This is in reference to Neal Cruz’s Jan. 18 column titled “LP, UNA both guilty of premature campaigning.” Cruz suggested that current Liberal Party candidate Bam Aquino has no credentials or even accomplishments that would merit public support for his bid to become senator in the coming 2013 elections.
I have known and worked with Bam since we were in college at the Ateneo de Manila University where he served as our university student council president and where he graduated as the class valedictorian of his batch. Bam has always been a well-rounded individual: Even as a student leader, he was able to do very well in his academics, graduating magna cum laude in his BS management engineering course, which is known as one of the toughest degree programs in our university.
Right after college, he became the chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC) where, together with Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and the Coca-Cola Foundation, he pioneered the yearly search for the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (Tayo) Awards. Tayo has inspired so many other young Filipinos to also establish community and school-based organizations that help address key social problems, particularly in education and the environment.
After serving in government for four years, Bam eventually became one of the leading social entrepreneurs in our country. He established Microventures Inc. which currently helps small-scale business entrepreneurs, such as sari-sari store owners, grow their business and eventually earn more so that they would be able to give their families access to quality education and healthcare. Currently, his social enterprise has been able to help more than 10,000 sari-sari store owners nationwide.
Due to his accomplishments, Bam was recently chosen by Jaycees International as one of the world’s most oustanding individuals, which has brought honor and pride to our nation. Bam was also chosen as one of the inaugural fellows of the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative of the Asia Society, a well-recognized international organization based in New York that aims to foster international understanding between the United States of America and the people of Asia.
Despite all these accomplishments and achievements, Bam has remained humble; unlike many politicians, he doesn’t proclaim these accomplishments on a regular basis, which is perhaps why some people like Cruz question his credentials.
Based on these sterling credentials and his track record of public service, we can clearly see that Bam is not the “bum” that Cruz continues to refer to in his columns. Bam, through his own efforts and initiatives, has proven that he can be one of our country’s greatest assets in the Senate.
—HARVEY S. KEH,
director for Youth Leadership
and Social Entrepreneurship,
Ateneo de Manila University-
School of Government,