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

Thursday, December 31, 2009


New Year's Message

Each New Year is a symbol of hope and a herald for new beginnings. The year 2010 is especially significant for our nation because we are to elect the next leaders of our country, which will go down in history as the Philippines' first ever nationwide automated elections.
But while the new system gives us hope of finally having clean, honest, speedy and credible elections, there is a greater challenge ahead of us, that is, the careful and wise selection of our next leaders--from the President down to the local officials.

The fate of our nation lies in our own hands, in our own decisions, because we have the duty to elect the people who would lead us to the development and progress that our country truly deserves.

With the dawn of the New Year, let us initiate the process of transformation by changing the standards we use to choose the country's next leaders. Money, popularity and pedigree are not important. We must choose leaders who have proven track record, a record of leadership and integrity; leaders who are capable of walking us over walls to get us to a new and better Philippines, the Bagumbayan envisioned by our forefathers where everyone is enabled, ennobled and free.

I wish everyone a prosperous and safe New Year! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang mamamayang Pilipino!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rescue of 88 M/V Baleno passengers

A survivor of a ferry that sunk in central Philippines is consoled by Philippine National Red Cross Chairman and Senator Gordon at Batangas port (photo source: www.reuters.com)

True to his promise of saving Filipino lives from disaster and poverty, Sen. Richard Gordon was first to arrive in Batangas City last Sunday to direct the Red Cross search and rescue for 88 passengers of the sunken MV Baleno 9.
Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), arrived at the Batangas City port shortly after midnight on Sunday, less than three hours after MV Baleno sunk with 88 passengers onboard from Calapan City to Batangas City.

A few hours after its sinking, Gordon organized the PNRC's rescue mission with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), rescuing 63 people from the mishap.

The PNRC has deployed four rubber boat teams to help in the search for 22 passengers still missing from the sinking of the ferry boat. The PNRC also has five ambulances at the Batangas Port where the search and rescue operations are based.

Gordon's speedy response to the sinking of MV Baleno is understandable, him being the chairman of PNRC and having access to its army of volunteers and equipment.

He is running for President under a platform of transforming the nation and saving the people not only from natural disasters, but also from hunger and poverty.

But regardless of whether he is running or not, Gordon has consistently delivered his work to save lives and turn adversity into opportunities. During the onslaught of "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" this year, Gordon led the PNRC in giving relief to thousands of families that lost their homes and displaced by floods.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Small landowners to benefit from Free Patent Bill

MANILA, Philippines—Congress has ratified the Free Patent bill that would allow 39 million Filipinos, mostly low and middle income individuals, to legally obtain title to the lands that they have possessed for at least 10 years, Senator Richard Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon, co-sponsor and author of Senate Bill 3429 (an Act Reforming the Administrative Titling Process), said that the measure, which was ratified by both chambers of Congress before the Christmas break, aims to ease the requirements and procedures in the titling of residential and commercial land.

“Many landowners, despite possession of their land, have only ‘rights’ or a tax declaration to their land due to the high cost, long delay, and inconvenient procedures of judicial titling,” he said.

Under the present Public Land Act, residential and commercial landholders can acquire title only through court, which requires hiring a lawyer, paying for a survey, securing testimonies from neighbors and clearances from the barangay (village), and filing a court petition, among others.

The senator explained that the current situation, where many land parcels remain untitled, make for bad economics, because landowners cannot secure loans on their property for business and home improvement; and bad policy, because without a title, landowners will not be secure in their possession, potentially becoming victims of illegally issued land titles by criminal syndicates.

Business organizations such as the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) and the Makati Business Club (MBC) have been anticipating the enactment of the Free Patent Act, which is also expected to benefit the economy.

“This measure is expected to stimulate bank lending with better collateral, allowing homeowners access to credit in banking institutions,” said Pascual Garcia III, president of CTB, in his letter to Gordon.

Meanwhile, Alberto Lim, executive director of MBC, wrote in a newspaper column, “Titled land increases in value more steadily than untitled land and therefore increases the local government’s tax base. Aside from more business tax, there will also be more legitimate property transactions so the take from transfer fees, documentary stamps, and capital gains taxes will increase.”

With these benefits for both the government and the people, Gordon said that the President is expected to immediately sign the measure once it is transmitted to her office.

