COMING BACK, GIVING BACK
DEXTER E. PANGILINAN
IN this season of graduations, graduates are enjoined to stay and serve the country. Yet, with the exodus of the best and brightest from our shores, we cannot accuse them of treason.
We leave home for many reasons. Some leave to get a better education, others for further education. Some leave for better professional opportunities, others to provide financial security for their families. Some leave for adventure. Some, for a better future. And others, still, leave to pursue dreams— dreams that necessarily take them away from home.
Indeed, there is massive brain drain that could result from the burgeoning number of Filipinos leaving our shores for jobs overseas. Today, it is no longer a theory. It is a reality.
And yet, while we lament the loss, we would not compel our graduates to stay. On the contrary, I would encourage them to leave the comforts of home and to step far and beyond their comfort zones. There is much to see, experience and learn from other shores. There is much to comprehend about other countries and cultures. They will gain much more from leaving than from staying out of a misguided sense of love of country.
But as much as we would encourage our graduates to leave, we would also encourage them to come back. Leave home. Go out and learn from the best and the brightest in the world. But come back. And give back to the nation that has nurtured you from birth.
When a graduate leaves home, his or her world becomes larger, views become broader. In the process, some of them will become better and braver human beings. So leave home graduate, you must— if you feel that leaving will make you a more competent and compassionate person. And then come back and be a better employee, employer, entrepreneur, executive, administrator, professional, community member, leader, citizen.
Choosing to leave home doesn’t make a graduate a traitor or a turncoat. But choosing to come back and give back makes him or her a true patriot.
The author is Administrative Assistant III, Personnel Section, DepEd Division of Pampanga