Roxas searches for life's meaning in presidency

I'm sharing to you an article with a video interview made by Inquirer to Senator Mar Roxas about his run for President in 2010. Below is the article and video made available to you by this blog:

Nothing can stop Senator Manuel Roxas II from running for President in 2010.

"What other meaning can my life have other than that?" said Roxas during a dinner with Inquirer editors and reporters in which he categorically declared that he would pursue the presidency.

"I am ready to serve. I am prepared to make it happen. I think I'm the best qualified, competence-wise, value-wise. And I owe it to my country to try what I can and fix it," said the 54-year-old senator.

Roxas, grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas, said it would be a great disservice to the Filipino people if he did not offer himself as a presidential candidate.

He said people should be given a chance to pick him, saying: "What higher calling can there be than try to fix your country?"

Roxas was not disheartened by his low ratings in the surveys--he ranked fifth in the Social Weather Stations survey of presidential preference in February.

"May 2010," he said, when asked by Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc at what point he would throw in the towel and just support a candidate who would put this country back on track.

Roxas, president of the Liberal Party, said the single most important element in the presidency was trust.

"One way of analyzing the ills of the country is there's no trust -- every man for himself. People in fact trust the reverse. They don't trust that if I fell in line, and followed the rules and did what's right, then I will get ahead," he said.

"For me to get ahead, I must make suhol (give bribes), I must make singit (budget insertions) and I must find a different way. That has become the most corrosive, dangerous development--the acceptance that that's a fact of life here. If you have that, you really have a broken society," he said.

He said a system abetting corruption and "subterfuges," and where "having connections is the norm" was not a democracy.

"You just have the elite back--scratching each other and protecting each other's interest. The elite screwed us up over the last four generations."

Told that he was part of the country’s elite, he replied, "But my record, my father's record and grandfather's record speak for itself. It's not like at anytime they stole or took advantage of their position, or in any way used their position to enlarge their economic interests," said Roxas.

The influential Roxas clan owns the Araneta center and vast tracts of land in Capiz. In fact, Roxas City, provincial capital of Capiz province was named after the clan's patriarch.

"Why is it that Cubao is only doing call centers today when I was the guy who started it? Because as the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry secretary), I'm the guy who awarded eco-zone status, which means no tax and (you have) incentives. And Cubao was not allowed to apply with PEZA," said Roxas, who was concurrently chair of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority at the time.

When he was DTI chief in 2000, Roxas developed, conceptualized and wrote the PEZA rules that now grant incentives such as duty-free importation of capital equipment to IT locators and businesses.

Roxas said he didn't allow it so as not to be accused of conflict of interest.

When he saw that office spaces in Metro Manila were empty as an offshoot of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the then trade secretary harnessed the potential of the country as a global electronic-services hub.

He then launched "Make IT (information technology) Philippines" and organized the first IT-enabled services to the US which inevitably led to the biggest global industry names to invest in the country, thereby creating 400,000 jobs for call center agents and Filipino IT workers.

Roxas also said that last year, he raised $3 million from the private sector to fund a McKenzie study to take the industry to the next stage.

"The industry needs a new strategic plan that was credible... to pay for a professional business development team that will continue to keep the Philippine present in the international arena," he said.

Roxas finished economics at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. Before entering public service, he worked as an investment banker in the US.

He began his public service life in the House of Representatives in 1993.

After his congressional stint, he was appointed secretary of trade by then President Joseph Estrada, and was re-appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In 2004, he won a Senate seat with 19.5 million votes, the largest ever obtained by a candidate in any Philippine election.

Roxas said he began to see "how lucky I am" while in the US.

A Cuban friend, Roberto Goizueta, asked him about then strongman Ferdinand Marcos' decree to hold snap elections in 1986. Goizueta was then the chair of Coca-Cola Corp. based in Atlanta, Georgia.

"What are you doing? Marcos declared elections." Goizueta asked.

When Roxas retorted that he would go home and find work, the Cuban said: "I am Cuban. I have no country to go back to. You have a chance to do something for your country. It's a real story that reminds me what else is there. I've been very lucky in my life," he said.

He recalled his late father, Gerry, a former senator, teaching him about "deep sense of duty and responsibility to give back."

