Helbert Paat, a son of a farmer and native of Cagayan is this year’s lone summa cum laude and tops all graduates of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB).
In his commencement speech, Paat said many people lack passion for independent learning and critical thinking which makes the nation a slave to the lessons it realized, but never learned from. The Applied Math major cited as examples those who do not make careful analysis before voting in elections; and those who rely on feelings without assessing if they are based on facts. He also expressed fears that, by having leaders who do not want to listen and do not want to heed their advocacies, the culture of impunity appears normalized in the present.
At the end of his speech, Paat encouraged his fellow graduates to serve the nation.