Thursday ∗ 28 Feb 2013

on Bam Aquino and social entrepreneurship

Bam Aquino promises to bring social entrepreneurship to the Senate. That he is running on that, and his last name (obviously!), is the most vulgar act of political ambition we might see since the Pacquiaos (in the plural!) decided they must all run for government in Gen San (Jinkee for Governor!). At least Jinggoy and JV went through years of being mayor. And yes, I am comparing the Aquinos (Kris included!) to the Estradas.

Such is local politics, and yes that’s a lot of ironic and disgusted exclamation points.

But Bam might be the biggest bummer of all. Check out his website and find that he has no platform – it is as empty as his CV. It’s in bright Cory yellow (because he is proud of the dynasty he is part of), and has as its main navigational tool a sari-sari store filled with objects you can click on. So click on the TV and you get a photo and video gallery, click on the radio and you get soundbites, click on the stack of newspapers and you get news and updates – all favorable of course.

Not surprisingly, you cannot click on any of the goods that are for sale in the sari-sari store. That which is the lifeblood of the space? Bam’s got nothing on there.

You can click on the planner though and get to a slumbook where he tells you about his favorite food and actors, what he thinks of love, and what his “most missed memory” is – it’s going to protest actions at six years old after his Tito Ninoy was shot.

This is a memory they will milk for all it’s worth on this site, only comparable to Kris when it comes to milking Ninoy’s heroism until it’s all dry and tired. When you click on that certificate on the sari-sari store’s wall, you get to Bam’s achievements, which begin – you guessed it! – with him at six years old!

The banner screams two things about Bam: multi-awarded social entrepreneur and youth leader. There is nothing on this site that points to how and why he is even the latter, other than his turn as National Youth Commission Chair and before that commissioner, to which posts he was appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. There is nothing on what exactly he did at NYC other than establish TAYO, an award-giving body for youth organizations that he somehow is still affiliated with, even as he hasn’t been with, the NYC since 2007.

Because in 2007 he kicked off what is his claim to whatever fame (other than his name), and the one concept he says he will bring to the senate: social entrepreneurship. Bam’s website calls this the social enterprise Project Hapinoy. Yes, Bam’s got all but one project.

The site fails to mention that it was Microventures Inc. that Bam set-up in 2007 with his business partner Mark Ruiz. It fails to mention that Microventures Inc. was and is a for-profit organization, a business, that thought itself “new” because they were doing some social good. His official website claims that Bam has been internationally awarded for this program that has as goal to “help the smallest businesses in the different parts of the country” <translation from Filipino mine>.

What Bam has yet to talk about, what this site silences, is emphasis on the fact that Hapinoy, under Microventures, is not only a for-profit organization, it is also one built on the premise of microfinance and microcredit. Big words for what is the most basic of things in impoverished Philippines: loans.

Yes, good ol’ utang.

the rest is here.

Posted in: bayan, eleksyon, komentaryo, pulitika

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