"You were born with a ladder. So after you climbed your ladder, don't pull it up. You have to leave it there to allow others to come up," he said, recalling Gerry's favorite metaphor for public service.

Thursday, April 30, 2009 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas probes anomalous food program for schoolkids

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today hit the Department of Education for manipulating its bidding requirements to accommodate a favored contractor in its Food-For-School Program that would have benefited hundreds of thousands of indigent pre-school and Grade one students nationwide.
"Isusubo na lang, ninanakaw pa (It’s like stealing from the babe’s mouth)," fumed Roxas, chairman of the Senate committee on education investigating the alleged rigging in the bidding process and the award of close to P1 billion to the same company for the past three years for the supply of sub-standard noodles from Vietnam.

"Huwag nating pabayaan ang mga bata. Lumaban tayo (Let’s find those behind this scheme to cheat our own children. Let’s fight for our children’s welfare)," he stressed.
He noted reports that instant noodles acquired by the Department of Education from JEVERPS Manufacturing Corp. were without additional nutritional value and costs double than what is found in the local market.

JEVERPS have been supplying the instant noodles requirement of the DepEd’s School-Feeding program for since 2006, or for three years now.

In his testimony before Roxas’ committee yesterday, businessman Prudencio Quido Jr. claimed that the DepEd rigged the bidding for "fortified noodles with fresh eggs" in 2007 and “fortified noodles with fresh eggs and malunggay” in 2009 that JEVERPS Manufacturing Corp. won without competition.
"Surprisingly, while these projects were bid out and biddings were actually conducted, there was only one participating bidder/supplier which has been favored at the very outset and this is JEVERPS and no other," Quido said in a sworn affidavit submitted to Roxas’ committee.
Roxas filed Senate Resolution No. 985 to investigate the DepEd’s purchase of 15 million packets of instant noodles costing P284 million for almost 800,000 pre-school and Grade 1 students nationwide.

Quido told Roxas that the government could have lost P170 million in 2007 and another P251 million in 2009 because of the following anomalies in the bidding process:
  • While noodles bought in the local market cost only P4.50 for every 55-g packets, the DepEd bought each pack of noodles from JEVERPS P18.00 for every 100-g packet be cause it allegedly contained “fresh egg.”In this year’s school feeding program, the DepEd allegedly plans to buy each packet of noodle for P22.00 for every 100-g packet because it allegedly contain "fresh eggs and malunggay."
  • The bidding was designed to favor only one company, JEVERPS, because no other local company packs noodles for 100 grams a piece.
  • There was mislabeling of the noodle packs because it claims that each pack contains "fresh egg" a violation of the "terms of reference" that the DepEd imposed in the bidding for the 2007 at 2009 programs.
  • Laboratory tests showed the noodle packs actually contained only powdered egg instead of “fortified noodles with fresh egg” in the 2007 program.
  • There is no adequate supply of malunggay so each of the 15 million packs of noodles that will be supplied by JEVERPS in 2009 could contain it as required by DepEd.
  • JEVERPS has no “license to operate” from the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD).

Senator Roxas and Korina Sanchez vows help to Fernandez quintuplets

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today committed to provide financial assistance and to help purchase antibiotic drugs for the treatment of the Fernandez quintuplets, two of whom remain in critical condition, at the neo-Intensive Care Unit of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

Roxas and fiancee Korina Sanchez visited the quintuplets and their parents Lorita and Gary Fernandez at the JRMMC, to whom they pledged assistance for their hospital bills. The couple likewise stood as primary sponsors during the baptism of the newly-born babies at the hospital
"Nagpunta po kami dito para magbigay ng tulong pinansiyal nang sa gayon ay magka-access sa gamot ang mag-asawang Fernandez. Napakamahal ng gamot na kailangan ng kanilang mga anak at nais nating matulungan ang mag-asawa," Roxas said.

He promised to facilitate and pay for the Surfactan injectibles requirement of the quintuplets, which JRMMC acting Director Emmanuel Montana said was necessary for the complete development of the babies' lungs.

Fr. Tony Labiao from the St. Peter Parish in Quezon City baptized the babies at the NICU, where two of the babies share an incubator. The babies were baptized Korina Ysabel, Maria Loralaine, Melodie Frances, Sarah Erika and Wenna Mavinia.

