Benigno “Bam” Aquino



By Benigno Bam Aquino


Our thrust as a legislator will be to create programs and policies that will bring out the best in the Filipino people, because it is our belief that Filipinos themselves— when given the right opportunities—can help themselves out of poverty and be part of the solutions to their own problems. 

When I was Chairman of the National Youth Commission from 2003 to 2006, I saw firsthand how young people were able to contribute to positive change in their communities—not by asking for dole-­‐outs, but by being innovative, by daring to challenge the status quo, and by creating new solutions. Likewise, our work in social enterprise showed us that even the poorest of our countrymen can contribute to sustainable solutions for themselves and their communities if and when given the right opportunities and support.

Therefore, this three-­‐point policy framework will revolve around: (a) empowering Filipinos to support themselves through education, employment, and enterprise development; and (b) creating a positive and enabling environment for government to support its citizens, instead of being an obstacle to progress because of red tape, corruption and a lack of appreciation of each other’s roles and capabilities.

1. Developing an accessible, world-class educational system through the Education 2.0 Act.

We believe that education is the right of every Filipino. Moreover, we believe that we can build a world-class educational system without sacrificing access to knowledge that can empower Filipinos to stand on their own two feet.

Building on the aims of the K-12 program, and leveraging the power of public-private partnerships, we will work to pass an Education 2.0 Act that will provide for the following:

  • Curriculum development in order to develop a highly skilled and empowered workforce;
  • College financing and the revival of the “Study Now, Pay Later” policy, to give more Filipinos access to tertiary education;
  • Publicized rankings of tertiary institutions to protect students and their families from “diploma mills” that cannot produce employable graduates and board and bar passers;
  • “PPP for E” (Public-Private Partnerships for Education) to allow us to leapfrog government’s resource constraints and close the gap in classroom and textbook requirements;
  • Teacher training and re-training, and additional benefits for teachers and educators, to ensure that our educators remain motivated and armed with the relevant skills and knowledge for a changing world.

2. Addressing the jobs-skills mismatch and enabling schools-to-jobs matching through the GoTrabaho Act.

We believe that quality education goes beyond imparting knowledge and skills to our students—that instead of looking at education as a cycle that goes from enrollment to graduation, we should look at education as going from enrollment to jobs placement and ensure that our graduates are placed in jobs that are matched to their competencies.

However, over the years we have seen the mismatch between our graduates and the kind of workforce that our industries need. Hence, one of our priorities will be to pass the GoTrabaho Act, which will provide for the following:

  • Stronger linkages between industry and educational institutions through a National Internship Program that will help establish industry requirements and standards for employment with the current offerings of educational institutions;
  • The   use   of information   technology   to   pool   information   about   industry requirements, vacancies, skill requirements, etc.;
  • Incentives for educational institutions that are able to place their graduates in the appropriate jobs, and, conversely, the re-­‐evaluation of educational institutions that are not able to produce adequate board/bar passers, job-­‐ ready graduates, etc.;
  • Incentives for businesses that employ more regular employees;
  • Strengthening and enhancing the capacity of TESDA to be a market-focused and accessible training and re-­‐training authority.

This piece of legislation will work in tandem with efforts to bring in more investments by producing a skilled workforce that meets market demands.

3. Supporting the creation of sustainable micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the GoNegosyo Act.

A common cry of entrepreneurs is that government policies are often an obstacle to their growth, making it difficult to do business in the Philippines. We need to turn this on its head and create a positive and supportive enterprise environment. This Omnibus law will spell out different incentives, support systems, and a roadmap for MSMEs, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • A systems approach to cutting red tape and inconsistencies, addressing the arbitrary nature of regulation (which then opens opportunities for corruption), and improving ease of doing business;
  • Access to microfinance for micro-­‐entrepreneurs, SME loans, etc.;
  • Access to market, including a market mapping of products to identify which areas need support;
  • More and/or better training facilities to give people access to enterprise training;
  • The inclusion of entrepreneurship and financial management in the basic education curriculum;
  • The creation of a coordinative cluster among the DOST, DTI, DSWD, BIR, DILG, BFAD, and DOLE that will, in turn, create a national roadmap for MSMEs and ensure effective implementation of policies on the ground;
  • Amendments that can enhance the current Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE) Act; and
  • Incentives for social enterprises that provide a positive impact in their communities.



Bam was only six years old when his uncle, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated, and only nine when he became part of the People Power Revolution. These events have made a significant impact on him and have helped define his ideals, values, principles, and decisions.

Benigno “Bam” Aquino is a youth leader who has worked to address poverty through innovations in community organizing, social entrepreneurship, and livelihood development.

He belongs to a new generation of young Filipinos who are devoting their talents to creating innovative and groundbreaking solutions for poverty and other social ills. His social enterprise, Hapinoy, has been awarded around the world for its poverty alleviation program using innovations in micro-enterprise, micro-finance, and the Filipino staple, the sarisari store. Since its inception in 2007, Hapinoy has already improved the lives of thousands of households from different parts of the Philippines.

A graduate of Management Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University, summa cum laude, Bam could have had his pick of corporate positions. Instead, he chose to use his many talents to work for the poor and the marginalized. Bam is also a multi-awarded leader and has been named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (2010) and Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (2012).

No stranger to policy-making, Bam became the youngest chairperson of the National Youth Commission when he headed the agency in 2003, at 25 years old. He was also an active student leader 2003, at 25 years old. He was also an active student leader during his college years, and has worked in media as a host of youth-oriented and entrepreneurship programs.


  • Summa cum laude, BS Management Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University; Student Council President (1999)
  • Harvard alumnus (two-week short course on Leadership and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government (2008)
  • Jose Rizal Most Outstanding Model Student (1999)


  • Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (2012)
  • Ten Outstanding Young Men (2010)
  • Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum
  • Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year (World Economic Forum, 2011)
  • PLDT Bossing
  • GoNegosyo Inspiring Young Entrepreneur
  • United Nations Project Inspire Award Grand Prize (for Hapinoy)