Thursday, October 4, 2012

Campaigning for Bam Aquino

Entry to Politics

Campaigning for Bam Aquino, not because of his illustrious family name, but because I believe he can contribute something remarkable in the senate. His passion in the social service would be his best advantage.

Bam is a multi-awarded social entrepreneur. He was named Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Global Leader in 2010 by the World Economics Forum, and also named one of the  Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in the Philippines. He is no stranger to policy-making being the youngest chairperson of the National Youth Commission in the Philippines in 2003.

Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV. He will be a breath of fresh air in the Philippine senate. An active youth leader and multi-awarded social entrepreneur, Bam Aquino champions financial advocacy and had been in the social service since he graduated Summa Cumlaude at Ateneo de Manila University in 1999 (BS Management Engineering). He co-founded MultiVentures Incorporated in 2006 which aims to provide microfinancing services to poor families in the Philippines who may want to put up their own sari-sari stores.

I don't know him personally, but through the lens of public opinion, I am confident he could do better than other neophyte senatorial hopefuls. Bam is familiar in dealing with people. His orientation is more on social leadership and public service and had spent most of his life serving the society through social entrepreneurship, a unique approach in helping the country alleviating poverty. (click the link)

Last October 1, Aquino was inducted into the Liberal Party, the political party of his first cousin, President Noynoy Aquino, whom he shared with the same name "Benigno" (they were named after their grandfather, Benigno "Igno" Aquino, who was the former congressman of Tarlac and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture during the term of President Magsaysay), but according to him, it was not the President's will to include him in the line-up, it was him who personally expressed great interest in joining politics. The President advised him to "ponder on his decision carefully as embracing politics is not easy"

The younger Aquino is pushing for an economic advocacy and he hopes to champion in the senate his espoused principle that "economic freedom is just as important as political freedom" and he wants to make this part of his family's legacy to the Filipino people. Source: The Manila Standard

He could offer fresh, timely and vigorous ideas for Philippine's socio-economic development  in the senate having been in the social service for quite sometime now.

Apart from his famous name, Bam Aquino projects himself independently in the society and found a career in the social entrepreneurship and services without banking on his very famous roots. Thus, he couldn't be accused of just riding the popularity of his family name.

Even before Noynoy Aquino won the Presidential election in 2010, Bam had already carved a name in public service and social leadership.

Bam Aquino with cousin Viel and a friend at the campaign trail of Noynoy in 2010

Personally, I admired this young man. In 2003, I would wake up early to watch him in Breakfast, a morning show aired via Studio 23, he co-hosted the show with Ryan Agoncillo, Pia Guanio among others. He was also part of the team of Y-Speak, a youth-oriented show also in Studio 23 then later moved to "Start-Up", an entrepreneurship show in ANC.

I am one of those people out there who admired smart and tough-minded men. During those years I'd watched Bam in television, I could sense his deep interest in public service and every time the show faced a challenging topic to discuss, Bam presented his sharp views with a well-balanced conviction indicating that he is a no-nonsense man. The way he talk reflects the kind of person he is---smart, committed, dedicated, passionate in serving others and always on the correct path.

The only trouble in his sunny facade is his very elite personality. As he was born into a privileged family, everyone see him as "unreachable" which might be viewed by the masses as a sign of indifference. But Bam had been serving people from all walks of life through the social service career he had embraced so the elitesta concept might be just a first impression. 

Personal Profile and Achievement

Bam Aquino was born Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on May 7, 1977, the son of Paul Aquino, the youngest brother of late Senator, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr.whom Bam had a close resemblance. He graduated class valediction in Ateneo high school and Summa Cumlaude in BS Management Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University in 1999. He had worked in the special projects of ABS-CBN Foundation.

He was first appointed as commissioner-at-large in the National Youth Commission (NYC) of the Philippines in 2001 and became Chairperson in 2003 at the age of 26 making him the youngest person in the Philippines to head a government agency. NYC is the policy-making body and coordinating body on youth affairs.
Among the younger Aquinos, it is Bam who got a striking resemblance to his late uncle, Ninoy. I remember watching him in Breakfast (2003) and amused with his physical similarity to the late Philippine hero. Bam is also a very soft spoken person. But apart from this reference, Bam is his own man, he has his own career and advocacy and not just banking on his illustrious family name. When you listen to him closely, you will noticed how sensible he is. He can talk under the sun and as a TV host, he conducted the conversation with propriety and politeness, of course he laughed at times.

In 2006, he co-founded the MicroVentures, a micro financing organization aims to provide financial assistance to economically challenged families in the Philippines who want to put up their own sari-sari stores. This microfinancing program is carried out through Hapinoy (Click here to read more about this program). Bam is now the current president of the organization.

He also joined Rags2Riches Incorporated in 2007, another social enterprise venture that helps underprivileged women with their livelihood. Bam is also the current President of TAYO awards foundation  (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations), an award-giving body for youth organizations in the Philippines.

Awards and Citations

Due to his unique passion, distinct effort and dedication to serve the public through social entrepreneurship, Bam Aquino was awarded Young Global Leader by the World Economics Forum in 2010, he is also one of the finalists in the 2010 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

In 2011, he was named, together with his business partner, Mark Ruiz, as the Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economics Forum. The Happy Program also won the United Nations Project Inspire Award. 

He was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines (TOYM), one of the most prestigious awards given to Filipinos who performed a remarkable service in their chosen field.
Bam Aquino. His orientation is more on social leadership and helping poor families augment their income through his social enterprise, MicroVentures, Incorporated.

Breath of Fresh Air in the Senate

As an active youth leader and multi-awarded entrepreneur in the social service, Bam Aquino represents the new breed of politician in the a country that had been torn by corruption, poverty and traditional politics. He will be the breath of fresh air in the senate - young, smart, dynamic and passionate about social service. He can establish and develop beneficial programs to small and medium enterprises.

Bam just married recently (September 22, 2012) to Timi Gomez, his girlfriend of six years whom he met during his tenure as Chairperson of the National Youth Commission. His older cousin, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, stood as one of the Ninangs.

Let's get rid of traditional politicians whose vested personal interest is just want they are up to, let's move forward and take extra mile towards development by including a fresh candidate in our list, someone with a vision of empowering the youth of today and advocating financial freedom, someone whose passion is in the social service.

Sources:

The Manila Standard
Inquirer
Times website

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