Roxas said he was awed when he learned that Lorita and Gary named two of their babies after him and Sanchez after watching the noontime show "Wowowee" where the senator and the broadcaster first confirmed their engagement.
"Magandang surpresa po sa amin na malamang pinangalanang Korina at Maria ang dalawa sa limang bata. Natuwa ang puso namin kaya kami nagpunta dito," Roxas said.
He added: "Kami po ay nagbibigay ng moral support at siyempre, iba pang suporta, sa mag-asawang sina Lori at Gary. Malaking tagumpay ang nakamit nila nung ipinanganak ang kanilang mga babies, 5 in 1 ito."

Sanchez vowed moral support for the Fernandez family, saying: "Ngayong ninong at ninang na kami, hanggang katandaan na ito."

Lorita Fernandez was in tears as she expressed her gratitude to the couple and to the other Good Samaritans who have been visiting her at the hospital, pledging and giving support - financial and others - for the quintuplets.
"Maraming, maraming, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng tumutulong sa amin, lalo na po kay Senador Mar at kay Ms. Korina sa pagdalaw nila sa akin at sa pagpayag na maging ninong at ninang ng aming mga anak," she said.

Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee

As what I had just shared you yesterday, Senator Mar Roxas and Ms. Korina Sanchez were in Wowowee with the show's host Willie Revillame. Roxas and Sanchez shared their love story to all the people. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to saw it on TV because of the brownout that hit Cebu for almost 6 hours so I was lucky to find an online video of that episode, thanks to Carlo Ople who made a blog post earlier than this.

On that episode also, Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee confirmed their engagement. Below are the exclusive video of Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee:

Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee tomorrow

I knew what Willie Revillame meant when he said last Thursday that Ms. Korina Sanchez will be in Wowowee this Saturday, April 25. I suspected that Korina can't go alone without Senator Mar Roxas, right? So, it became clearer when Willie announced in his show today that indeed Ms. Sanchez will be co-hosting the Willie of Fortune segment which will feature those who are getting married this year. That one rang the bell on my head!

It's now confirmed! I have received an email to watch Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee tomorrow.

Will the marriage proposal happen in Wowowee tomorrow?

Join me to find out about Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez on Wowowee tomorrow. Let's see what happens on that day.

Roxas, party land safely in Pampaga ricefield after an hour of zero visibility

A five-seater helicopter bearing Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas this morning landed safely in a rice field in Barangay Arenas in Arayat, Pampanga after an hour of zero visibility and struggle to avoid clouds and Mt. Arayat.

The senator left the Manila Domestic Airport at 8 a.m. aboard the five-seater chopper. His chopper was expected to land at Hacienda Luisita at around 8:40 a.m. but thick clouds due to bad weather obstructed the pilot's view of the landing area. At about 9:30 a.m., the pilot found an opening in the thick clouds and landed his helicopter safely in a rice field in Barangay Arenas near Mt. Arayat.

A good Samaritan local resident, Dennis Sula, helped the senator travel to Tarlac City, where he was scheduled to address graduates of the Tarlac State University (TSU) as Guest of Honor and Speaker during their commencement exercises. He arrived more than 2-hours late for the 9 a.m. graduation rites.

"Ayaw kong ma-disappoint ang mga estudyante ng Tarlac State University kaya ginawan namin ng paraan na makarating ako sa inyong graduation. Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga Good Samaritans na tumulong sa akin na makarating dito," Roxas told students in his speech.
Praising the good Samaritan who assisted him and his party upon their safe landing, Roxas said: "Talagang ang mga Pilipino ay may magagandang loob at laging handang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan."
"It reinforces my faith in the Filipino," he added.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 | posted in , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas: SC ruling on party-list reps lessens powers of trapos