Congress OKs law on easier land-titling 

Small owners to greatly benefit from it—Gordon

First Posted 14:10:00 12/28/2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

On MV Catalyn B and FV Nathalia collision

Ferries form the backbone of mass transport in the archipelago nation of 92 million people. But bad weather, poor maintenance, overcrowding and lax enforcement of regulations have led to frequent disasters.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, agreed that the seaworthiness of both vessels and the capabilities of their respective crew should be checked by maritime authorities.

“They should investigate the equipment and capability of the captains and the crew. Did they have enough communication facilities? Did they understand passage at sea? I can’t understand why they would hit one another,” he said.

“Are the captains qualified? Are the owners exercising due diligence?”

Gordon said an unfinished investigation of sea tragedies by the Senate blue ribbon committee would be expanded to include the latest collision.
“There are too many sinking [boats], too many accidents. We have to know what’s wrong,” he said.

“Every time Christmas comes, boats loaded with people sink. What’s wrong?”

Arroyo orders probe of sea collision

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:06:00 12/26/2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Volunteer Forever

For 47 years now and as the current chairman and CEO of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Sen. Dick Gordon and his able people are very active in the disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts.

He was there in the July 16, 1990 killer quake that hit the Luzon provinces; the June 15, 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and typhoons, the latest being typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last September.

He also negotiated (without ransom paid), for the release of 18 Filipino hostages from the Abu Sayyaf in in March 2000; the May 2001 Dos Palmas, Palawan kidnapping; the OFWs in Southern Lebanon caught in the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict in August 2006, and in March 2009, led a prayer rally and appealed for the successful release of International Red Cross volunteers abducted in Sulu.

“Dati, ang ganda ng Sulu. Ngayon, mas mahirap pa sa daga. Bakit, niyayakap ba natin ang mga Muslim? Takot kayo sa Muslim, eh. Ako lang ang tangang lumalapit sa kanila. Ako lang nakakakuha ng hostages from them ng walang bayad. Ngayon naghahanap ako ng koneksyon para mapalaya `yung pari (Fr. Michael Sinnott) at `yung anak ng kaklase ko na arkitekto. Kailangan bang mangyari ito? No. Pagawa mo ang mga infrastructure roon. Bakit hindi sila magrerebelde? Kung ako nakatira roon magrerebelde ako,” Sen. Gordon points out.

He also mobilized aid for the February 2004 Superferry fire; the 2006 Ultra stampede of the Wowowee anniversary show; the October 2007 Glorietta blast; the June 2008 MV Princess of the Stars tragedy, and provided psychosocial and first aid assistance and transported home the survivors of Superferry 9 tragedy last June.

Sen. Gordon also appealed to the international communities for support to PNRC. He launched the Millenium Partner fund in February 2000 wherein corporate donations were pooled to sustain disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts. Currently, it already raised P27 million in funds. It was during his term as PNRC Chairman and CEO that, for the first time, the organization became an international donor when they gave $35,000 cash contribution and disaster experts to help in the relief and rehabilitation of tsunami-stricken areas in Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

In 2006, he launched the Project 143 I Love Red Cross on International Volunteers Day to prepare and train communities to be self-reliant and ready in the face of calamities and typhoons. Also, a total of 15,000 houses were repaired and built from 2004 to 2008 in

Albay, Aurora, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Marinduque, Mindoro Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Southern Leyte, Quezon, Quirino, Sorsogon devastated by Guinsaugon landslide, typhoons Milenyo, Reming, Yoyong, Violeta, and Unding, and armed conflict in Mindanao.

During the 62nd anniversary of PNRC, Sen. Gordon distributed 62 ambulances and fire trucks to their chapters, in line with his dream of modernizing and strengthening PNRC’s rescue capability. He is also active in important discussions and conferences on disaster management and training, and climate change.

“Basta may disaster, naroon ako. Sinasama ko mga tao ko. I’ll stay in the Red Cross for as long as I want. I’m a volunteer, nobody can fire me unless I steal,” he says. He adds, “Even if I’m the President of the Philippines, I’ll still be in Red Cross. I’ll be a volunteer forever.”

By Lynda C. Corpuz
Moneysense Magazine
Photography by Carl Valentin

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It is not proper for the judges to complain because in the first place, it is their duty. What will happen to the judiciary if they will coerce the judges? These kind of people proliferate because our judges refuse to handle the case.

We can put additional security to our judges to make sure that justice is being served. The judges should not be afraid to carry out their duty. They should resign if they can't do their job.

