Probably he will be the only Aquino that I have to deviate from the usual color.
Bam Aquino and I are both Fellows of the Asia Society - an international fellowship of young leaders from the Asia-Pacific region chosen annually from different fields of expertise. But before that Bam's popularity precedes him as being the former Chair of the Philippines' National Youth Commission.
Long before we have met in person, I have high regards to the man, of being the face of youth issues and in helping small to medium entrepreneurs. It was more of that than being the cousin of the Philippine President. Well, I guess that would add up now.
Bam is a simple guy. You would probably see him in polo and jeans. Not much 'arte'. Whenever he speaks it's like I could see a younger Ninoy Aquino talking (but not like a ghost of some sort). He speaks intellectually but also reserves his thoughts when someone is sharing in a discussion. Well, commonly, you would feel a bit awkward being with him (well because you already know him before he knew you hahaha) but his welcoming and approachable attitude would quickly change that feeling of awkwardness to comfort.
We met in one dinner and talked casually over some things the youth is facing. Being a staunch RH advocate myself, I didn't let the opportunity pass of asking him his stance on the controversial bill, the Reproductive Health Bill.
He candidly responded "I support the bill." which of course delighted yours truly. But I went on probing why he supports the bill (as you may know, I am not that kind of person who would want to just say 'I am pro or anti' something without knowing why). Well what do you know, he really knows what he is talking about. He supports individuals & couples to get the preferred service they would want to manage their families and that the state should be ready to provide all these options and service.
He goes on saying that young people should be taught sexuality education as this will aid them in their future life decisions, prevent them from unintended pregnancies, infection from HIV and other sexually-transmissible infections and to gain responsible relationships, positive outlook on self and the future.
As any true democrat he is, he said that he is not closing his doors for dialogues to other groups who share other opinions. But well what would matter to me now is his personal take on the issue.
He also supported my cause in redeeming the dignity and integrity of nurses in the country by responding with better solutions to help the nursing unemployment crisis. Well, this is another dinner perhaps.
And days after, news went out that Bam has been given a go signal to run for Senate this 2013. What a coincidence this is. As RH advocates continue to gain more champions in the House, certainly, another RH champion in Senate is much much welcomed. With the likes of Senator Sotto, Pimentel, Trillanes going against the RH Bill, I guess another formidable champion from the purple camp like Bam would be a force to reckon with especially joining the ranks of Senators Pia and Miriam.