Meet Mar Roxas

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | posted in , , , |

Mar Roxas was elected into the Senate in 2004 with approximately 20 million votes, the most obtained by a candidate in any Philippine election. Armed with this mandate, he forged on with advocacies championed since his days as a Congressman of the first district of Capiz and later on as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Well-known as “Mr. Palengke,” Mar has been at the forefront of issues extending beyond consumer protection and empowerment. Long before he became Senator, he worked quietly to push forward the people’s agenda on quality education, livelihood opportunities through small and medium enterprises, health care, and transparency and accountability in government.

Mar made his mark in the House of Representatives where, against pressure from different interests, particularly multinational drug companies, he fought for the right of every Filipino to quality affordable medicines, a personal advocacy adopted since the death of his brother from a lingering illness at the young age of 32.

This crusade was founded on the Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya program, launched during his tenure as Trade and Industry Secretary, which benefited millions of Filipinos direly in need of effective, low-cost medicines. In the Senate, the crusade continued with Mar’s authorship of Republic Act No. 9502, or the Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, signed into law in June 7, 2008.

Mar is now fighting for the proper implementation of the law, and considers the Senate’s approval of a P1-billion budget in 2009 for the parallel importation of cheap medicines in 2009 as an important step in that direction.

Mar chairs the Senate Committees on Trade and Industry, and Education, which sustain his passion to keep the economy and young people’s minds, both robust and competitive. He is also co-chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Electronic Commerce Law.

His heart goes out to consumers who are shortchanged into buying substandard products. He led official probes aimed at strengthening the Consumer Code of the Philippines, the enforcement of proper labeling of goods containing genetically-modified organisms, and stronger safeguards against pyramiding and other similar scams.

When the pre-need industry succumbed to a mismanagement-spawned financial crisis that threatened to wipe out the hard-earned investments of hundreds of thousands of consumers, Mar filed the Pre-Need Act of 2005 to improve and strengthen industry regulation and safeguard consumer interest. His leadership continues to provide to provide a sense of security and hope to pre-need plan holders.

Mar has also been a staunch advocate of information and communications technology as a tool for national progress. Hailed as the “Father of the Call Center and Business Process Outsourcing Industries,” he recognized and cultivated the potential of the Philippines as a global e-services hub.

As trade and industry secretary, he launched the “Make IT Philippines” project and organized the first IT-enabled services (ITES) road show to the US, which drew the biggest global industry names to invest in the country, creating thousands of jobs for Filipino workers.

Mar also implemented the “PCs for Public Schools” project to provide wider IT access to students and educators. To date, the program has distributed over 30,000 computers to over 2,000 public schools nationwide, providing hands-on computer training to half a million students yearly.

Mar also authored the Omnibus Education Reform Bill, which seeks to strengthen the Philippine education system through interventions on the quality of teachers, the medium of instruction, and the evaluation of students’ aptitude, among others. Recognizing that the problem cannot be fixed overnight, he has called for a ten-year strategic educational reform agenda that would address the ills of the system and nurse it back to full health.

As the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Mar has vowed to pursue these wide-ranging reforms in the education system to address a steady decline in the quality of graduates and improve Filipinos’ ability to improve their lives.

In times of economic hardship, Mar has always acted with the interest of the people in mind. He has fought to “put the money back in people’s pockets,” as reflected in his stand on the suspension of the VAT on oil and the passage of his Law Exempting Minimum Wage Earners from Income Tax.

Following the global financial meltdown that has caused more than a million job losses in the United States alone, Mar has called for the realignment of the national budget in the face of the global financial crisis, believing that the 2009 budget drafted under “normalcy” assumptions times is not responsive to the socioeconomic challenges of the looming crisis situation.

Mar has consistently pushed a paradigm shift in policy-making by rejecting the practice of incrementalism, which has resulted in “doing a little bit of everything to please everyone.” This mentality, he says, has caused gridlock in our political system, thus putting the country in stasis.

“Political will,” he has always believed, “is the discipline to say no.”

For Mar, the exercise of public leadership demands accountability and transparency. These ideals anchored his stand against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the Arroyo Administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, and in battling corruption in government such as the NBN-ZTE broadband deal, the P728-million fertilizer fund scam and the Euro General issue.

With the competence, vision, and passion to renew the social contract; armed with the legacy of his forebears; and with his heart in its right place, Mar has carved his own path as a national leader, one with a sense of mission and the courage of conviction to act on the most pressing issues that keep the Filipino people imprisoned in poverty and uncertainty.

Courtesy of MarRoxas.Com

About The Blogger
Kevin Ray N. Chua

Kevin Ray N. Chua is a 19 year-old blogger from Cebu City, Philippines and an IT Student at Cebu Institute of Technology.

He is currently the Secretary General of the CIT-SSG.

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