Inquirer’s editorial is poorly researched, anti-youth & elitist

Posted on February 2, 2013


This is a letter to the editor that I sent out the Philippine Daily Inquirer regarding their February 2, 2013 editorial. Whether it actually gets published or not, I am making it public to share my personal views on the matter. This is by no means official or mandated by the entities I represent and with whom I work.

It is ironic that in writing its editorial lashing out at “dynastic” names in this year’s senatorial polls (February 2, 2013), the Inquirer has also shown itself to be anti-youth and favoring only the political elite. It claims that Bam Aquino, this election season’s youngest senatorial candidate, lacks qualifications in public administration when Bam’s track record as a student and youth leader, and more recently as a globally acclaimed social entrepreneur, shows otherwise.

In fact, the Inquirer itself has reported how Bam and his social enterprise, Hapinoy, has been winning global awards, “further boosting the Philippines (sic) reputation as a hothouse of sound and innovative micro-venture ideas.”

(See “Hapinoy gets $25,000 grant from ProjectInspire”, September 8, 2011. Another recent report is “Hapinoy wins award”, “Editor’s Pick”, September 22, 2012.)

The paper writes its statement about Bam on the premise that the latter has not yet held any prior elective office in spite of his achievements in the private sector and in the global arena. The op-ed belittles his contributions as Chairman of the National Youth Commission and conveniently deleted the last seven years, where Bam has been recognized as a world leader in poverty alleviation innovation–not to mention one of the world’s most outstanding young persons for 2012 because of his work in micro-enterprise and micro-finance. To conveniently delete this is either malicious or negligent.

Does the Inquirer then mean that the Senate is only reserved for those who are already seasoned in government? Does it then mean that outstanding citizens, private sector movers, social entrepreneurs, NGO leaders, journalists, academics, Church leaders, scientists, performers, basic sector leaders, and other outstanding persons with solid credentials do not have the right to run for office and represent our people? Does it then mean that one cannot be young and aspire to represent fellow youth–the largest chunk of the voting population, by the way–in national policy-making?

A simple Google search will show Bam Aquino’s credentials as an outstanding student and youth leader, an outstanding social
entrepreneur and reformist, and a world-class Filipino that this country should be proud of. If we are to disallow young men and women like Bam–regardless of their family names–from serving in government, the we TRULY are doomed to the kinds of inutile
institutions that we have today.

We, the Filipino youth, deserve better leaders. We deserve a world-class government for a world-class nation. If we can’t let an
outstanding Filipino like Bam run, what other choices do we have?

Niña Terol-Zialcita

Co-author, [r]evolutionaries: The new generation of Filipino youth and
 youth organizations

Former Inquirer contributor