Roxas: “Finally, Government’s feet on the ground”

Senator Mar Roxas said it is high time to suspend the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products, now that the government has already “accepted the reality” that it would not meet its “theoretical” target to balance the budget.
Finally, nakaapak na sila sa lupa (their feet are now on the ground)! Because their theory that the budget can be balanced this year, nawala na iyan matagal na eh (has been abandoned for some time already),” an exasperated Roxas said during the Kapihan sa Senado held on Thursday.

When oil was at $90 per barrel at the beginning of the year, nawala na iyan eh (the assumption’s invalid already). The economic growth for 2008 would necessarily be affected,” he explained. He said oil prices now are four times more expensive than when the expanded VAT was still being deliberated.
He also pointed out that the President has supposedly allotted P40 billion for the Agriculture “FIELDS” program, aside from continuing with rice subsidies through NFA, the budgets for which are not in the original budget.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce pointed out that when the proposal to impose a 12% VAT on oil was still being deliberated, Dubai crude was still around $34 per barrel. Now, the price of Dubai crude has reached $120 per barrel. This means if the government earlier expected to collect around $4 of VAT per barrel of crude, it now collects around $14 per barrel, or excess revenue of around $10 per barrel.

Ang laki-laki na ng nakokolekta ng gobyerno, higit doon sa original na inaasahan nila mula rito. Bakit pa nila ipinagdadamot ito (Government’s collecting so much more than what it originally expected. So why are they refusing to return it to consumers)?” he said.
The Liberal Party President stressed that if the government really wants to help consumers and protect the “real economy” at this time of crisis, it must immediately support moves to suspend or remove VAT on oil.

Maaari na ayaw nila ito sa simula. Noong nasa $90 per barrel ang langis, tinanggihan nila ito. Ngayon na nasa $130 per barrel na ang langis, mukhang nagkakaroon ito ng buhay sa Kamara. Kahit ano pa man ang gusto ng Malacañang, itong demokrasya dito, batay ito sa kagustuhan ng ating mga kababayan. Nilagay natin sila diyan, dapat hindi nila ipagdamot itong pera kasi hindi nila pera ito. Pera ng sambayanan ito,” he said.

Roxas: Slower growth, high prices call for ZERO VAT on oil

Senator Mar Roxas said the government should now support moves for zero value-added tax (VAT) on oil, now that the government has admitted it would not anymore meet its balanced budget target this year due to slower growth.

"When oil was at $90 per barrel at the beginning of the year, that target of a balanced budget this year has become impossible. The economic growth for 2008 would necessarily be affected," he said.

"But more than the fiscal targets, the government should look more closely at how our consumers are facing a perfect storm of food and oil price hikes," he said.

He said oil prices now are four times more expensive than when the expanded VAT was still being deliberated. This is one of the reasons cited as to why growth, especially consumer spending, slowed down in the first quarter.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce pointed out that when the proposal to impose a 12% VAT on oil was still being deliberated, Dubai crude was still around $34 per barrel. Now, the price of Dubai crude has reached $120 per barrel. This means if the government earlier expected to collect around $4 of VAT per barrel of crude, it now collects around $14 per barrel, or excess revenue of around $10 per barrel.

"Ang laki-laki na ng makokolekta ng gobyerno mula sa VAT sa langis, higit doon sa inaasahan nila noon mula rito. Bakit pa nila ipinagdadamot ito (Government's expected to collect so much more than what it originally expected. So why are they refusing to return it to our consumers)?" he said.

"Even at the best of times, even when the administration was crowing about 7.3% growth, the revenue agencies were not attaining their targets. So to begin with, strong economy or weak economy, the revenue agencies were not attaining their projections," he explained.

The Liberal Party President stressed if the government really wants to help consumers and protect the "real economy" at this time of crisis, it must immediately support moves to suspend or remove VAT on oil.

"Maaari na ayaw nila ito sa simula. Noong nasa $90 per barrel ang langis, tinanggihan nila ito. Ngayon na nasa $130 per barrel na ang langis, mukhang nagkakaroon ito ng buhay sa Kamara," he said.

"Hindi nila dapat ipagdamot itong pera kasi hindi nila pera ito. Pera ng sambayanan ito," he said.

Large savings for workers with Tax Exemption Bill’s passage, Sen. Roxas says

Senator Mar Roxas said people have plenty of savings to look forward to, with the impending passage of Congress’ bill to exempt minimum wage earners from income taxes.

Magandang balita ang natanggap natin sa sinang-ayunan na ng House yung Senate version para sa exemption ng mga minimum wage earners, at additional exemptions para sa iba pang salaried workers,” Roxas said during the ‘Kapihan sa Senado’ press conference on Thursday.

The Senator, who is principal author of the tax measure, pointed out the specific savings for people: “Para sa isang minimum wage earner sa Metro Manila na kumikita ng P7,900 per month for 22 days of work, ang dagdag nito sa kanyang take-home pay is about P750, or P34 a day. Ang katumbas nito ay isang kilong bigas bawat araw na madadagdagan sa kanilang kinikita.”

In addition to this, Roxas, the Liberal Party President, noted that all holiday, night differential, hazard and overtime pay were also exempted from income taxes.

Kaya’t bagamat ang panawagan ng labor sector ay pataasin ang sahod sa pamamagitan nitong panukalang isinulong natin, madadagdagan pa ang take-homepay ng ating mga manggagawa at ng ating mga salaried workers,” he said.

