium, expressed his confidence in VSU's capability in producing good leaders among its graduates. The vibrant Governor said that "We need leaders and that's what makes you different from the rest of the graduates in this region because the school has taught you to become future leaders." He emphasized that VSU is a breeding ground for good leaders.


Gov. Petilla lauded the 863 new graduates of VSU for giving out their best to finish a degree. He pointed out that not all are given the privilege to earn the degree that the graduates are having right now. He also mentioned that education is very close to his heart because he was once a teacher at the Ateneo de Manila University upon his completion of the BS in Management Engineering from the said university.

Hon. Petilla revealed that when he became the Governor of Leyte, he looked at the quality or the state of education in this province, thus dealing most of the time with the people at the Department of Education. He mentioned that when he asked the elementary school teachers about their mission in life, they said "To make sure that our pupils, our students will go to high school." Same question he asked to the high school teachers about their mission and vision and they replied "To prepare the children for college." But he was dismayed when nobody answered his follow-up question as to how many among fourth year high school students go to college.

The Governor and his staff conducted a survey in 2005 and it came out that only 20 percent of the fourth year high school graduates in Leyte were able to go to college and among those who went to college only one-third graduated. "It's because enrollment in this province highly depends on the copra and palay, that's why you are one of the lucky few who finished college," Gov. Petilla said.

The young Governor averred that VSU is one of the top schools in Region 8 which is at par with the quality of standard set for a college by the Commission on Higher Education. "I am confident that VSU can produce quality graduates and you become a productive part of the society," he quipped.

Gov. Petilla has seen among the graduates the hope of this country. But the sad thing, he said, is that many of you are looking forward to go abroad to earn dollar or euro and I respect whatever your decision is. But I ask you to look back because at the end you will be back to our country because "It's more fun in the Philippines."

The Governor also reminded the new graduates to acknowledge the contribution of their teachers by molding them to become professionals. "It's not easy to become a teacher. Teachers must have the passion in teaching so they can impart the knowledge needed for you," he added.

Gov. Petilla also commended the parents for patiently providing the emotional and financial support to their children despite the financial difficulties. "Now, they are very happy because they have seen the fruit of their labor and sacrifices," he stressed.

The Governor concluded his message by reminding the graduates of three important points: 1) Do not let go of your idealism, 2) Be good at what you do, and 3) Make changes. "You've been given that particular skill and knowledge which will always remain in you forever." After his message, VSU President Jose L. Bacusmo took time in guiding the commencement speaker, together with the former Congresswoman of the Fifth District of Leyte and now Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari, to the different projects of the University.

Dr. Bacusmo showed to Gov. Petilla and Mayor Cari the signage at the New VSU Athletic Oval acknowledging their contributions to the completion of the said oval in time of the Regional SCUAA Meet in 2009. Inscribed in the signage is the citation that reads: "The completion of the Visayas State University Athletic Oval is a realization of VSU's aspiration to have a better athletic facility where the students of the University can hone and perfect their skills. The project is made possible through the joint efforts of Hon. Jericho L. Petilla, Governor of the Province of Leyte, Hon. Carmen L. Cari, Congresswoman of the 5th District of Leyte, Hon. Michael L. Cari, Mayor of the Municipality of Baybay, and the VSU administration headed by Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, University President, with the support from the following..."

The guests were also toured to the proposed Eco-Tourism Loops of the University which include the Fun Farm Loop, Nature Park Loop, and the Eco-Farm Loop. They also visited the "Deer Park" located near the entrance going to the lower campus.

The Governor also presented to Dr. Bacusmo the possibility of a partnership with the Leyte Sports Academy which he established to develop world-class athletes from among high school students of the different municipalities of Leyte accepted and qualified to undergo training and formal schooling in the said Academy.