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said the Supreme Court (SC) decision increasing the number of available party-list seats at the House of Representatives has virtually weakened the power of traditional politicians over the legislative system.
"The SC decision is good for the representative democracy as it gives more chance for groups to be heard. Thus, the trapos' (traditional politicians) dominance over the system is lessened," he said.
He said political issues, such as the controversial Charter Change through an illegal constituent assembly, could now take the backburner while peoples' interests and concerns take center stage at the House plenary.
"Mahalagang matutukan natin ang interes ng taumbayan higit sa interes pampulitikal ng mga trapo, ng mga opisyal na walang kurap na tatalikuran ang kanilang mga kababayan kapalit ng kanilang mga personal na ambisyon," the Visayan senator said.
At the same time, Roxas said the ruling would correct the existing formula on the number of party-list representatives who could take their seats. From the present 238 House members, the number would increase to 270 after the high court ruling that that all 55 seats for party-list groups should be filled up.
"The Constitution only says 1/5 is minimum reserved for party lists. So the 50 is the 1/5 if there are only 200 geographic districts. But now there are 219 such districts. So necessarily, the 1/5 of the new members will increase beyond 50," he said.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas: AFP launches info drive among soldiers on Legacy scam

The Armed Forces of the Philippines leadership has began an information dissemination drive among its field officers to inform them of the fund mess that Celso de los Angeles' Legacy group is involved in, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas said today.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, said the move would give soldiers the chance to recover their hard-earned investments in the Legacy-owned Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc. (SPPI).
"Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Gen. Alexander Yano sa tulong na ibinigay niya sa aking opisina upang ipaalam sa ating mga sundalo kung ano na ang estado ngayon ng mga pre-need plans na binili nila mula sa Legacy (I would like to thank Gen. Yano for helping us inform our soldiers in the field about the status of their pre-need plans bought from Legacy)," he said.
The Armed Forces and Police Savings Loan Association (AFPSLAI) said more than 12,000 of its members are planholders of SPPI's educational, pension and memorial plans, with a total investments of more than P300 million.
"Hindi natin pababayaan ang ating mga sundalo at kapulisan na niloko din nitong si Celso de los Angeles. Tutulungan ko silang habulin si Celso hanggang maibalik sa kanila ang mga pinaghirapan nilang pera (I will never turn my back on our soldiers and policemen who were duped by Celso de los Angeles. I will help them run after Celso until they get back the monies they have invested in Legacy)," the Visayan senator said.
He lamented that the government, until now, has not lifted a finger to help victims of Legacy's illegal pyramiding scheme,
"Hanggang ngayon ay wala pa rin tayong nakikita mula sa Office of the President, mula sa Pangulo mismo, para parusahan ang mga opisyal na nagkamali o nakipagkuntsabahan para magawa ng Legacy at ni Celso de los Angeles ang panlolokong ito. Walang utos na ibinibigay sa sa DOJ para maisampa na ang mga kaso, walang mga sinisibak sa pwesto na mga at walang tulong na nakukuha ang mga kawawa nating kababayang niloko ni Celso (Until now we have not seen any action from the Office of the President, or from the president herself, to punish the officials who have erred or who connived with Legacy and Celso de los Angeles for him to be able to carry out this grand scam. There is no existing order for the DOJ to file cases and there is no dismissal order for anyone)," he noted.
He added: "Pero kahit na wala tayong makitang hustisya mula sa pamahalaang ito, hindi tayo susuko, lalaban tayo. (But even while justice seems slippery, we will not give up, we will carry on.)"

He vowed to run after De los Angeles until all the investments made by his planholders have been returned.
"Kung ang akala ng mga nasa kapangyarihan ay mapapagod na lang tayo at hahayaang mamatay ang isyung ito, nagkakamali sila. Hinding hindi tayo susuko hanggang makamit ng taumbayan ang katarungan. Lalaban tayo! (If those in power think our interest on this is short-lived and that eventually the whole thing would die a natural death, then they are wrong. I will never give up until I get justice for our people. I will fight for them)," he said.
Yano has written the senator to inform him that radio messages have been sent to "all the major services and other subordinate commands/units nationwide in order to widely disseminate" information about the dissolution of Legacy's pre-need firms.
"The leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines deeply appreciates your concern for all the affected soldiers, especially those who are serving in the field and unaware of the implications of their inaction regarding their claims as plan holders of the said company," he said in his letter dated April 13.
He added the senator's move "means a lot to the financial needs of the concerned soldiers and will certainly uplift their morale to further serve our country."

Roxas has asked Yano to help inform soldiers in the field about the closure of the Legacy pre-need firms and the deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the filing of claims against De los Angeles' companies.

