"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ConCom report:Lowest form of bribery

THE way it looks, the recommendations of the Consultative Commission on Charter change do not stand a chance in the Senate.

Administration Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, also recalled the time he was a member of the commission that drafted the 1973 Charter.

He said Presidential Proclamation 1102, which embodied the draft Constitution, promised to make those who would approve it members of the Batasan.

But Marcos eventually abolished the Batasan. "Na-onse na kami, na-uto pa (We were not only gypped, but also made fools of)," Gordon said.

In Gordon's opinion, the ConCom's proposal is the "lowest form of bribery" to legislators.

"It's saying, 'We leaders are all protected. Let's just make fools of the people,'" he said. "The people will say, Binababoy ninyo (You're making a mess of) the Constitution for your personal interest."

He also said the situation would reflect badly on Ms Arroyo, Speaker Jose de Venecia and former President Fidel Ramos, who could be seen as the ones with vested interests behind the move.

According to Gordon, this was not the time to push for Charter change because of the "cloud of doubt" on the legitimacy of Ms Arroyo's presidency.

"This has become a moral issue because it seems we are being forced to change the Charter," Gordon said.

The Senate is not even keen on tackling the resolution earlier approved by the House calling on the two chambers to convene as a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Charter.

The resolution was referred to Gordon's committee last week but the chamber adjourned for the Christmas break without the committee deliberating on it.

"The senators are not very interested in it," Gordon had said.

By Juliet Labog-Javellana, Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Season's Greetings

May the spirit of Christmas remind you everyday of your God-given strength to lead, sacrifice, persist and prevail for our Nation.

Maligayang Pasko at Mapayapang Bagong Taon!

Dick & Kate Gordon

Friday, December 09, 2005

Senate committee endorses bill strengthening RP tourism

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Tourism, submitted recently the committee report endorsing Senate Bill No. 2138 also known as the "Tourism Act of 2005" which seeks to strengthen the Philippine's tourism industry and which aims to create thousands of jobs for Filipinos all over the country.

In his sponsorship speech, Gordon lamented that the Philippines has lagged behind its neighbors in the tourism industry. He noted that in 2003, Thailand and Malaysia had visitors in excess of 10 million, while Indonesia and Singapore had more than five million visitors. Even Vietnam, a country that had been ravaged by war, surpassed the two million mark in tourism arrivals, while the Philippines did not even break that figure.

"Tourism is the largest industry in the world, with 700 million tourists a year, collectively spending hundreds of billions of dollars. It is the key to lifting our people out from their poverty, giving them jobs and opportunities and allowing to live in pride and dignity," said Gordon.

According to Gordon, Senate Bill No. 2138 will make the Department of Tourism (DoT) a purely policy-making, planning and regulatory entity. An important feature of the bill is the establishment of Tourism Philippines, a government corporation that brings together government and the private sector, whose mandate is the marketing and promotions of the Philippines as a tourism destination. It also proposes the establishment of a Tourism Enterprise Zone Authority to tap investments from domestic and overseas sources, to bring those investments into tourism enterprise zones that can be run by the national or local governments, the private sector, or joint ventures between them.

"These three agencies respectively respond to the core ideas of regulation, marketing and infrastructure development for tourism. Their functions will be clearly defined so that there will be no overlapping in responsibilities. That will truly maximize the potential of the country's tourism industry," emphasized Gordon.

The Tourism Act of 2005, filed by Gordon, envisions more job opportunities for Filipinos as more tourists arrive in the country. Gordon noted that "every tourist that comes in means one more person with real money that can buy our goods."

"For every tourist that comes in, there will be one more person to take a cab from the airport, take his meals at a restaurant during the day and drink our beer at the bars at night, check into a hotel, go to the beach and pay for a massage on our white sand and buy bead bracelets and necklaces, go diving or hike through our forests, paying for guides and equipment along the way, shop at our malls to buy our shirts and our shoes. That directly translates to various job opportunities for the Filipinos," said Gordon.

He added that the bill seeks to change the philosophy of government toward tourism and to create the necessary political and legal structures to make tourism development happen. It proposes a shared responsibility of national and local governments by directly involving the latter in the drafting and implementation of tourism development plans and providing necessary training in enforcing tourism standards.

