Young but qualified

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I write in response to the Feb. 2 Inquirer editorial (“Dynastic hubris”). I wish to highlight key points about Bam Aquino’s qualifications that make him fit to run for higher office.

I have known Bam since we both started working in government in 2001, and I have seen him to be a consistent youth leader. Prior to becoming chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC), Bam was president of the university student council in the Ateneo de Manila University, where he graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude, with a degree in BS Management Engineering. Bam’s work in the NYC and with other youth-oriented TV programs put him in touch with young people from all over the Philippines and gave him a platform on which to address youth-oriented issues.

After his stint in government, Bam went on to establish Hapinoy, an award-winning social enterprise that uses microfinance and microenterprise to bring poor women and families out of poverty. For his work in Hapinoy, Bam was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (2010) and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (2012).

It is clear that Bam will be the voice of the youth and will be with the next generation of public leaders in our country. With over half of our voters 18 to 35 years old, it is important for our youth to have a voice in the Senate. As such, his qualifications must be that of an accomplished leader; it would be unfair to expect a youth and student leader to have the qualifications of a seasoned politician in order to qualify for the Senate.

Jose Rizal was 25 when he wrote the “Noli Me Tangere.” Emilio Aguinaldo was 29 when he became president of the first Asian republic. Andres Bonifacio was 29 when he founded the Katipunan. The youth have helped transform this nation and will continue to do so today.

Having said all that, and with all due respect to the editorial, I would like to share my belief that Bam is most qualified to be a senator of our republic.

—SEN. KIKO  PANGILINAN,

Rm. 526 GSIS Financial Center,

Roxas Blvd., Pasay City

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