We should fight the principle and the evil must not prevail. If we senators and congressmen have plenty of security, why not give our judges specially those who will handle the Maguindanao case.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The promise of Mindanao is now within reach

The promise of Mindanao is now two steps closer to coming into fruition with the Senate's passage on third reading of the measure creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA), Senator Richard J. Gordon said today.

Gordon, a co-author of Senate Bill 3496 (MEDA Act of 2009), said that the MEDA would primarily carry out economic and social reforms in Mindanao to ensure the growth and development that the island deserves.

"Whenever I go to Mindanao I see the possibilities that are boundless not only in tourism, not only in agriculture, but also in industrial development. We have had a long, festering problem in Mindanao, particularly in the areas of Sulu and Basilan. Mindanao has got to be developed immediately if only to stop the war out there," he said.

On Monday, the senators passed the MEDA bill on third reading. Senators and Congressmen will iron out differences in their respective versions of the bill in a bicameral conference before it is forwarded to the Office of the President for signing into law. The President has certified the measure for immediate enactment.

Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, Sr., Chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), said that the passage of the MEDA bill is a historic legacy by both Houses of Congress in terms of providing Mindanao a special strategic mechanism that is responsible and accountable for the socio-economic development of the island.

"It will accelerate the attainment of development and peace in Mindanao. It will likewise reinforce the national effort to consolidate the whole country into one strong nation, which can never be attained by exclusion of any religion, race or tribe," Leyretana said.

"In behalf of the officers of MEDCo, we express our sincerest gratitude to the senators and congressmen for the unanimous approval of the MEDA bill," he added. Gordon explained that the MEDA would be the implementing agency for Mindanao-specific inter-regional and Mindanao-wide programs and projects, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. It would promote, coordinate, and facilitate the participation of all sectors towards the socio-economic development of Mindanao.

"I know that there are certain elements in Mindanao that will never be pacified, but there are more people who want to conquer the lower instincts in man to make sure that Filipinos, whether they be Muslims or Christians, are uplifted," Gordon said.

Funds for Filipino WWII vets' benefits

The commitment of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that it will secure the release of some arrears due to Filipino World War II (WWII) veterans was secured by Senator Richard J. Gordon.

Gordon, who was instrumental in the release of the Filipino WWII veterans' benefits from the United States (US) government, said that when the benefits of the veterans are not given, it creates a notion that the country is disrespectful of the sacrifices the Filipino warriors had done for the nation.

"I have known this before but I did not realize it was of that magnitude. We have not been paying our veterans their administrative pensions since 1994. It has now ballooned to P25,235,339,155," the senator stressed.

"No country can find its way clear in trying to get respect from other countries, let alone our own veterans, if it does not take care of the people who fought for the freedom of this country," he added.

Gordon explained that aside from the Old Age Retirement Pension, which amounts to P5,000 a month, Filipino WWII veterans are also entitled to additional benefits under Republic Act (RA) 7696 or the Total Administrative Disability.

RA 7696 has been effective since April 9, 1994. A Filipino World War II veteran, with or without a disability, upon reaching the age of 70 is deemed totally disabled and shall receive P1,700 plus P500 for the spouse and P500 for each unmarried minor child. This provision of the law has never been implemented due to budgetary constraints.

During the Senate's budget deliberations, DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. promised to find sources of funds to pay some of the amount in arrears and send Gordon a letter containing said promise which would secure the release of a portion of the pension in arrears.

"The amount of P1,700 may not be much for us, but to an 80-year-old sickly veteran, to add another P1,700 may be crucial to him for extra medicines," said Gordon, who authored RA 9499 that allowed Filipino veterans to continue receiving pensions and benefits from the Philippine government without rescinding similar benefits from the US government.

"I really find it very excruciating that this country cannot pay its veterans. That will be part of the debt of our grandchildren already. Any self-respecting country should really try and respect the war veterans who fought hard. We have to make an effort to at least take care of that historical aspect," he added.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ready for Anything

He has faced down natural and man-made disasters, political adversaries, kidnap-for-ransom rebels, and economic crises. Now Senator Richard J. Gordon is facing the biggest challenge of his life – running for President of the Philippines.

