UNIVERSITY of the Philippines summa cum laude Arman Ali Ghodsinia lamented on Sunday the sufferings of those affected by the Marawi siege, saying it was difficult for him to celebrate his graduation day and commemorate Eid’l Fitr.
In his valedictory speech at the UP, Diliman, Quezon City, Ghodsinia called for peace and unity.
“In Filipino, this is called pagmamalasakit [empathy],” Ghodsinia said in Filipino. “It is one of the most beautiful words. Pagmamalasakit.”
“The lives of our fellow Filipinos, both Muslims and Christians, have been at risk due to the aggression of certain groups. Ramadan just took place and yet many of our brothers and sisters have been forced to run for their lives.”
Coming from a poor family in Marawi, he recalled how his mother, Miriam, lost his sick brother because they did not have the money to bring him to a doctor.
“How painful it is to live in a society where people are left behind and forgotten simply because they do not have enough money,” he said.
While the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was rich in natural resources, the people still remained poor, he said.
He called on the minority people like him to strive hard, and said being a minority was not a setback.
“Here I am standing in front of you today as a living proof that members of the minorities like us Maranao can also do well and contribute effectively to societal growth given the opportunities in life like many other Filipino,” he said.
“Here I am speaking to you as proof that regardless of religion, socioeconomic status or ethnic ties, anyone can excel if equal opportunities are available to all.”
He said that as scholars of the nation, his fellow graduates should aim for more.
“As a student of molecular biology, I know that each and everyone of us is made up of the same building blocks of life. Underneath all of our differences, we are just all made up of the same molecules that, aggregated, form the human body,” he said.
He dedicated his achievements to his fellow Maranaos while thanking his family and friends, professors and other graduates.
Miriam, for her part, said Eid’l Fitr was a sorrowful one because of the Marawi siege.
She said the Maute terror group could not represent Islam, saying,”We Muslims are not bad people. They are just one group destroying the image of the Muslims.”
Ghodsinia earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the College of Science with a general weighted average of 1.176. He is one of the 36 summa cum laude graduates from UP Diliman.