UP Visayas First Summa Cum Laude Says He is Proud to be a Student Activist

UP Visayas summa cum laude Raoul Danniel Manuel

Credit: UP Visayas

Meet Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, the first ever summa cum laude of University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV). He finished Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics in the said university with an amazing general weighted average (GWA) of 1.099. And yes, he said he is proud to be a student activist.

Manuel, 21, who lives in Arevalo District in Iloilo City, graduated this school year, 2015. He graduated at SPED–Integrated School for Exceptional Children in 2007 as the class valedictorian. He graduated at UP High School in Iloilo in 2011, also as valedictorian. Nevertheless, he does not spend all his time in studying.

During his college years, he was an active leader in the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council, and has served different positions in various groups and organizations. On top of that, the ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’ frequently attends street protests as one of the front-liners, believing that he also has the responsibility to his fellow students.

“I feel proud because there are some people who really stereotype student-activists. They say activists do not do well in class or they do not attend classes, they just do rallies. I want to be remembered not just a number or GWA, but as an ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’ who devoted time in joining rallies and joining the Filipino people in their struggles for decent living,” Manuel told in a recent interview by ABS-CBN.

Just recently, Raoul Manuel joined the rally in front of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region 6 office, where protesters demanded the frights of Filipinos for affordable education and opposed the budget cut of the UP System. And his graduation speech, he slammed people who think that being a student activist is a waste of time. He said he has proven wrong all the critics of activists.

“Madalas daw na nasasayang ang pera ng gobyerno dahil sa pagliban ng mga estudyante sa eskwela… Tanong ko naman,,para saan ang perfect attendance sa isang klase na kulang naman sa lab equipment dahil sa kakulangan ng budget sa edukasyon? Para saan ang pefect attendance kung karamihan sa mga kabataang Pinoy ang di makapasok dahil sa taas ng matrikula?” The UP Visayas summa cum claude said.

(Some people say government money is being wasted when public scholars are absent in school. My question is; what’s the use of perfect attendance if there are not enough equipment in the laboratory because of the lack of budget for education? What’s the use of perfect attendance if many Filipino students cannot go to school because of high tuition fees?)

In addition, Manuel stressed out student activists know how to manage their time. And although they are not perfect just like other students, fighting for the right of others is a very good motivation for them. As of now, UP Visayas summa cum claude has no idea yet where he wants to work, but he said he plans to take a master’s degree.

Interestingly, Raoul Danniel A. Manuel is not the only UP student breaking records this year. Recently, Tiffany Uy graduated with a BS Biology degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a whooping general weighted average (GWA) of 1.004. She broke the record of BS Mathematics graduate John Gabriel P. Pelias, who had a GWA of 1.016, during the World War II.