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PIA Press Release

Feature: GK stalwart exhorts rise of Filipino spirit

Davao City (19 April) -- During the recent College commencement ceremonies of Ateneo de Davao University held last March 24, Gawad Kalinga executive director Antonio Meloto who was conferred the degree of Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa during the morning graduation rites, gave an inspiring commencement address which is being widely read in the internet.

Meloto in his speech took the opportunity to show the work and sacrifice of Gawad Kalinga volunteers as a symbol of the rising Filipino spirit willing to break free from the bondage of the many problems the nation is facing.

Born to a lower middle class family, Meloto, a product of the public school system, worked his way to become a scholar of the Ateneo de Manila University, one of the country's elite schools, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in economics.

Founded in 2003, Gawad Kalinga traces its roots as an outreach ministry of the Couples for Christ of which Meloto was an active member. Being its executive director from the beginning, Tony Meloto has seen the growth of Gawad Kalinga from a mere one-village development program to an international movement that aims to build integrated holistic and sustainable communities in depressed areas.

One of Gawad Kalinga's main facet is its spirit of volunteerism in which the houses and communities of GK are built through the joint efforts of the beneficiaries and the volunteer helpers and donors.

During the commencement speech, Meloto cited that Filipinos success as overseas workers meant that mendicancy is not a natural trait, saying that Filipinos are hardworking when motivated and resilient when tested. One of the key factors he said why Filipinos are highly-demanded as global workers.

Meloto, said that the answer to the nation's problems is not putting the blame on anyone but to start within ourselves.

Issuing a challenge to the graduates, Meloto elicited a response from the graduates when he made a reference to king Leonidas and his 300 Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae which was the subject of a current popular movie titled 300.

In his speech the widely-admired commencement speaker, exhorted the graduates to follow the example of King Leonidas and his 300 soldiers to push forward with extraordinary courage and love for the country, the commitment to become better Filipinos. (PIA XI/RG Alama) [top]

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