By Lynda C. Corpuz
Moneysense Magazine Cover Story

If there’s one thing the ferocious flood brought by typhoon Ondoy proved is we’re not ready. Our national government wasn’t ready. The local government units in the affected areas were overwhelmed. And we were caught flatfooted. In the midst of lost and confused government officials, a brief television interview with a familiar face during emergency and disaster rescue operations offered assurance that at least someone knows what he’s doing.

Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon enumerated and displayed to the panning camera the manpower, equipment, and vehicles under the disposal of Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), of which he is chairman and CEO. It wasn’t a political ploy as some critics snidely remarked – he has been a volunteer since he was 17, as his parents were also active in the Red Cross, and his mother founded the Blood Bank – just Dick Gordon once again to the rescue.

“Sino nauuna kapag may delubyo? Mas marami pa kaming rubber boat sa Red Cross kesa sa Philippine Navy. Ang navy natin, all coast, no guard. Sino unang tinatawagan nila? Ako. Bakit ako? Because I will care. No matter where you are, I will look for you and care for you,” Sen. Gordon impassionedly narrates.

Disaster preparedness is a must. Sen. Gordon says we shouldn’t be stupid not to know that we’re expecting at least 20 typhoons a year. Then he pulled out his whistle and demonstrated how to be saved when disaster strikes. “Pag-pito ng tatlong beses (then he whistles), whether you like it or not, evacuate ka na. Hindi na ako magpapadala ng rubber boat. Whether it’s an earthquake, fire, or typhoon, dapat handa ka. Alam mo kung saan ang pinakamalapit na evacuation center sa inyo, dapat may dala kang basic necessities mo. Kung bahain ang lugar, dapat magpagawa ka ng elevated na kalsada, na bahay. You should adapt to disasters,” Sen. Gordon stresses.

To disaster proof the Philippines that’s in the typhoon- and earthquake-belt, Sen. Gordon says we should have a culture of cleanliness – from clearing the drainages to relocating squatters. National management of agriculture is another, opting to have our agricultural lands in locations less hit by typhoons, like in most parts of Mindanao, or review the engineering involved in our agricultural bases, like Northern and Central Luzon.

No one questions his exemplary track record as a volunteer in disaster rescue operations (see sidebar “A Volunteer Forever”). No one also doubts him as an effective leader, crisis manager, and man of action.

Cleaning up Olongapo

Before becoming a senator, Sen. Gordon led his hometown, Olongapo City, where he served as mayor for 13 years. From the grand vision to the minute details, then Mayor Gordon introduced systems to steer away Olongapo from its image of “sin city” to “model city.”

Before color coding became a traffic rule in Metro Manila, Mayor Gordon had color-coded jeepneys, plying specific routes within the city. The drivers sported uniforms, bearing their names and contact details – a rule ensuring that in an untoward incident, passengers would know their driver’s name and where to find him. “Ang driver hindi na siya mahihingan ng pulis, kasi dati colorum siya. Sabi namin, lahat ng jeepney at tricycle may route-bearing capacity. I did this without a law. I had to motivate people [to agree with me],” he cites.

While his initiative was initially met with protest, then Mayor Gordon proved that the traffic system was beneficial. Regularizing the licensed jeepneys and tricycles per route ensured a steady income for the drivers and operators. If the driver overcharges, the passenger could look after the driver’s record filed at the city hall – with the latter’s photo and contact details. “The jeepney could no longer be used for crime. The license could no longer be used for corruption. Locals and tourists knew [already] which colored jeepney to ride [depending on their destination],” Sen. Gordon says over the benefits of his instituted system.

And his becoming a mayor with his own brand of leadership and management style was something he learned from his father, James L. Gordon – who chose to become a Filipino, and hailed as the founding father of Olongapo as its first elected municipal mayor. “My father’s assassin (assassinated on February 20, 1967) rode a jeep, got off, and rode a tricycle and escaped. Mabuti na lang may nakakita kung saan huminto `yung tricycle. Ngayon, hindi na makapupunta `yung tricycle sa kung saan hindi niya dapat puntahan. Mahuhuli siya. That’s how I learned to do it. I also learned it from the color-coded, route signages of trains in Japan,” he shares.

“The Americans, who a number of them got robbed, thanked me for the system. The curfew was lifted and the people of Olongapo were thankful,” Sen. Gordon shares the inspiration behind the orderly traffic system in his bailiwick. He also instituted system among hawkers, wearing uniforms and I.D. and cleaning the area where they’re posted. He also purchased second-hand trucks to ensure timely garbage collection and proper disposal, collected by uniformed “sanitary technicians.” He also spearheaded public markets’ expansion, community organizations, among other development programs. “I came from a town where my father was assassinated. Where there were robbers and troubles abound. Na-organize ko lahat. Naayos ko lahat `yun,” he prides.