It was detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin who called the senator's attention to the plight of the soldiers, saying that thousands of AFP officers like himself have bought SPPI shares as early as 1999 while they were assigned in various camps throughout the country.

Roxas: 12,000 soldiers and cops victimized by Celso de los Angeles' Legacy

More than 12,000 uniformed personnel are among the victims of the dubious pre-need plans of controversial businessman Celso de los Angeles' Legacy group of companies, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas yesterday revealed as he announced the resumption on Monday morning of the Senate inquiry in the status of the pre-need industry.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate committee trade and commerce, said the total pre-need payments made by soldiers and police officers through mandatory salary deduction amounted to P317,556,356.
"Kawawa naman ang ating mga sundalo at kapulisan. Pati sila ay hindi pinatawad nitong ganid na si Celso de los Angeles (I pity our soldiers and police officers. This greedy Celso de los Angeles did not even spare them)," he said.

"Tutulungan ko silang mabawi ang mga perang ibinayad nila sa Legacy para sana sa edukasyon ng kanilang mga anak at sa kanilang mga retirement. Kasama nila ako sa labang ito (I will help them get their monies back, monies intended for the education of their children and for their retirement. I am with them in this fight)," he added.
Roxas said data submitted by the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AFPSLAI) showed that 12,047 soldiers and police officers paid monthly premiums for their Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc (SPPI) policies through AFPSLAI.

It seems that AFPSLAI secured education pre-need plans for its members through the Legacy Group and collected payment through salary deduction.

AFPSLAI Executive Vice President and General Manager Lt. Gen. (ret.) Christie B. Datu, in a letter-response to Roxas, said their office has yet to finish segregating how many of the total affected personnel came from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and how many from the Philippine National Police.
"Rest assured that we will assist our affected members in filing their claims with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)," Datu said.
Detained Col. Ariel Querubin had written the Visayan senator and informed him that thousands of soldiers had bought SPPI claims through monthly payments made through AFPSLAI. Querubin bought his SPPI plan when he was assigned to the Sofronio Espanola camp in Southern Palawan in 1999.

Roxas reiterates position on P200-M PDAF

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today formally reiterated his decision not to avail this year of his P200 million Philippine Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) annual allocation that, since late 2005, Malacanang has not released anyway.

In a letter to Sen. Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, Roxas said he would not avail of his PDAF "in light of the need to allocate more resources for emergency programs to deal with the effects of the global financial crisis."

Roxas said he hopes his PDAF allocation would be used instead by the national government for programs that would help alleviate the living conditions of the poor and on enhancing education and healthcare services to the people.
"Certainly, we continue to hope and be vigilant that the public coffers be used solely for the welfare and benefit of our people, and not for partisan political activities," he added.
Roxas had earlier suggested to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that his PDAF share be allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry for small and micro-lending facilities to generate more small and medium businesses which will fuel the economy in the rural areas and generate more employment in this time of crisis.

He also suggested that additional funding be given to the Department of Agriculture’s rice and fertilizer programs to help farmers cope with inflation and to ensure food security.

Malacañang has not released the PDAF allocation for Roxas and other opposition senators and congressmen since 2005 when the "Hello Garci" controversy linking Mrs. Arroyo to cheating in the 2004 presidential elections erupted and the Liberal Party, which Roxas heads, withdrew its support for the President.