The bill also increases personal exemptions, so that additional savings for an employee earning P455 a day or P10,010 per month would be P472.59 a month or P5,671.02 a year if he or she is single, and P451.09 a month or P5,413.06 a year if he or she is married with four children.

For an employee earning P683 a day or P15,026 a month, additional savings would be P545.26 a month or P6,543.10 a year if he or she is single, and P1,190.52 or P14,286.20 a year if he or she is married with four children.

These additional savings are on top of the personal exemptions already being given to our workers,” Roxas noted.

Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, malaking tulong ang lahat ng ginhawa na mabibigay ng gobyerno, kagaya nitong minimum wage exemption, at kahit yung pagtanggal ng VAT sa produktong petrolyo,” he added.

Roxas pushes for Omnibus Education Reform Bill

After working on measures that would help people cope with the expense side of their daily needs, Senator Mar Roxas is now pushing for an omnibus measure that would ensure the people’s incomes in the long-term: education reform.

Huwag nating kalimutan ang ‘income side.’ At para sa akin, ang pinakamabisang pamamaraan para masiguro natin na may kikitain ang, at patuloy na magkakaroon ng pagkakataon para sa, ating mga kababayan ay ang pagsasaayos ng ating education system at pagbibigay sa kanila ng tama’t wastong educational preparation. (We should not forget the ‘income side.’ And to me, the best way to ensure incomes and opportunities for our people is through reforming our education system and giving our children proper educational preparation),” he said.
Roxas, President of the Liberal Party, said “we need to fix not only the roof but the whole house which is our education system,” as Filipino students are being left behind, compared to their counterparts in Asia and the world.

Among the reforms he is seeking through his Senate Bill 2294, the proposed Omnibus Education Reform Act of 2008, is instituting the “mother tongue” or local language as medium of instruction.

It had been found out 20 years back that children learn faster in the local language rather than a strict English-only or Tagalog-only system,” he said. He pointed out that this is backed by decades of UNESCO research and even by Philippine experience.
Roxas is also pushing for an expanded 12-year basic education program. This would include competency evaluation at grades three and six, a remedial year between grade school and high school, and an “output-oriented” high school curriculum that would equip graduates with the right skills, whether they choose to pursue college or already be employed.
Kilalang-kilala tayo sa Asya at sa buong mundo na English-competent, well-educated. Pero dumadating na ang panahon na sa ating limited 10-year education program, nakikita na yung agwat ng kakayahan ng ibang bansa kumpara dito sa atin,” he said.

Hindi na natin maaaring gawing kapital yung 10 years na education program natin, kasi mahusay man iyan ay may extra two years yung iba. Kaya kailangan makahabol tayo. Kung hindi, ang mga trabaho ay hindi pupunta dito sa atin at pupunta sa ibang bansa,” he added.

Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog holds on to the 10th Spot

Thank you so much to all the people who have put their trust in my blog, Mar Roxas for President in 2010 (and you bet again who's gonna be the Philippine President in 2010), and nominated it as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008, a writing project of Ma'am Janette Toral. I would also like to apologize to my fellow bloggers who felt disgusted over my campaign to visit this blog. My intention was only to let my fellow bloggers be aware that this blog exist and it's up to them if they would nominate the blog or dismiss it. I am not pushing them to nominate the blog.

As of the 5th week, the Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog is currently on the 10th spot for two straight weeks (Week 4 and Week 5) and I would be delighted if you can help us stay on the Top 10 until the end of the search and even "more" delighted if you can lift us from the 10th spot. Below is the overall ranking of the blogs mentioned for week 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 entries
  1. http://visitsagada.com/
  2. http://www.filipinovoices.com/
  3. http://missingcarlo.filblogs.com/
  4. http://www.davaodeli.com/
    http://delfindjmontano.blogspot.com/
  5. http://manilafoodistas.blogspot.com/
  6. http://www.blogniinday.com/
  7. http://www.yougottech.com/
  8. http://creativecurio.com/
    http://marroxas2010.blogspot.com/
I would like to thank Filipinayzd, Flowell, Mark, Jehz, Myk, Francis, Lugud, Kay JD for their support by nominating this blog as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008.

You are also invited to join the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008 writing project of Ma'am Janette Toral. Join now!

Roxas bares LP position on CARL

Senator Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party President, said that his party will be pushing for an extension of the agrarian reform program, but only with changes in the present law which would truly benefit the farmer.

The LP’s stand is: Farmers deserve real change. What is needed especially in this time of high prices is the strengthening of our farm sector, with government providing all the help it can provide,” Roxas said.

The senator noted that the party position was the result of intensive policy discussions, where the effectiveness of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) was assessed and deemed to have lacked support services to empower farmers to better manage their land.

What is needed is for real social justice to come about from an extension of CARL, not empty promises. While we favor the extension of CARL, we also see the need for reforms to make it a genuine vehicle for social justice and economic development,” he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce said that the LP would push for a 5-year extension of the law, focusing on several points.

First, land must be made productive and be profitable for farmers. The prevalent situation since 1988 has been a farmer being awarded his own land, but because of the lack of tools and know-how, the land becomes idle or is sold back to the original landowner,” he said.