Building the “second city”

His leadership and management style was also met initially with resistance. He can be very demanding and brutally frank, and most Filipinos, being generally non-confrontational, get taken aback. But Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon says if he doesn’t call your attention over a misdoing – “hindi ka na niya mahal `pag ganoon.”

He speaks plainly and doesn’t mince words. Basically with him, what you see is what you get. “Kung baga, kailangan natin gawin ito. You have to earn my respect. And I won’t let you forget it. Kapag kinagagalitan kita, mahal pa kita. `Pag hindi na kita kinakausap, wala ka na sa akin,” Sen. Gordon explains.

But the volunteers who Sen. Gordon mobilized to help rebuild Olongapo and Subic after the U.S. bases left in 1992 didn’t see him as abrasive. They only saw a passionate man who made Subic Bay as proof of economic progress.

Sen. Gordon asserted that he was helping Olongapo people to have a better picture of themselves. “I’m drawing a picture of who you are. You must be this way. You must think of yourself as somebody honorable and with dignity. My slogan, ‘Aim High Olongapo’ was realized. Bawal ang tamad sa Olongapo. Lalong bawal ang tanga sa Olongapo, alam nila `yan. I met with them. Hindi ko sila bine-baby. I told them, ‘if this doesn’t work, you can sue me or you don’t vote for me the next time,’” Sen. Gordon stresses. Talk about tough love.

“I helped built self-help, self-reliance among them. Bawal din ang palaasa sa gobyerno. We were taking care of ourselves. In my first speech, I told them that we would build a ‘second city,’ and that was Subic. [I envisioned] that since the bases would someday be gone and that happened. Twelve years later, I built that ‘second city,’ – Subic Bay,” Sen. Gordon introduces his ascent to become the founding chairman and administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a post he held from 1992 to 1998.

Sen. Gordon led a nationwide rally in September 1991 for the U.S. bases to be retained. He cites that the bill was filed in the Lower House by his wife, but it was not even discussed. That made Olongapo’s future in jeopardy as they were heavily relying on the U.S. naval base.

The cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991 dumped not only wet ash on Olongapo, but also caused damage to their livelihood, properties, and morale. Despite such, the Philippine Senate voted 12-11 to reject the bases’ extension. “Marami kaming pinagdaanan ng mga taga-Olongapo. Maski noong inalis ako ni Cory (Aquino, following a government reorganization), pinaglaban nila ako. Lagi kong sinasama ang tao. We made Olongapo a city of rights and duties. I was the first mayor in the country helping other mayors. Nasanay ang tao. You have to practice citizenship,” he stresses.

“We put the Subic Freeport idea in the bill – wala `yun doon. When Subic was turned over to us, giba ang Olongapo. Nilinis namin `yun. Binalik namin sa normal ang Olongapo. We went through natural disasters and government corruption and [some men’s] selfishness. Pag-alis ng bases, kinaya namin. We attracted foreign investors. We built infrastructure. We created 100,000 jobs. We made the impossible,” Sen. Gordon illustrates how he and the Olongapo people bonded together in time of crises.

The transformation of Subic Bay earned the admiration and commendation of world leaders like U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad – along with the other leaders that attended the Asia Pacific Economic Conference held in Subic in 1996. “A slice of what they can be” is how Sen. Gordon sees the efforts he put in to make Olongapo and Subic Bay models to emulate.

WOW! Gordon

Sen. Gordon also has a knack for catchy slogans and is marketing savvy. Credit that partly to his first job as brand manager for Procter & Gamble. “That was an important job that could have given me a career in business. That was the best job in the world at that time. Mahirap makapasok doon. Sa klase namin, dalawa lang kaming nakapasok through our academic [record], leadership [potential], and personality. Walang lakaran. But I had to leave since my father was assassinated,” Sen. Gordon recalls.

That tragic event became the catalyst to his political career. Although he comes from a family of politicians (his mother, Amelia J. Gordon, is hailed as the first elected city mayor of Olongapo and the 2003 Pearl S. Buck Woman of the Year honoree), he didn’t set out to be a politician.