Roxas: Police mishandling Failon case

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today took the police to task for mishandling its investigation into the case of broadcaster Ted Failon, particularly in the manhandling of Failon’s sister-in-law and others police accused of obstruction of justice.
"Nakiki-simpatiya ako kay Ted Failon at sa kanyang mga kaanak na kinailangang dumaan sa psychological torture na ito habang nagluluksa sila sila sa pagkamatay ng kanyang asawang si Trina. Nakakahiya at nakakainis na ganito na ka-bastos ang mga pulis natin (I sympathize with Ted Failon and his family who have to go through this psychological torture in the midst of their grief for the death of his wife Trina. This is a shame and it is irritating to see how rude our police are)," Roxas said.
Roxas said the police violated the rights of Failon’s sister-in-law Pamela Arteche and house maids Wilfreda Bollicer and Carlota Morbos, driver Glen Pulan and houseboy Pacifico Apacible who were arrested yesterday allegedly for obstruction of justice.
"Kitang-kita ng publiko kung gaano kagaspang ang ugali ng mga pulis na umaresto sa kanila. Bastusan na ba talaga ang sistema natin ngayon? (The public saw how roughly our police handled Ted and the others accused by the police. Is the system really as bad as this?)" Roxas fumed.
He said that while it was imperative that the truth behind the tragic incident be found out at the soonest time, the maltreatment of Failon’s relatives casts doubts on the reliability of the police investigation into the case.
"Alam ng lahat kung gaano katindi bumanat si Ted sa mga nasa gobyerno, lalo na ang mga pulis na corrupt. Nagdududa na tuloy ang marami na tina-target si Ted ng mga awtoridad sa imbestigasyong ito (Everyone knows how Ted criticizes this government, how much he abhors corrupt police officers. So now people suspect authorities are just getting back at Ted, that would explain the rough treatments)," the Visayan senator said.
He said the police have to review its procedures and train its officers and men in the proper handling of suspects to ensure their rights are always protected.
"DILG Secretarty (Ronaldo) Puno, tell your men to shape up," Roxas said.

Roxas joined nation in commemorating President Manuel Roxas' 61st death anniversary

The country observed last Wednesday the 61st death anniversary of the late President Manuel Roxas, the third and last president of the Commonwealth and the first of the Republic of the Philippines, and the grandfather of Senator Mar Roxas.

Memorial masses in memory of the late statesman were be held in selected churches all over the country while members of the Roxas clan separately lead wreath laying activities at his resting place at the North Cemetery in Manila, at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, where he died on April 15, 1948, and at Roxas City where he was born in 1892.

Manuel Roxas - a patriot, statesman, parliamentarian, orator and the first President of the Philippine Republic - was born in Capiz, Capiz (now Roxas City) on January 1, 1892 to Gerardo Roxas Sr. and Rosario Acuña. His father died from bullet wounds from Spanish Guardia Sibils seven months before he was born.

Roxas received his basic education in public schools in Capiz and Manila, graduating in 1909 with highest honors at the Manila High School (now Araullo High School). In 1913, he graduated as class valedictorian from the University of the Philippines Law School, where he was also elected president of his class and the University Student Council. That same year, he topped the first ever Philippine Bar examinations in the country with a high grade of 92 per cent.

Roxas' brilliant career in public service began in 1917 when he was appointed as member of the municipal council of Capiz. In 1919, he was elected Provincial Governor, the country's youngest governor then at the age of 27. In 1922, he was elected as Congressman representing the first district of Capiz. He was Speaker of the House for 12 consecutive years.

Recognized as "the Master Strategist" in the movement designed to bring complete independence to the Philippines, one of Roxas' greatest achievements was the enactment of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law in 1932. This paved the way for the enactment of the Tydings McDuffie Act, otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act of 1934, which led to the granting of Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 after a transition period of ten years. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention from 1934 to 1935, and was one of the "Seven Wise Men" who drafted the Philippine Constitution.

When World War II broke out, Roxas enlisted in the military service and held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the USAFFE and served aide to General Douglas MacArthur. He was later promoted to Brigadier General. He was responsible for bringing food from his native province of Capiz to feed over 20,000 soldiers and civilians in Corregidor Island.

After the war, Roxas ran for President against incumbent Sergio Osmeña. He won the election and inherited a nation that was in ruins following the Second World War. President Roxas, also known as the "Nation Builder", was the brains behind the first Philippine Master Economic Plan, the first of its kind in developing Asia, which spurred the country's return to normalcy and growth.

To date, President Roxas holds the distinction of being the only Filipino leader who has ever served and exercised authority in the capacity of House Speaker, Senate President, and President of the Republic.

In his memory, works are under way for the construction of the President Manuel Roxas Memorial Center, a historical and educational institution designed to commemorate the critical evolution of Philippine democracy and the country's reconstruction from the ruins of World War II. The edifice would rise along the historic Roxas Boulevard and would be jointly pursued by the President Manuel A. Roxas Foundation (PMARF), the National Historical Institute (NHI) and the City Government of Manila.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas bats for universal health coverage for all Filipinos

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas yesterday proposed the coverage of all Filipinos under the National Health Insurance Program.
"Mahalaga ang kalusugan ng mamamayan. Dapat hindi lang ‘voluntary’ sa mga kayang nagbabayad ng premium ang coverage ng PhilHealth kundi sakop ang lahat (Our people’s health is important. PhilHealth coverage should not only be 'voluntary' on those who are paying premiums but to all Filipinos)," he said.