To empower the farmers, following support services must be provided:
  • Readily available low-interest and long-term credit facilities;
  • Seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and other inputs;
  • Adequate drying and milling capabilities;
  • Market access;
  • Training and capacity-building; and
  • Full support of the Department of Agriculture, local government units and the Department of Agrarian Reform as partners-for-change.

Second, Roxas said the principle of fairness and transparency must be applied to all stakeholders. The LP proposes:

  • Settlement of all previous land acquisition as a confidence-building measure for the next wave of reformed lands;
  • Just and prompt payment to all landowners for their CARP-subjected land;
  • Fairness and transparency in resolving disputes on land valuation and ownership; and
  • Clearly specified sources of funds for the next phase of CARP to ensure sustainability and effective implementation.

In policy discussions, Roxas said the Liberal Party also agreed that the current rice and food crisis requires a strict prohibition in the conversion of irrigated farmlands.

These lands were irrigated for a long-term purpose, and the amount spent on this should not go to waste. The present rice crisis can be blamed in part on the mismanagement of irrigated lands,” he said.

Sunday, May 25, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas: Immediate relief, not tokenisms, needed

Senator Mar Roxas said the people do not need mere "tokenisms" but real and immediate relief in coping with the continued high prices of petroleum products.

He cited the Department of Energy's announcement to remove the tariff on imported crude oil and refined products – that would supposedly lower pump prices by P0.50 – effective June 1, which the Senator said would not be felt by the public especially with the continued rise in world oil prices.
"How will our drivers and consumers feel that their government is looking out for them, when all they are given is false hope and not immediate relief?" said Roxas, the Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce.

"Our people feel they are being run over by these skyrocketing prices of food, oil and other goods. But instead of rushing them to the hospital, the government treats the problem with band-aid," he said, referring to the tariff reduction.
The Liberal Party President said that if the executive was serious in helping the jeepney and tricycle drivers, the fisherman, or even just the general consumer, the immediate action of suspending the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products must be considered.
"With the rising prices of basic goods like food, oil and electricity, plus the higher costs of transport, a zero tariff on oil is not all that our people need, but also zero VAT," he said.
Roxas stressed that the government should not fear revenue losses as a result of removing the VAT on oil, because the VAT will eventually be collected on other products.
"The government should not be so stingy when it comes to removing the VAT on oil. This is not their money, this is the people's money," he said.

"So far, the executive has not understood that when the VAT on petroleum products is removed, this won't be a complete loss for the government. Why? Because Juan de la Cruz is going to spend his extra savings on other items, which the VAT can be collected from. For example, with one 11-kilo tank of LPG, removing VAT would result in a housewife saving P65. That P65 can then be spent on other items in the grocery or department store to buy other needs, which have VAT on them," he explained.

"If the government is going to use the money for things that won't help us anyway, it would be better for each person to do the spending," he added.

Friday, May 23, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Text MAR2010 ON 2330


Now, here comes another innovation brought to you by TxtBuzz.Com:

Sign up to Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog to receive text messages on your phone by texting MAR2010 ON to 2330.

By signing up, you can expect periodic updates from the campaign as well as important updates about Senator Roxas. We value your privacy and will not share your information outside the system. Every message you receive will charge you P1 from your current cellphone account balance. The good thing here is that, you can still receive our messages even if you have no cellphone load!

You can text MAR2010 OFF to 2330 to quit from the service, or call 09197108426 for help. P1 service charge applies.

ORAS NA! SUBSCRIBE NA!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 | posted in , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Use of local language in primary education sought by Sen. Mar Roxas

Senator Mar Roxas wants the use of the local language in the primary school as he seeks to increase the number of years for basic education from 10 to 12.

In a bid to improve the Philippine education system, Roxas filed Tuesday Senate Bill 2249 or the Omnibus Education Reform Act.

We need to fix our educational system to promote social justice and better opportunities for the Filipino youth,” he said.

This is the best way to catch up with our neighbors that have long made wise and huge investments in their own educational system.” Roxas said in a statement.
The bill seeks the use of the Philippine language as a medium of instruction for Grades 1 to 3, saying studies have shown early education in the native language is more effective.

The proposed measure also mandates the increase from 10 to 12 the number of years in the basic education in consonance with international standards.

Roxas noted that at present, only 65 out of 100 Grade 1 students will be able to complete elementary education. Of these, only 43 can finish high school.

Most of those who are able to graduate from high school have no mastery in English, Science and Mathematics, he said.

Roxas attributed this to many factors, including the low appropriation for the education sector, which currently receives three percent of the gross national product.

Roxas: Oil VAT suspension win-win solution for transport, consumers

Senator Mar Roxas described the proposed zero value-added tax (VAT) on oil as a "win-win" solution to the woes of the transport sector and of consumers alike due to the sky-high prices of petroleum products.

"Kung gusto ng gobyerno ng 'win-win' na solusyon, suportahan na nito ang pagtanggal ng VAT sa langis. Agad na makikinabang dito ang parehong tsuper at pasahero, kaya hindi ko alam kung bakit ipinagdaramot pa rin ito (If the government wants a 'win-win' solution, then it must immediately support the removal of VAT on oil. Both jeepney driver and commuter stand to immediately benefit from this)," he said.

