By Vice-Governor Bro. James Calisin
My fraternal life came at a precious time and an awkwardly uncomfortable situation. I was then a young professor
at the Aquinas University of Legazpi (AUL) in 1989 when I was initiated into the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity.
It was quite
uncomfortable since my initiators were my students. And for fraternitites in Legazpi City, that year was also "the year of
living dangerously" what with the daily dose of violence among in and off campus fraternities. But this did not dampen my
desire to be a Tau Gamma Phi brother. And instead of being cowed by the situation, it became more a challenge to initiate
meaningful change in the orientation and direction for fraternities to co-exist in peace.
The upsurge of fraternity
rumbles then was deeply rooted and carried over for more than a decade of state violence under the Marcos dictatorship. For
some, violence was more of the rule rather than the exemption in conflict management. Others believed it was the shortest
way of problem solving.
One of my priorities then was to eradicate, if not minimize the effects of the culture of violence
among the different fraternal organizations in the AUL campus. However, I knew that this couldn’t be achieved overnight
and without the active participation and cooperation of other fraternities.
One encouraging factor was the support
of the university. Auspiciously, it was at this time that AUL enjoined all in-campus fraternities to have professors as advisers
before it could be recognized. I immediately took the opportunity to organize an intra-fraternity advisers’ dialog and
zealously pushed the idea of forming the Confederation of Fraternities as a venue for conflict management and resolution.
the Confederation was successfully formed, we then experimented with the first peace initiative during the university’s
weeklong intramurals. Tents were pitched where brothers and sisters from the different organizations slept, interacted and
conducted fraternal colloquium. It was indeed a surprise to learn the discussions spilled over from organizational to societal
problems. Many were initiated to the realities of the Philippine situation at that time. A different kind of learning process
came into being and a new breed of fraternity brothers and sisters were born.
The experience caught the attention of
the church. The late Bishop Concordio Ma. Sarte, DD of the Diocese of Legazpi hailed it as "great example worthy to be emulated
by the youths".
Soon after, my eyes were fixed on the brothers and sisters’ academic excellence and worthwhile
community service. As a TRISKELION and Vice-Governor of Albay, this experience is now well reflected in my 10-point Legislative
With these, I challenge each every brod and sis- "Let this experience radiate in and in the community
of people where each of us belong!