His Excellency Carlos Salinas, former Ambassador of the Philippines Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra, lectured on the topic globalization, entitled “The World beyond Our Shores: A Perspective on Globalization and the Philippines.” The April 5, 2017 (Wednesday) event was the fourth part of the UST Ambassadors’ Lecture Series, held at the Dr. George S.K. Ty Multi-Purpose Halls of the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building.

The point of reference

In his welcome address, UST Rector Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD stressed that the word “‘global’ has become the point of reference for organizations, for it signifies the mindset that goes beyond parochial limitations.”

Speaking from the perspective of education, the Rector said that, “The global mindset demands that standards not only be upgraded but also unified, so that we can speak in a single language.”

History of trade, history of globalization

Ambassador Salinas underscored early on in his lecture that the history of globalization is tantamount to the history of trade, particularly the maritime industry, for “80% of trade by volume and 70% of trade by value are carried by sea.”

Serving as the international backbone of trade is the maritime industry, Salinas emphasized. “The global economy is quite literally born by ships. Through its scale, the shipping industry sustains the very fabric of the modern world’s survival.”

“The history of trade is the history of globalization, and the growth of world trade is in line with the development of shipping.”

The Philippines played a pivotal role in the flourishing of maritime trade, Salinas said, as it became the Asian hub of trading during the centuries-long Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade. “The Manila-Acapulco route served as the longest shipping route in history. During the 16th century, Manila effectively became the main transshipment point of goods for 250 years,” putting Manila at the forefront of globalization even before the term was coined.

Salinas highlighted that even as early as the 17th century, Filipino seafarers were already manning the galleons and facilitating trade—a reputation that still holds true today, with Filipinos being the largest nationality block of the 1.5 million seafarers in the world, at 30% or an estimated 400,000 Filipinos.

From inability to capability

Salinas, who founded in 1979 the Philippine Transmarine Carriers, recalled how he envisioned the Philippines, being the hub of seafarers, to join the maritime industry. “I asked them before, ‘why isn’t the Philippines manufacturing ships?’ They simply told me, ’the Philippines can’t.’ Now, in Subic, we are manufacturing one of the largest vessels ever produced, for it can carry 20,000 containers at a time.” The former ambassador likewise showcased that the Philippines is now the fourth largest ship manufacturer in the world, next only to Japan, Korea, and China.

Coming full circle

Salinas, whose family witnessed the Second World War, has close ties with the Order of Preachers, his brother being the late Fr. Ramon Salinas, O.P. The former ambassador recalls how the Dominican fathers assisted his family during the war, “The Dominican priests, who were friends of my family, ultimately helped us transfer to safe areas during the Second World War. I personally witnessed how the American tanks entered the España gate to liberate us in 1945, and that ushered in liberation from the Japanese forces.”

Following the war, Salinas pursued his studies in UST and supported himself by working in the Office of the Secretary-General, ultimately earning his bachelor’s degree in commerce in 1955. He pursued his master’s degree in the University of Florida and after graduation in 1958, taught in the UST College of Commerce and the Graduate School.

In 2010, when he was appointed by then-President Benigno S. Aquino III as the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, Salinas helped strengthen the ties between the two countries: “One of the mandates by the Philippine government was for me to enrich our ties with Spain. I am a product of globalization, like you, and we are all the result of the past shaping the present, individuals charting the course of tomorrow today.”

A proud Thomasian

Salinas, in several parts of his speech, rallied the audience—largely composed of Thomasian students from the College of Commerce and Business Administration—to never forget their Thomasian upbringing and achieve excellence as the world’s future leaders: “UST helped shape the mind and spirit of some of the best minds in society who epitomized the core Thomasian values of competence, compassion, and commitment. For my family, this University is a sanctuary.

The Ambassadors Lecture Series allows for an intellectual engagement between the Thomasian community and the ambassadors. It has paved the way for solid academic ties, varied exchanges, dynamic learning opportunities, vibrant student exchange programs, and genuine friendship with the international community.

The first three speakers in the lecture series were Mr. Laurent Le Godec, Dr. Francis Martin Campbell of St. Mary’s University – Twickenham , and His Excellency Philip S. Goldberg, former Ambassador of the United States to the Philippines.