"The disposable incomes of our people continue to shrink due to the high cost of food, oil, energy and their other daily needs. If we don't heed this cry for immediate relief, our economy is in danger of slowing down," he stressed.
Roxas said this, as he criticized the government for its incoherent policy in issuing a provisional fare hike order, only to hold it back a few hours afterwards.

"Hindi magandang urong-sulong ang pamahalaan sa panahon ng krisis. Umasa ang ating mga tsuper, kinabahan naman ang ating mga pasahero. Sa huli, hindi nakatulong ang gobyerno (The government should not be indecisive in times of crisis. They made our jeepney drivers expectant and our commuters anxious. In the end, the government was not able to help either)," he added.

"What is a fair solution? It is for government to assume the responsibility of fixing its finances without having to unjustly burden our transport sector and our consumers as a result of this VAT on oil," he said.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce noted that the government is already on the right track with its decision to study whether to suspend, reduce or eliminate altogether the 12% VAT on oil and energy.

"That's a big leap from its original stance for an automatic rejection of any proposal to touch the VAT law. Ultimately, they have to heed the clamor of the people for the suspension of the VAT on oil as a way to keep the political and economic environment stable," he said.

"I call on the House to bring the matter to the table and start hearing all positions, especially that of our consumers," he added.
He noted that while the Senate has already started deliberations on bills seeking to suspend or remove VAT on oil and energy, it could not move forward until the House approves its own tax measures.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog goes mobile!

I am glad to announce that the Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog is now available on your cellphones courtesy of MoFuse.Com, short for Mobile Fusion, which gives content publishers, like bloggers, the ability to publish their content to the mobile web! Sign up NOW to receive blog updates and stay on top of the latest news straight to your cellphone.

ORAS NA!






Sunday, May 18, 2008 | posted in , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Jehzeel Laurente nominates Mar Roxas 2010 Blog as one of the emerging influential blogs of 2008

I would like to thank Jehzeel Laurente of Jehzlau Concepts for nominating this blog as one of his Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008, a writing project initiated by Ma'am Janette Toral to identify new and emerging blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2008. These are blogs that started anytime from July 1, 2007 to the present. This blog started last July 29, 2007, thus it's very qualified for the search!

If you are a blogger and you think that this blog is worthy of being named as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008, then check out the Influential Blogger blog for more details.

I would also like to thank again Filipinayzd and Flowell for nominating this blog.

ORAS NA!

Roxas to PGMA: Full disclosure needed on ZTE visit in Shenzen, China

Senator Mar Roxas called on President Arroyo to address the people and tell the truth about her trip to Shenzhen, China to meet with ZTE Corp. officials in November of 2006, a few months before the government decided to award the contract for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to ZTE.

Roxas, one of the co-chairs of the Senate probe into the ZTE-NBN controversy, reminded President Arroyo that all public officials are bound by 'delicadeza' not to meet or hobnob with prospective suppliers or other interested parties in government projects while contracts are still pending.

"Out of delicadeza and to protect the integrity and dignity of her office, the President should have avoided such a social visit knowing fully well that a multi-million supply contract was up for consideration by the NEDA Board which she chairs," he said.
The Liberal Party President advised Palace executives not to brush aside the meeting simply as a 'private social meeting,' especially as the Office of the President is imbued with the highest public interest.

"All official activities of the President are imbued with public interest and subject to full transparency, unless they involve sensitive matters of national security, which was not the case in the Shenzhen visit," he said.
Roxas explained that at the heart of this controversy—marred by allegations of corruption and bribery—is the decision of the NEDA-ICC to shift its procurement preference for the NBN, from build-operate-transfer to a straight-out government loan.

"Until now, we are still awaiting the Supreme Court's decision regarding our petition to release of the NEDA-ICC documents so we could see what magic happened there. The President must explain directly the agenda and nature of her trip to Shenzhen otherwise this social encounter might be misconstrued as the reason behind the sudden shift from a BOT project to a supply contract with a sovereign guarantee," he stressed.

"Nakakalungkot na ang Pangulo pa mismo ang dumalaw sa headquarters ng ZTE Corp. sa Tsina. Kahit na sabihin pang 'social meeting' lang ito, mahirap namang may ibang standard ang Pangulo at mas mahigpit na standard sa mga nasa mababang posisyon ng pamahalaan," he added.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Make us one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008

The Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog is not only "campaigning" to people to urge Senator Mar Roxas to run for President (and you bet who's gonna be the Philippine President in 2010) but also "campaigning" to be one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008. We need your support! If you have a blog in Blogger, Wordpress, Friendster, Multiply, LiveJournal, TypePad or any other blogging platforms, please do vote for our blog as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008.

The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008 search was initiated by Ma'am Janette Toral to give citation and recognition to blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2008. These are blogs that started anytime from July 1, 2007 to the present (this blog started last July 29, 2007). They are gradually gaining a considerable amount of readership and influence.

I would also like to thank Filipinayzd and Flowell for nominating this blog.

IS THIS BLOG QUALIFIED?
That's a big YES! I can all assure you for that! Below are the blog qualifications needed in order to be one of the nominees:

1.) The Blog or website owner profile and e-mail is accessible or visible online.

2.) Old blogs who move to a new domain are disqualified. (The blog is still hosted by Blogger).

3.) Blogs who remove their archives just to fit in the cut-off date are disqualified. (The blog started last July 29, 2007).

WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN?
1.) Get link love.
2.) Meet bloggers.
3.) Receive traffic (especially to those who join early on) from current and prospective participants.
4.) You will also be supporting a worthy purpose of spotting and promoting new blogs that are making great waves out there.
5.) And here's more than that, Ma'am Janette Toral will pick ten writing project entries in random who will get one hundred dollars (US$100) each. Prizes are transmitted via Paypal. Yes, that's one hundred dollars (US$100)!

HOW CAN YOU JOIN?
1.) Write a blog post and pick your choice of 10 (or less) emerging influential blogs.
    • Any blog in the world can be picked.
      • You can update the same post entry up to July 26. However, please inform us of any changes.
    • Old blogs who move to a new domain are disqualified.
    • Blogs who remove their archives just to fit in the cut-off date are disqualified.
2.) Include a link to this post to help spread the word and encourage others to participate.

3.) Post a comment and let them know about your entry. Only one entry per blogger. Cut-off date and time for submission of entries is on July 26, Saturday, 5:00 pm (GMT+9:30). Afterwards, submission of comments in this page shall be closed.

I hope I had explained it for you clearly. If you have still some questions, I would be glad to help you. Please e-mail me at kevinraychua@gmail.com.

Thanks a lot to our blog readers and subscribers who are continuing to give me an inspiration to continue blogging. Together, we can make things possible.

ORAS NA!

Roxas lauds House action on Income Tax break bill

Senator Mar Roxas commended the House of Representatives for rectifying its quorum woes in order to pass a bill giving tax relief to low-wage earners, and said he would push for this to be taken up by the Senate at the soonest possible time.
"We welcome the approval of the House version. I am confident that we will be able to reconcile our versions of the measure. Both the Senate and the House have the same thing in mind—to provide immediate relief for our workers," he said.

"Kahit hindi ito nakaabot sa Labor Day, nananatili itong prayoridad para bigyang ginhawa ang ating mga manggagawa, sa panahong napakataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin," he stressed.
Roxas filed Senate Bill No. 103 in June last year to exempt minimum wage earners from income taxes. Policymakers agreed to prioritize such measure in the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) last April 22, and was targeted to be passed by May 1, Labor Day. He noted that the Constitution requires that all tax measures must emanate from the House.
"This measure has been promised to workers in the past Labor Day celebrations. Now that this tax relief is forthcoming, our workers can now focus on the work of the regional wage boards and the grant of non-wage benefits," he added.
The Liberal Party President noted that while both bills sought to increase take-home pay for low wage earners, the House had adopted a different methodology by increasing personal exemptions for employees in the private sector, while Roxas' bill removes the income tax altogether for minimum wagers.

Happy 51st Birthday Senator Mar Roxas!

Today is Senator Mar Roxas' 51st birthday. Happy Birthday Mr. Palengke!

This birthday is a special one, and not just because he will turn 51. This year, he wouldn't just celebrate turning one year older. Today, he would be celebrating it for having so many people working with him toward the real change that you and I know our country so desperately needs. We have seen him work so hard just to pass the Cheaper Medicines Bill that is direly needed by our fellow citizens even if his critics would try to pin him down.

ORAS NA!

Whether he's in the wet markets to check the prices of the basic commodities or back in the Senate thinking on how to serve our people better, he never forgets why he should be called as Mr. Palengke not only outside but also inside his heart and his mind.

ORAS NA!

Be sure not to forget to send your birthday greetings to mar@marroxas.com and tell him why he should run for President in 2010. We need your voice to convince him that there is a clamor for him to run. Your message really matters.

If you haven't yet signed the online petition to urge Senator Roxas to run for President in 2010, be sure to join us at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/marroxas2010.

If you want to share with us on why you support him for President in 2010, please do make a simple essay together with your photo and send it to kevinraychua@gmail.com and I will include your message of support in Why Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog.

ORAS NA! ROXAS NA!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Cheaper Medicines Bill from Mar Roxas' words

I would like to share to all of our blog readers an e-mail that was forwarded to me by my dear friend Atty. Rissa Ofilada who asked Senator Mar Roxas about his thoughts on the Cheaper Medicines Bill. Here's the e-mail of Senator Roxas to Atty. Rissa:
Dear Rissa,

Hi. This is Mar.

It's been a long day at work, and finally things have quieted down.

On my desk is an old family picture. My dad is there, with my mom, my sister Ria, myself and my brother Dinggoy. For those of you who never knew him, Dinggoy was the real politician among us. He always had a ready handshake and an infectious smile. I remember those days before he became representative of Capiz —I was his campaign manager, dreaming big things with him. But bigger things eluded us because in a strange, tragic twist of fate, Dinggoy died at the age of 32 of cancer.

I'm saying this because I want you to know that my health care advocacy – the Quality Affordable Medicinces bill - was not spun out of thin air. It was never just a Senate bill with a number – it was personal.

I've been fighting for it since 2004, when we first laid the groundwork for the bill. And it has finally been passed. After countless dialogues, proposals and counter-proposals, the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 was ratified by both Houses last April 29. With just one signature to go—the President's—the battle will move on to the proper implementation of this law. A number of people worked hard for this bill and its ratification is a victory for us all.

It is said that we do not own our memories, but our memories own us. My memory of Dinggoy inspired me in this fight for affordable medicines. It will continue to do so as we work for quality education and better governance through transparency, integrity and accountability. I only ask that you support this measure and join me in ensuring that every provision will be implemented correctly.