"Ngayon, nagkakaroon lang ng PhilHealth coverage ang mga indigent kapag kasama sila sa mga pinili ng mayor nila. Pero wala dapat pulitika pagdating sa kalusugan ng mamamayan (Now, indigents are covered by PhilHealth only when the mayors decide to include them in their lists. But politics should not be a consideration when it comes to our people’s health)," he stressed.
Roxas is proposing that all Filipinos should have a basic level of health care benefits to be provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth. Such universal coverage will be funded by the National Budget through premium payments to PhilHealth.
"Dapat hindi pabayaan ng gobyerno ang kalusugan ng mamamayan. Ipaglalaban natin ito (The government should not neglect the health of all Filipinos. We will fight for this right)," he stressed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | posted in , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas lauds cancellation of anomalous P1.4B heavy equipment procurement project

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) should open a new public bidding for its P1.4-billion rehabilitation project and pursue the undertaking despite setbacks caused by the original anomalous bidding, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas said today.

Roxas made the statement as he insisted that the bidding and awards committee that awarded the original bidding results for the heavy machineries procurement project, should be revamped, and the members of the original committee prosecuted for violating bidding laws.
"Mahalagang ibalik ang tiwala ng publiko sa ating pamahalaan (It is important to restore public trust in our government)," he said.
The senator insisted documentary evidence would prove NIA favored the two companies despite their inability to meet a key bidding requirement that its Bids and Awards Committee itself imposed.

The Visayan senator said it is still not too late for NIA to hold a new round of public bidding and fast-track the process to allow the delivery of the needed heavy equipment machineries within the dry season.
"Makakahabol pa rin naman kung magkakaroon ng bagong bidding ngayon. Siguraduhin lang nilang transparent ang lahat at walang anomalya, wala naman ng magiging delays sa project na ito (It is not too late for a new bidding. NIA just have to make sure that everything is transparent and above-board and this project could proceed without delays)," he said.
Salazar had announced the cancellation of the auction for heavy irrigation equipment worth about P1.4 billion after a disqualified bidder filed a case in court questioning the bidding held for the undertaking. He had said the delays in the project had made uncertain the procuring of the equipment in time for the restoration of irrigation facilities during the dry season.

Roxas had earlier sought an inquiry by the Senate blue ribbon committee into the anomalous bidding for NIA's planned purchase of P1.4 billion worth of heavy equipment, exposing at the same time the undue favor given by the agency to two disqualified contractors and the disqualification from the bidding of the industry's top heavy equipment suppliers.

Riding a pedicab with Mar Roxas as the driver

The pedicab (also called as padyak or trisikad here in Cebu) is a symbol of the common TAO's mode of transportation. When you're going in a place that's not really accessible to jeepneys, we ride the pedicab.

When we ride a pedicab, we tend to choose the pedicab driver whom we trust, or we fondly call him our "suki". We don't risk our lives to someone whom we don't trust, someone who doesn't know where the roads lead us, someone who is not capable of steering the wheel to the right direction. This is what embodied Mar Roxas' latest TVC called "Padyakitos with Mar Roxas".

As what fellow blogger Zyon Jerekiel said in his blog post Nakasakay ka na ba ng Pedicab?:
Para maiba naman, ito ang isang panibagong simbolo ng ating gobyerno: Isang pedicab. Mabagal ang takbo, daanan patungo sa kailangang puntahan ay lubak lubak. Kelangan natin ng driver na MARunong. (To be different, this (pedicab) is the new symbol of our government: A pedicab. Its pace is slow, the road to our destination is not good. We need a driver who is sMARrt.)
Indeed! We need a new pedicab driver for our nation and we believe that it is Mar Roxas who can steer this nation back to where it was: prosperity, peace and progress.

