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.
After 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!