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this. I have attached a brief summary of what the medicines act seeks to do. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on it, or on any other concern, for that matter.

Thank you again and all the best,

Mar
By the way, the attached file mentioned by Senator Roxas is still on my e-mail and I still have to share it to all of you. It's about the role of Senator Roxas on advocating for cheaper medicines in the Philippines. I'll post that soon...

Sunday, May 11, 2008 | posted in , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Happy Mother's Day!

In behalf of my blog readers and subscribers, I would like to greet everyone a Happy Mother's Day. Today, we honor our heroes we call mother, mama, mom, mommy, inay, nanay and so much more. We thank them for having us in this world.

We would like to extend also our greeting to Mrs. Judy Araneta-Roxas, the mother of our beloved public servant Senator Mar Roxas. Thanks Ma'am Judy for having Mar with us.

Also, I would like to extend my greetings to my one and only mother who supported all my endeavors in life and never bothered to guide me to the right path, Elsa N. Chua. If not for her, this blogger would not be in this world. She's my hero and she's my mother.

Mr. Palengke turns 51 this May 13!

This May 13, 2008, our beloved Senator Mar "Mr. Palengke" Roxas will turn 51. Hmmm... 51 and still single. That's quite interesting now that he has surpassed the golden mark.

Anyways, I urge you to send your birthday greetings for Senator Roxas to mar@marroxas.com and don't forget to tell him that our country needs him more than ever in 2010. We need someone like him to lead the country in the start of the 2nd decade of the 2nd millenium.

To know more about our Mr. Palengke, please read his Wikipedia article.

ORAS NA! BIRTHDAY NA N'YA!

Saturday, May 10, 2008 | posted in , , | 0 comments [ More ]

My Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008

Here's what you've been waiting for!

I, Kevin Ray N. Chua, blogger of Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog, do hereby nominate the blogs listed below in random as the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008 for Ma'am Janette Toral's writing project of identifying new and emerging blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2008:

Bariles Republic - You better read this blog of Avel Manansala! It's all about General Santos, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines and the place of PBB Teen Gerald Anderson, Congresswoman Darlene Antonino-Custodio and the People's Champ Manny Pacquiao.

The Talented Mr. DJ Montano - Let's not deny it! Brian Gorrell's blog is the word of mouth in the Pinoy Blogosphere this 2008. Although I have still no decision on where to side on this issue, I give his blog my nod.

Only in the Philippines - It's just a new blog of Carlo Ople also known as Wauks but the content of his blog is worth reading. It talks about Pinoy politics, trends and technology also. Indeed, it's only in the Philippines.

My Kapalaran - A blog of Michael Cruz talking about his fortune in everyday life. His humor and wit makes me hook on his blog. His blog is definitely emerging from the ground!

Ang Sa Wari Ko - When I stumbled upon this blog, I was curious of what Flowell Galindez is blogging all about. He's working in a popular television station and he has a lot of scoops in his blog about the latest entertainment buzzes. He's also into discussing the current issues that affects him and the country at large. I can't stop coming back to his blog.

IE - Student - Vernon Joseph Go is one of my schoolmates here in Cebu Institute of Technology. His blog is quite interesting not only because he's also a Technologian, but because of his environmental crusade. This environmentalist-industrial-engineering student also talks about things he is interested and his opinions on the current issues.

Filipino Voices - This collaborative blog of Pinoy bloggers who are into politics, news and social commentary is truly an emerging influential blog. I admit that I am one of them but I'm not a member of that blog. I wanted to join but I think it's better to focus on this blog first.

Puzzled Me - 16 year-old Redel Bautista loves watching anime, reading books, listening to music, using computer, playing online games before, writing, editing videos or photos, watching PBB, browsing with mozilla firefox, procrastinating, and multitasking. What I like most in his blog is the PBB updates! I'm also a PBB fan!

Danton Remoto 2010 - Let's support one of the "young turks" of Philippine politics, Danton Remoto for Senator in 2010! Well, I support his advocacy and it would be fascinating to have the first LGBT Senator of the Philippines. That's the Filipino Pride!

Mar Roxas for President in 2010 - I'm nominating this blog because you and I believe that together, we had made something great in the Pinoy blogosphere. Our movement is snowballing and this blog is a trailblazer! No one has ever made a blog like this before. I am also elated by the growing visitors and subscribers of this blog. By July 29, 2008, we will be marking our 1st year anniversary and all of us are celebrating for this success.

Roxas: Four days to go on Petron sale, what's the plan?

Senator Mar Roxas urged the government to consider offers for the purchase of Petron shares while stressing that it has four days left before its "right of first refusal" on the 40% Saudi Aramco stake in Petron Corp. lapses.

"All these offers could have come in earlier had the executive branch been clearer and more transparent on where our strategic interests lie. Until now, we really don't have an energy plan that would indicate how the Petron deal fits in with our oil supply requirements," Roxas pointed out.
He said the government, as represented by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), must be mindful that its decision on the Petron stake comes at a time when there is great uncertainty on the supply and price of oil.

"It has four days left, and the government has to immediately tell the public what it plans to do with its option to buy back the 40% stake of Saudi Aramco in Petron so it can re-sell it to a company that has a stake in the country. Our people deserve to know what the government's plan is and why," he said.

