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TAU GAMMA PHI TRISKELION GRAND FRATERNITY

Triskelion Youth Movement
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TRISKELION YOUTH MOVEMENT

OVER A CUP OF TEA... by Bro. Atty Monching Ocampo

FOUNDATION, HISTORY, PURPOSE AND FUTURE ROLE:
THE TRISKELION YOUTH MOVEMENT
(TAU GAMMA PHI COMMUNITY CHAPTER)

The Triskelion Youth Movement (TYM), since its very inception, has been quite controversial and to say the least, the most misunderstood and even maligned outreach movement of our fraternal organization. Perhaps, a brief yet historical account of its foundation would provide the brods with a positive outlook with 
regard to the TYM, the underlying reason for its foundation, its invaluable contribution to the fraternity's survival during the turbulent years of our fraternity's history and its positive role in the TAU GAMMA PHI's pursuit to excellence in the 21st century. 

First of all, let me reiterate the TRISKELIONS GRAND FRATERNITY aka 
TAU GAMMA PHI's avowed purpose and mission for existence is:" TO 
REFORM THE EXISTING FRATERNITY SYSTEM OF ENDLESS VIOLENT RUMBLES AND 
TRANSFORM IT INTO ONE WHERE FRATERNITIES, PROFESSING THE UNIVERSAL 
BROTHERHOOD OF MEN, CAN LIVE IN PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE AND ITS 
MEMBERS TO BE THE ROLE MODELS OF THE PHILIPPINE SOCIETY." 

The early years of the organization saw the fraternity being engaged in the pursuit of political excellence in the U.P. campus and was able to elect, among others, the President of Arts and Sciences Student Council (the biggest council in the entire university) twice in a row. Prior to the declaration of martial law in 1972, our 
fraternity became embroiled in a series of rumbles against equally young fraternities. After martial law was declared, we were engaged in a 4-year violent struggle against the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity, which boasted of Juan Ponce Enrile as a staunch member-supporter and who was then the Secretary of Defense. The struggle eventually ended and we were victorious! Inevitably and ostensibly due to leftist leanings, the fraternity's office was raided under an Arrest-Search 
and Seizure order signed by Mr. Enrile, fortunately, no one was at 
the office that time. 

Thereafter we had a short-lived struggle against the Beta Sigma Fraternity sometime in 1975. 1976 saw the tragic beginning of a bloody and protracted struggle against which admittedly should not have been our enemy but was actually, our strong ally at the Adamson University when we first started a chapter in that area, namely the 
Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. It was the opinion by the then Secretary-General at that time, the late Allen Hernandez, that the rumble against the APO fraternity should not have happened. So much so when we suffered our first fatality, Hernando Guevarra of Adamson University, who was killed in an ambush enroute to an S.O.S. 
mission, he specifically ordered no physical retaliation to be launched against the APO fraternity. In his words he said "let Nando's death be a lesson to all of us." Essentially, he called for a halt in the hostilities and ordered the brods to go back to school and instead of going to an offensive, just to be on a defensive mode against the enemy. The rumble erupted anew a few weeks later in the University of the Philippines when a certain member, now deceased, of the APO fraternity, the son of the then U.P. president, had a motorcycle accident near the campus, allegedly due to his own fault. For one reason or another, he blamed the U.P. TAU GAMMA PHI as the 
culprits and immediately on that same day, they launched an offensive against the U.P. Brods, caught them offguard, mauling a former GT and a Grand Council office. The next day, a 25-strong Tarantula of the U.P. chapter led by no less than Secretary-General Allen Hernandez clashed against a strong 100-men attack-force of the APO fraternity along the corridors of U.P. and in the ensuing melee, one of the frontliners of the APO fraternity, a certain Abad, suffered a mortal stab wound. Coming from a prominent family during the Marcos Era, his death was chronicled almost daily in the major newspapers of the Philippines resulting in a very negative, albeit nationwide publicity of the so-called notoriety of the TAU GAMMA PHI.

Shortly thereafter, Bro Allen accepted gainful employment and stepped down from his position as Gen-Sec and asked me to take over. With rumbles erupting in the different chapters, there was not much choice for me but to accept until the crisis is over. From 1976, the fraternity became engaged in continuing, vicious and bloody rumbles against the APO fraternity. In 1977, with most chapter in rumble 
status against them and hearing that they may have sustained a few more fatalities from the many clashes against our Tarantulas, we could not hold a regional convention reasonably anticipating that the APO fraternity will attack us in full force in retaliation. In fact at one time, 13 out of 14 recognized senior chapters of the 
fraternity had ongoing rumbles against the same, not to mention the other unrecognized chapters which was also engage in similar rumbles. This were no mere coincidence for we heard from intelligence reports that the order by the national council of the APO fraternity was to totally annihilate our fraternity until we've 
wiped out of the campuses. In the meantime, the fighting force of the fraternity dwindled down dramatically every semester, with the brods either going inactive, being sent home to provinces by their parents after learning of their Triskelion affiliation or simply being kicked-out of school for non-attendance due to rumbles. After seeing a mere 150-200 brods attend a regional convention in 1978, 
when our fraternity supposed to be numbering approximately 2,000. I exhorted the recruitment of new fighting members as a grave priority. In estimation at the rate the fighting ranks in each chapter were thinning out, from an average of 50-60 each chapter to an average of 25-30 and recruitment of senior brods being very 
difficult due to the prevailing rumble conditions, our fraternity's survival is definitely at stake and will be severely prejudiced, perhaps irreparably, in about 2-3 years. The successful revival-recruitment of the junior (high school) ranks starting at San 
Sebastian College, supplied much needed muscle in the university belt area struggle but being young and inexperienced and despite heroic hearts, I sadly concluded that they faced an unfair disadvantage against the enemy's overwhelming battle-hardened strike force which seems to be coming from all directions. 

