4 Things I’m Doing to Make RP a Better Place


There is a common question from many of the comments on this blog, which is, essentially, what am I doing personally to make our country a better place. Put another way, some assert that all I do is engage in talk about “change” while not doing anything concrete to effect it. To address this directly, here are 4 things – there are actually more but let’s start with this number – I am doing personally and concretely to move this country forward:

1. Eliminating Corruption at PLM (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila). As president of the University I oversee a fund of 300 Million Pesos yearly for the benefit of nearly 12,000 students, staff, and faculty. Commission on Audit records will show the wastage and corruption that have occurred in past administrations. For those familiar with S.O.P.s (standard operating procedures, which is a codeword for corruption) of government, unfortunately, ten per cent of that fund, and this is a very conservative estimate, goes to the head of the organization. In my case it would be 30 million a year, at least. There are rumors that the past administrations in PLM stole even more than that. I do not – and will not – steal any money from PLM. That money should benefit the University, its students and staff. By utilizing the University’s money properly, I am building up our nation’s future leaders.

2. Lecturing on Youth Leadership and Empowerment. From invitations from organizations like the Jaycees and Rotarians to Student Organizations to High School and College graduations, I always make it a point to make my speeches or lectures center on youth leadership and a sense of hopefulness for our country’s future.

3. Establishing Programs for Adult Education and PLMAT review. We are currently working on an adult education program in PLM that will provide instruction to janitors and other low income earners such as small vendors, metro aides, etc. Also, seeing that those with higher income levels have an advantage at the entrance examinations for PLM, we are establishing a PLMAT – the University’s entrance exams – review course that will target the poorest Manila High School students to enable them to hurdle the highly competitive PLMAT. Bringing quality education to the poorer sectors of our community will always reap social dividends in the long run.

4. Advocating Muslim-Christian Dialogue Through Media, Articles, and Lectures. Muslim-Christian dialogue – inter-faith discussion – is very close to my heart, particularly being married to a Catholic. Through my numerous articles, media interviews and appearances, as well as lectures, I hope to open the lines of communication between Muslims and Christians in the Philippines, which is the essential pre-condition to overcoming distrust, discrimination, and finding peace in Mindanao.


Are the Young Turks Running in 2010?

Are the young turks running for the Senate or for some other public office in 2010? I cannot answer for the others but allow me to answer spliceanddice’s question directly and honestly, although I’m not sure that my answer will satisfy. Spliceanddice wrote today that –

“Some of the guys in “The Young Turks”, if not all, are eyeing high positions in the 2010 elections. One quick and frank question (which, eventually, all these things here boil down to) so that we can set the record straight here:

Are you guys (Mayor JV, Prof. Danton Remoto, Congressman TG Guingona, Gilbert Remulla, and Atty. Adel Tamano) running for the Senatorial positions in 2010?

That would be a fine question to begin with. On my part, I’ll keep the comments and criticisms–both positive and negative—coming once my question, as part of the youth you guys are addressing here, is answered. Thanks!”

Simply, my answer is I don’t know. Do I want to run for the Senate? Well, yes, because, among other things, Filipino Muslims have not had a representative in the upper house for over a decade. But I don’t want to run and lose because losing will not be just a personal tragedy but it will ultimately undermine, if not destroy, the chances of future Filipino Muslims of being elected. So the decision to run, which is distinct from the desire to represent Filipino Muslims, will be based on a lot of things and is, by no means, a simple matter.

However, I don’t think that this blog should be viewed from the lens of political opportunism alone. That would be unfair. Read the entries here, not just from the young turks but from the comments, and you will find that there is a wellspring of idealism and nationalism that is being tapped into by this web log. On my part, this blog is a means of engaging that wellspring, particularly because being a political spokesman can, if you let yourself get lazy and uncritical, become demoralizing and it can make you cynical. I don’t want cynicism to become a part of me and this initiative – corny as it may sound – is helping me by meeting, even if only on a virtual plane as of yet, Filipinos who are not apathetic and who have hope for our country’s future.

– Atty. Adel Tamano

Comments and Criticism – Keep Em Coming!

Thank you for all the expressions of support as well as for the criticisms. This comment from Carlo was especially insightful –

Its good for the group to take some criticisms. After all, this isn’t some fans club of any politician. Just be prepared for the youth to set their guns on you especially on your members who are obviously trapos in the making in my opinion. The youth aren’t stupid after all and we do have our own intelligent opinion.

I agree one hundred percent with Carlo because I think that anyone who wants to enter the public field – whether in public service, in film or entertainment, as a writer, etc. – has to expect criticism. Especially for those interested in issues of governance, the free market of ideas will winnow the good ideas from the bad ones. Also, the heat of critique should keep us young turks from getting swell-headed, pompous, and self-righteous, which are the usual sins of the trapos.

Another good comment/critique comes from RedBaron, who says –

Forgive the cynicism. I am all for change and I welcome the initiative from the four who appeared @ ANC, but isnt this just an alternative campaign vehicle for 2010?

In any case, I am looking forward to OPEN sharing of NEW ideas from all relevant participants.

This is me getting on the “ship called HOPE”.

The “alternative campaign vehicle” comment is a good point. The answer to that is that perhaps it could be: the young turks don’t hide the fact that we would be happy to have an opportunity to serve our country, either as an elected official or in another capacity, but that should not detract from the idealism and nationalism that we are trying to instill by this initiative. And RedBaron, it an honor for us to sail with you.

Lastly, Chino’s comment on the role of the opposition in creating the current problems of the country are well taken. Chino said –

I just want to react to your statement in the radio show that “those who are in the administration will have a hard time in your group because they are part of the problem”. Do you not realize that the opposition is ALSO a big part of the problem

While it is true that the opposition has some responsibility in regard the country’s problems like the rice crisis, crushing poverty, unabated poverty, among others, however, the lion’s share of the blame should fall squarely on the current administration. It’s simply command responsibility. Underlying this comment is the sentiment that the opposition should not be self-righteous. Point well taken and, certainly, the opposition is not composed of saints and angels. Let us be frank that there are corrupt, immoral, and dishonest members of the opposition but – and this is the important point – the opposition did not inflict “hello garci”, the fertilizer scam, the rice crisis a.k.a not having an adequate food security program, and extra-judicial killings on the Filipino people. The GMA Administration did.

Lastly, please keep the comments – whether positive or negative – coming.

– Atty. Adel Tamano

Negative Comments-We Like

I’m not surprised that there are some comments on this blog that express cynicism and disbelief at what we are doing here. For example, this comment from amelyah_92@yahoo.com.ph –

All that is required for a neophyte who wants to enter and make a difference in Philippine politics is for all good men to become a genuine member to the group of young turks,the eliminators of “Trapos”…lol he he he!

We know that our attempt at having a conversation with the youth on reforming the country will be viewed by some as either silly or self-serving. Fine, people are entitled to their opinions but we won’t let that stop us from doing what we think is good for the country. Also, keep those negative comments coming – it will just inspire us to work harder and be more creative in trying to reach out to the youth. Also, just by your act of giving a comment, you have, in fact, started the conversation on what we should do to help move this country forward. So, thank you.

– Atty. Adel Tamano