"Whatever the government decides, it must be clear to the public that such decision is in line with the national interest, at this time of skyrocketing oil prices," he added.

"My advocacy is that we ought to get an explanation. This is not just shares of stock from one buyer to another seller. This pertains to a strategically crucial product, oil, and to a company that owns 40% market share in the domestic trade of oil products. So clearly, this is not a simple commercial transaction," he stressed.
The Chairman of the Senate Trade Committee said that the government is not helpless in this planned sale of Saudi Aramco of its Petron stake to Ashmore Ltd. In fact, he said that the "right of first refusal" was put in place so that the government could ensure that the 40% stake in Petron would always be "in friendly hands."

"The point is, the government has yet to explain what it plans to do with this option. They may have very good reasons not to exercise this option, but to date we don't know what these are. And if these 'good reasons' don't exist, we ought to instead exercise this right so we can place this key asset in friendly hands," he said.

"I advocate that the government exercise this right on the 40% Petron shares and sell it to another 'strategic investor,' but it does not mean that the government will have to put money out. As reported, officials have admitted that PNOC can assign its first refusal option to another interested party," he added.
By "friendly hands," Roxas was referring to companies that have access to crude oil—such as those from Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and other oil-producing countries—or who otherwise have petroleum operations. "Friendly hands" could also include Filipino firms, or those which have long-term interest in the Philippines.

Roxas calls for immediate approval of Affordable Medicines law

Senator Mar Roxas urged President Arroyo to immediately sign into law the approved consolidated version of the quality affordable medicines bill so that its implementation can begin.

Roxas, the principal author of the law now known as the "Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008," said he is puzzled why the signing of the law has yet to take place nearly a week after it was ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives—despite President Arroyo's declared support for it.
"We were able to pass the law before Labor Day as the legislature's gift to the people. I am puzzled that nothing has happened since and as of yesterday, we have yet to be informed about the date for its signing," he said.
He noted the concern voiced by Health Undersecretary Alex Padilla that some multinational firms might attempt to slow down the process of turning the affordable medicines measure into law as a means of preserving their profits.
"We all know that the President has been very supportive of this bill and so I am a bit perplexed as to why its signing has been delayed for nearly a week now," Roxas said.
He noted that the President only has three options whenever a bill is on her table: to sign it into law, to veto it or to just let it lapse into law. "It would be unfortunate if she just lets the Affordable Medicines Bill lapse into law."

The Liberal Party President reiterated his call for the Department of Health to convene an Affordable Medicines Summit in anticipation of the approval of the long-awaited law.
"We need a clear roadmap for implementation that already contains the inputs of the different sectors," the senator said, adding that this should be followed by an intensive public awareness campaign on the benefits of the new law.
He also called on the executive branch to exercise moral courage and political will in ensuring the proper implementation of the forthcoming affordable medicines law.

Rice crisis a direct threat to Food-For-School recipients, Roxas says

Senator Mar Roxas expressed dismay that over 20,000 grade school students in Eastern Visayas will now stop receiving rice allocations under the food-for-school program of the Department of Education due to the worsening rice crisis.
"The food-for-school program has been successful in improving nutrition and reducing drop-out rates among school children. It is extremely worrisome that the rice crisis now poses a direct threat to the viability of this education program," Roxas said.

"While the government is harping on its rice access card program, what we don't know is that it's also cutting funding for other programs. It is giving rice cards to poor families in Metro Manila while taking away rice allocations that would keep poor children in school in the poorest provinces of the country. We're taking away food from one mouth to put in another. Rice access cards program are under DSWD and DA while the food-for-school program is under DepEd. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?" he said.
The Liberal Party President said things are bound to get worse before they get better, considering the failed auction of the National Food Authority (NFA) where only one bidder showed up.

Roxas said the failed bid forced the NFA to admit that there was a "tightness of supply" in the world market. He added that this should serve as a fair warning to government to consider long-term solutions to the rice problem.
"First, admit that there is a problem. Secondly, come up with a concrete plan that includes both short-term and long-term solutions to solve the problem. Ang problema, sa unang hakbang pa lang ay hindi na tayo nagpakatotoo," Roxas lamented.
Roxas urged the executive branch to cut public expenditures in other areas in order to sustain the government's food-for-school program.
"Officials serving in the boards of government-controlled and -operated corporations should make the supreme sacrifice of giving up some of their perks as a sacrifice for the country. We can also look into restoring a four-day work week in government so we could save on energy costs," he said.

"More importantly, the revenue collection agencies should increase their collections. Let's do what needs to be done to keep these poor children in school," he said.
The Senate Trade Committee Chairman is also for the expansion of the food-for-work program, where poor families are harnessed to help in their communities. He has misgivings about a rice rationing system, such as the rice access cards, because it could be susceptible to politicking.

I need contributors for our upcoming grassroots blogs

I would like to call all bloggers out there and also to those who are not, who are for Mar Roxas for President in 2010, to be a contributor of our upcoming grassroots blogs. I had already finished registering the URLs of the several grassroots blogs that would cover all the Philippine provinces and some special groups like the Women, Kids, Students, Workers, Filipinos Abroad and LGBTs.

In these grassroots blog, you can post on why you support this draft campaign, post pictures on your community supporting Mar Roxas for President in 2010, your thoughts about Mar Roxas, and several things that you could come up in mind.

