July 2, 2012
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan welcomes the forthcoming senatorial bid of Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, a former student and youth leader who is best known for his advocacy in providing microfinance opportunities to women through the social enterprise Hapinoy, an organization that provides business coaching, leadership training, store branding, and other support services to a network of over 10,000 sari-sari stores all over the Philippines.
“We welcome the decision of Bam Aquino to seek a Senate post, and we will support his bid,” Pangilinan says. “His credentials are outstanding. If he wins, he will probably be the first summa cum laude graduate in the Senate.”
Aquino graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1999 with a degree in Management Engineering, and was both summa cum laude and valedictorian. He had also graduated as valedictorian in elementary and high school.
In his senior year, Aquino was the President of the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Ateneo, the university student council. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Chairman of the National Youth Commission, the youth policy-making arm of the Philippine government, and was at the time the youngest person in Philippine history to head a government agency. At the same time, Aquino co-hosted Breakfast, a youth-oriented TV morning talk show.
“His having been a student and youth leader is a big plus. He will be the voice of the youth in the upper chamber,” Pangilinan points out.
“Nearly ninety percent of the voters are below fifty years of age; we need youthful leaders in the Senate who will represent the next generation of Filipinos who hunger for progress and genuine change,” Pangilinan stresses.
In 2010, Aquino was recognized as one of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year and Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines. In 2011, he, alongside with Hapinoy Managing Director Mark Ruiz, was recognized as among the Asian Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. In 2012, Aquino was among the 30 social entrepreneurs from the Schwab Foundation that attended the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.