On the other hand, blogger Neil shared his thoughts on Mar Roxas' new TV Ad in his blog post 2010 Election: Padyak MAR, Padyak!:
The ad though, is not as simple as it appears. The padyak/sikad is an analogy for the Philippines where, according to the boy: "Kanya-kanyang kayod po dito. Walang maayos na trabaho, walang pambili ng gamot." (Translation: Everyone here has to strive for himself. There are no decent jobs, nothing to buy medicines.) The little girl and the boy represent the Filipinos, who still hope for a brighter future – "Seaman, sana. Ako po, artista." (Translation: Seaman, I hope. Me, a moviestar.)

And Roxas wants us to know that he represents the future leadership of this country, by driving the padyak/sikad himself – "Ako na. Sama-sama tayo. Hindi ko kayo pababayaan. Lalaban tayo!" (Translation: Let me do it. We’re all in this together. I will not abandon you. We will fight!)
Another good point raised by Neil. Filipinos are hoping for a good future, but it would always remain a hope if we don't act, if no one leads us. Just like this: if we keep hoping that the "pedicab" would lead us to our destination without a driver operating it would be useless.

Do you want a "pedicab driver" who has a bad reputation? How about a "pedicab driver" who always changes course to exploit his passengers? Or a "pedicab driver" who claims to be an expert but it isn't? We don't ant someone like this right?

Then, let's also remember that our "pedicab" is not only of 2 persons, but of almost 91 million Filipinos. We can't afford we watch the lone "pedicab driver" to padyak all of us. We also need to do our part. If we want genuine reforms on how things are done, then this is our moment. Our moment to choose a "pedicab driver" whom we believe in. It's in our own hands.

Sama-sama tayo! Lalaban tayo!

Sunday, April 5, 2009 | posted in , , , , , | 3 comments [ More ]

Senator Roxas: Education for all is government's responsibility

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry by the Senate into the success and impact of the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) programs intended to address the special learning needs of marginalized learners.

Roxas, who filed Senate Resolution no. 967, stressed there is a need to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the ALS programs parallel to its objective of making quality education available for out-of-school youth and adult learners.
"Mahalaga ang edukasyon. Kung may mga tao mang hindi makapasok sa formal education system dahil sa kahirapan, tungkulin ng pamahalaan na maglaan ng alternatibong paraan para makapag-aral sila (Education is important. It is the government’s duty to put in place alternative means for the education of those who are not able to enter the formal education system because of poverty)," he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education added: "Sinusuportahan natin ang programa ng Alternative Learning System, kaya nais nating alamin kung naipatutupad ba ito nang tama. (We support the Alternative Learning System, that is why we want to know if this is being implemented properly)."
He said senators should look into how government has carried out its constitutional mandate to "protect and promote the rights of all citizens to quality education at all levels" and to "take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all."

The ALS system was among the workable methods in the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9155) which government could tap to address the special learning needs of out-of-school youths and undereducated adults.

ALS is an independent complete learning system crafted to address the various learning styles and needs of learners. Learners are given full discretion of the kind and method of learning they wish to have, including the use of information technology.

The Visayan senator said aside from assessing the program’s efficacy, the Senate committee should also check the budgetary support given by the government to the Bureau of Alternative Learning System, which has been tasked to oversee the implementation of the ALS programs.

He noted reports that the BALS gets less than one percent of the annual budget allocation given to the Department of Education.

Padyakitos with Mar Roxas

As what I have told you yesterday, Senator Mar Roxas has just released a new TV Ad called "Padkyakitos with Mar Roxas" that talks about the harsh reality in our slum areas reinforcing his battle cry "Mahalaga ang Tao".

Here's the exclusive and complete Padyakitos with Mar Roxas TV Ad:

Friday, April 3, 2009 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Mar Roxas is also Mr. Padyak!

Senator Mar Roxas has just finished shooting another TV Ad this week that would be released soon. Still retaining his Mr. Palengke image, in this TV Ad, the people would be calling him Mr. Padyak.

The TV Ad's plot goes like this: there's a little girl and she steps inside a pedicab wherein Roxas is also inside. Then Roxas and the little girl would be talking about the hardships of a person living in poverty. After that, Roxas takes the place of the pedicab driver and parades through a cheering crowd.

More about this in days to come!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | posted in , , , | 1 comments [ More ]

Get Involved!