The Manila Bulletin
9 December 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

India is going to boom

New Delhi - Richard Gordon, Chairman, Senate Committee on Tourism, Philippines, declared, "India is going to boom." This Indian resurgence would be good for the security and stability of the ASEAN region as well as the development of the world economy. The Philippines would like to 'engage' with India, given their many complementarities such as democracy, English language, BPO skills, etc, he said. He was speaking at a session on 'India and the World' at the India Economic Summit 2005 here.

7 December 2005

Transcript of Interview On Garci Name-drop at Congress Hearing Today 7 December 2005

INTERVIEWER: Is it true that you called Garcillano during the 2004 campaign/ election period?

GORDON : The only time I met him was after the elections, in February 2005. He must be hallucinating because I never met him before that. I never spoke with him until February 2005 long after I was already elected and at that time he was lobbying kung pwede yung Commission on Appointment na posisyon niya ay ma-confirm. And I was also talking with him about the overseas elections. That was all we talked about. I did tell him na galit sa kanya si Sen. Pimentel so mahihirapan siya. I don’t even know the guy personally.

INTERVIEWER: February this year?

GORDON: Yes. That was the first time I met him and I never even knew of him before that.

INTERVIEWER: So siya ang tumawag, Sir?

GORDON: He called me and he asked my staff if he could see me and I saw him at the Diamond Hotel, it was a public place. I never met him before that.

INTERVIEWER: But you didn’t talk on the phone?

GORDON: No. During my campaign, I never talked to any COMELEC officials during the campaign.

INTERVIEWER: What do you think of this na parang strategy ni Mr.Garci ang mentioning of names without exactly saying what was talked about?

GORDON: I don’t know what he said. I was just pleasantly surprised in the sense that he is mentioning my name now. Thank you very much but I don’t know you. I never met you until after the elections. I don’t have a habit of calling the election commissioner.

INTERVIEWER: Are you taking any actions against him?

GORDON: I think, yung mga tumawag sa kanya has something to explain because tama lang iyon because magtatanong ang tao. Pero yung hindi naman tumawag sa kanya, ano pa ang ipapaliwanag ko.

INTERVIEWER: Pero binanggit ang pangalan ninyo sir at sinabi niyang tumawag kayo sa kanya?

GORDON: Siguro natataranta na siya dahil sa dami...but kung binabanggit ako dahil siguro medyo kritikal ako sa kanya noong mga nakaraan.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, yung binasa niya ay long list of callers?

GORDON: Well I never called him and I don’t even know his number. I only met him like I said in February 2005 in Diamond Hotel.

INTERVIEWER: So he is lying?

GORDON: I think he is hallucinating. Hindi niya alam kung sino ang nakausap niya at yung hindi niya nakausap. That makes his statement against other senators even incredible because I never really know him even if they put me in a lie detector test. I have never talked with him. I have never met him until after the elections.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, hindi ba malisyoso ang motibo niya na nagda-drop siya ng pangalan?

GORDON: Malisyoso iyon in the sense na kung ang pakay niya is to divert attention to others specially to names that he thinks could create a headline, then he is grossly mistaken. Mali iyon.

INTERVIEWER: Walang credibility?

GORDON: Walang credibility. Absolutely no credibility.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, ano ang ginawa ninyo sa Diamond?

GORDON: We just had a dinner and my staff was there. Sinasabi niya na kung pwede ko siyang matulungan sa COMELEC pero ang sabi ko mukhang nagagalit sa iyo si Sen. Pimentel dahil sa dagdag-bawas mo. Hindi naman daw totoo iyon, pinagbibintangan lang daw naman siya. But that was the only time I met him.

INTERVIEWER: So siya ang may kailangan sa iyo?

GORDON: Yes. Siya ang may kailangan, hindi ako ang may kailangan.

INTERVIEWER: Sir accidental po yung meeting ninyo?

GORDON: No. He asked for an appointment.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, ano ang palagay ninyong motibo ni Garci bakit binanggit ang name ninyo?

GORDON: Well, (1) he could have made an honest mistake or (2) it could be malicious. He could be saying this para smoke screen, get the publicity away from certain personalities perhaps. I am very comfortable with myself. I never talked with this guy, never met him, that’s it.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, sabi ni Sen. Miriam, yung mga papangalanan daw ni Garci ay isa-subject for Ethics Committee so more or less pagpapaliwanagin din kayo doon?

GORDON: I’m not worried. The truth is before me. It’s with me and I don’t have to worry about anything.