My target date for the grassroots blogs to be launched will be this May 25, 2008.

If you are not a blogger and you're willing to be a contributor, please do e-mail me at kevinraychua@gmail.com and I'll tell you how to join.

Through this grassroots effort, we can build this movement together!

ORAS NA! ROXAS NA!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Filipinayzd nominates Mar Roxas 2010 Blog as one of the emerging influential blogs of 2008

I would like to thank Filipinayzd for nominating this blog as one of her Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008, a writing project initiated by Ma'am Janette Toral to identify new and emerging blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2008. These are blogs that started anytime from July 1, 2007 to the present. This blog started last July 29, 2007, thus it's very qualified for the search!

If you are a blogger and you think that this blog is worthy of being named as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008, then check out the Influential Blogger blog for more details.

I will also be posting my bets for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2008 within this week, so stay tuned! As of now, I still have 3 blogs on the list...

Roxas: Medicines bill also seeks improved drug quality, access

Senator Mar Roxas stressed that the newly-passed law— awaiting the President’s signature— does not only seek to lower prices of medicines but also seek to make these more accessible to consumers and to ensure their quality.
If medicines indeed become cheap but we do not ensure their quality, then we’re not protecting the patient in the end,” the principal author of the law, now known as the “Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act,” said.

Same case with access: it’s useless if medicines are cheap but patients can’t find them in the drugstores,” the Senate Trade Committee chairman added.
Roxas said that as the law seeks to allow the “parallel importation” of medicines, it would also necessitate the strengthening of the government agency regulating the quality of medicines—the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD)—to ensure quality of medicines being imported and the safety of the public.
We are beefing up the BFAD by allowing it to retain all its revenues—instead of it going back to the national treasury—so that it can upgrade all its facilities, equipment and personnel. This is roughly P150 million more spending on the safety of consumers,” he said.

By ensuring a higher standard of quality for both generic and branded drugs, the consumer can be more confident in purchasing less well-known but equally effective brands of medicines. Kailangan ito para maging kampante ang konsyumer, at para mawala na ang haka-haka na mas mabisa ang mahal na gamot,” he added.
The Liberal Party President meanwhile stressed that all efforts to ensure the affordability and quality of medicines will be for naught if these will not be accessible in the end.
That is why the law contains a ‘non-discriminatory clause,’ which prohibits drug stores from refusing to sell particular brands or kinds of drugs, including those sourced from parallel importation. Drug stores are also required to display these drugs with equal prominence,” he said.

Sa bansa natin, ang industriya ng gamot ay kontrolado ng iilan: mula sa manufacturing, sa wholesaling at hanggang sa retail. Kung pababayaan ito ay puwedeng mahadlangan ang access sa mga mas murang gamot,” he added.
To lower the prices of medicines, the law seeks to strengthen competition in the local pharmaceutical market by allowing the parallel importation of more affordable medicines, and by helping the development of the local generics industry. The law also grants the President the power to impose price ceilings on various drugs.

Roxas reiterates call for special ASEAN Rice Summit

Senator Mar Roxas reiterated his call for the Department of Foreign Affairs to formally propose a special ASEAN Leaders' Summit on Rice and Food Security in light of the impending creation of an Asian rice cartel known as OREC or Organization of Rice Exporting Countries led by Thailand.

Roxas, chair of the Senate trade and commerce committee, said the ASEAN must move as one in helping secure regional food security in light of soaring oil and rice prices.

"Neglecting to act as a regional bloc amid a rice and food crisis can raise doubts in the minds of other world leaders on ASEAN's determination to pursue economic integration," Roxas stressed.

"Before OREC is institutionalized, the ASEAN community must weigh in as a regional bloc to obtain trade privileges with its fellow members in keeping with the ASEAN spirit," Roxas said, adding that it would be unfortunate if the ASEAN bloc where the two biggest rice exporting countries in the world are members of, could not forge a common agenda on rice and food security.

He noted that the countries that would initially comprise OREC are all ASEAN members. According to the Thai government, four countries, namely, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed in principle to form a rice price-fixing cartel similar to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The senator said that even if Vietnam and Thailand have agreed to accept the Philippines' order for 1.2 million metric tons, the government should still confirm whether such shipments are iron-clad despite the formation of OREC.

"We need to see the bill of particulars governing these orders to check whether there are fixed dates for delivery and a firm, iron-clad commitment to meet the order," Roxas added.

Senator Roxas recommends that the DFA seek a briefing from the Thai Embassy on how the creation of an OREC would affect rice importing countries such as the Philippines.

"Given the cordial relations between and among the Philippines and these five ASEAN countries, we should take a more proactive role in clarifying the role of OREC and whether it is prepared to give concessions to fellow ASEAN members," Roxas said.

Manny Villar doubts effectiveness of Mar Roxas' cheaper medicines bill

As Senator Mar Roxas said, the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Bill is a major step in providing affordable quality health care.

But wait a minute...

Well, well, well... Here goes Senate President Manny Villar again taking a jab at Senator Mar Roxas on the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Bill. I wonder why only now Manny Villar made that reaction. I never heard him talking in support 'for' the House version before. I think he's really looking at Mar Roxas as his biggest rival in the 2010 Presidential elections.

To know more about the bill, go ahead and read the Cheaper Medicines Bill Primer.

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