Nitpick? Albay Rep. Salceda rains on Ateneo valedictorian’s parade


Despite the inspiring story of the 2019 valedictorian of the Ateneo De Manila University, Albay Rep. Joey Salcedo still find some things to nitpick about the valedictory address of Hyacenth Bendana.

Bendana, a native of Albay, graduated cum laude and valedictorian. She drew inspiration for her grit and passion to get into the Ateneo and her determination to change the world.

However, Bendana’s representative to Congress Rep. Salceda did not like how the former painted Polangui in her valedictory address.

Bendana said that her family moved in the “small town” of Polangui where the “most expensive private school was one of the worst in the region.”

She also claimed that Polangui had a “few of the worst” public schools and most high school students “couldn’t read or write properly and could barely do complex math.”

These statements did not sit well for Salceda, also a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University.

“I am proud that my alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University, chose a townmate from Polangui, Albay as Valedictorian for 2019. But I am ashamed that her sweeping pronouncements in portraying a dire image of our hometown in this published article are grossly incompatible to the Atenean values of “man for others” and the Ignatian spirit of humility and kindness- “In omnibus servire et amare”, that of being attuned to God’s presence in the ordinary lives,” Salceda said.

“I therefore ask Ms. Bendana to clarify her assertions, and absent any empirical evidence to bravely accept that she made false claims that put down her town and townmates and its schools and teachers in order to embellish her own achievement as if being Ateneo Valedictorian is not sufficiently exalted,” he added.

The Albay solon said that Polangui is not small, being the 5th largest in population among Albay’s 18 towns and cities.

“It is has the highest population density in the entire Albay and is the commercial center of the 3rd District of Albay, chosen as 2nd most competitive town by the NCC in terms of economic dynamism.Based on NNC, it has one of the lowest malnutrition and based on FIES and CBMS, it has one of the lowest poverty incidence,” said Salceda.

“In 1967, Polangui pioneered the established its own community college with a tertiary population rising to 2,800 by 2019. As early as 2002, BU had established a campus which had by 2010 (when she enterred high school) a student population of 3,000, among Bicol University’s largest campuses,” he added.

The solon also said that Bendana’s barangay is not a “far far barangay,” and it is only 10.7kms away from the town center.

Salceda also noted that by 2004, when Bendana was an elementary student, all the roads leading to that barangay of Pinagdapugan was completely paved.

“Otherwise, the award of Valedictorian becomes a disservice by the Ateneo community to the Filipino people and to St. Ignatius, our magi,” said Salceda.

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