In the latter part of 1978, several suggestions were being considered by the GT's, like the Tarantula-Brods dropping from school to fight against APO fraternity on a full time basis or calling on the alumni brods to assist us in the struggle, both of which I disapproved, reasoning that we are primarily students who are in school to graduate but who unfortunately, are entangled in a protracted war and I did not feel right about calling on the alumni brods who are probably striving hard to earn a living to feed their respective families. It was one of these meetings that someone mentioned that some out of school youth were interested to join our fraternity. As the brods debated for the issue and as I pondered about the interesting proposal there was some reservations in my mind about its propriety as the TAU GAMMA PHI has always been a campus-based fraternity and recruiting out-of-school youth may indeed, not be appropriate. However seeing that there was really no existing prohibition against such recruitment, and aptly guided by one of the tenets of the fraternity which states the part that..."from whatever cause man has come into being, for whatever 
reason he exists, to whatever purpose he is destined, kin to all living creatures around him, MAN IS BROTHER UNTO MAN..." I proposed the establishment and organization of the out-of-school youth outreach program of the fraternity to be henceforth known as the "TRISKELION YOUTH MOVEMENT (TYM)." I also reasoned that the main reason that many of the Philippine youth are out-of-school is 
because their parents simply cannot financially afford to send them 
to school and that is no reason for anyone to be refused membership into the TAU GAMMA PHI. If at the same time, these out-of-school youth would incidentally, be able to provide much needed reinforcements to the ongoing struggle, so much the better. If I may so, take a contrary position is simply an elitist attitude which has 
no place in a dynamic brotherhood of men such as the TAU GAMMA PHI. 

As has always been practice during my term as Secretary-General from 1976-1979, this proposal or any major proposal for that matter, can only be approved by a unanimous vote of the GT's of the recognized chapters present, i.e., each chapter had veto power. As such the brods were enjoined to always attend the meetings, otherwise, they were pre-empted from challenging any decision of the Regional 
Council. Incidentally, please note that in all of these regional meetings almost all of these chapters attend each meeting and we always have a quorum, otherwise it was agreed that I will automatically resign from my position as Gen-Sec for lack of self-
confidence. To the best of my recollection, all 14 recognized chapters approved the establishment ot the TYM. We were not able to work out the guidelines except that the TYM Brods who are under the direct supervision of any recognized senior chapter may be recruited by senior or junior brods but can only be initiated within the presence of senior brods to assure the conformity with fraternal initiation rites. As an afterthought, I also had a vision that maybe, eventually the TYM will also play a crucial role in the fraternity's future roles as grassroots political machinery since we 
already had a foretaste of the political arena in Assemblyman's Alinca's campaign. In addition, I envisioned the TYM community chapter to play a key role in the fraternity's civic action projects not only in Metro Manila but in the entire archipelago as soon as peaceful co-existence can be established with our rival 
fraternities. 

With the continuous influx of fresh members from the TYM sector, the war against the APO fraternity started to go in our favor and the survival of the fraternity was no longer at stake. The crisis was over. I decided not to run for another term as Secretary-General and relinquished the position to Bro. Jay de Castro whom I advise to put guidelines to the growing TYM ranks to assure control and direction, unfortunately, no guidelines were ever put into place and it is well known to many officers of the regional council that one or two of our founding fathers, particularly Bro. Rod Confessor and lately Bro. Roy Ordinario do not totally approve of the rationale or the establishment of the TYM. Sadly, I was not able to be physically 
present to fight for the TYM's welfare as I had to leave for the United States sometime in 1981. The TYM eventually developed into a community-based recruiting not only out-of-school youth but full time students as well, from the most impoverished areas of Tondo to the most affluent Dasmarinas Village and from the provinces of Aparri to the remote areas of Jolo. It is worthy to note and to the 
best of my knowledge, the TYM ranks boasts of an incumbent congressman from Batangas, a practicing doctor from Texas, U.S.A., and many other professionals in the Philippine society. 

Perhaps, this detailed insight as to the foundation of the TYM will enable the brods to decide for themselves whether this momentous decision on my part was the right one or not. As for me Bro. Tito Venida, who is the real brains behind the formulation of the TAU GAMMA PHI, as well as many dedicated brods in the United States, we 
will always be behind the TRISKELION YOUTH MOVEMENT (TYM) and are ready, willing and able to lead them and whoever is interested among the brods, alumni, seniors and juniors alike, towards the great challenge awaiting us in the 21st century.