Draw the Line

20 April 2012

From the speech delivered by Maria A. Ressa during the 84th commencement exercises of the Far Eastern University, Manila, on 18 April 2012.

This is your moment to draw your lines.  When I was your age, I didn’t set out to fight corruption. That battle found me. The company I helped form in my 20s, Probe, began one of the first public battles against it. At the end of each program, we said Probe supports the fight against envelopmental journalism. Over the years, I discovered how endemic corruption is the root of much of what’s wrong in our country today.  In ABS-CBN, I took a zero tolerance approach to corruption: both for our people and those who tried to bribe us.  It started because I drew a line when I was your age.

This is your moment to draw your lines.  There are some simple truths.  The more you say no, the easier it becomes.  The more you do the right thing, the harder it is to do the wrong thing.  It’s a tipping point approach to building your identity.

x x x

Remember that evil people don’t think they’re evil, and corrupt people don’t think they’re corrupt. Corruption is endemic in our country because people rationalize it.  They split hairs about definitions. It takes all of us to keep it that way or to change it.  The only way it will change is if more of us take a stand against it and refuse to tolerate it.

Read the full speech here.

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