After his mother won the elections, Sen. Gordon entered the University of the Philippines-Diliman to take up Law. “There were three attempts on my father’s life, I couldn’t understand why. Then he was assassinated. I went to law school to know bakit hindi ma-solve-solve ang kaso ng father ko. Kung sino ang mastermind,” he asked then.

After elected as the No. 1 student councilor, former President Ferdinand Marcos asked Sen. Gordon to run as Student Council chairman. The events at that time were leading to the First Quarter Storm. He refused Marcos’ offer. “I told Marcos, ‘don’t call me again.’ He was my brod (brother) in U.P. Upsilon Sigma Phi. He asked me why I didn’t want to run. I said, ‘I’m running for the Constitutional Convention (ConCon in 1971),” Sen. Gordon cites the third event that led him to the mayorship of Olongapo City.

Running for the ConCon was a challenge for Sen. Gordon – his father was only mayor for three years; his mother didn’t want him to run, as she wanted him to finish Law, not to mention that they were not in speaking terms since he eloped and got married to Kate (the 1998 UNESCO Mayors for Peace Prize honoree in Asia, three-term Olongapo City Mayor, and Zambales Representative from 1987 to 1995).

Despite that, he pushed forward. “I said [to those asking why I was running considering my age and inexperience], ‘kung bibili kayo ng kalabaw, ano pipiliin ninyo, bata o matanda?’ Simple lang. Magaling ako magsalita, that’s why I went out and spoke to the public through the theaters owned by my mother and mother-in-law. We got three comedians to attract crowd. `Pag naparami na nila, saka ako pupunta at magsasalita. Hahabulin ko `yan from barrio to barrio to speak. I won, the No.1, and the youngest delegate to the ConCon,” Sen. Gordon prides of his first, major political achievement.

He says he ran for the ConCon because he wanted to change the country, and says his inspiration for this was Wenceslao Vinzons – the youngest delegate and signer of the 1935 Constitution. That was why he also joined Upsilon because of Vinzons, not because of Marcos or Ninoy (Aquino, Jr.), his fellow Upsilonians. “Like my father, Vinzons had a vision. Like Vinzons, I told myself, ‘I’ll be the youngest delegate to the ConCon. I’ll make my father proud of me,” Sen. Gordon cites, and adds that one of his most precious possessions is his picture of him, administering the Oath of Office to Diosdado Macapagal as president of ConCon. “Whenever I take my oath, I’m taking my oath to the youth of the land so they would have a better future,” Sen. Gordon cites.

He has certainly come a long way from being a wunderkind to a highly accomplished public servant. After his stint at the SBMA, unceremoniously kicked out by then President Joseph Estrada with whom he had a political rift, he came back as tourism secretary appointed in 2001 and served until 2004, before being elected as a senator. He enjoyed a high-profile and successful job as tourism secretary, having launched the highly successful WOW! Philippines campaign. He rebuilt Intramuros and made it a world-city of museums, with themed fiestas showcasing the products and specialties of the country. He didn’t only put back the Philippines in the tourism belt, but Sen. Gordon says he also created jobs in the hospitality and allied sectors.

“Do you hear [those things I did?] No, you don’t. Even if I say them, sasabihin, hindi mananalo `yan [Gordon] kasi wala siyang pera. That’s where their mistake lies. And their ignorance,” Sen. Gordon points out.

Running for President

His frustration over the press is understandable. He is already being counted out when he hasn’t even officially announced that he’s running. As of this writing, he has not officially declared his bid for the 2010 presidential race. Sen. Gordon says he keeps it as a “surprise” as his ace. “I don’t participate in surveys. SWS put my name in violation of my rights because I have my name. For this year, I never allowed to put my name in it. If it put in P321 million in four to five months; P100 million allotted for the surveys, I would top them. If I start advertising, I would rate. You’re right, I don’t rate even with my record – I don’t rate because I don’t fool the people. `Yung naipon kong kaunti, para sa pamilya ko `yan, hindi para sa pulitika `yan,” Sen. Gordon stresses.

He doesn’t kowtow to the masses, doesn’t pander to oligarchs, and doesn’t kiss butts. All he can offer is his record. He laments that candidates with nothing much to show in terms of performance are being hailed as the most winnable ones. He, on the other hand, has already done much, much more. “Nagawa ko na lahat `yan. Kung wala akong chance, kung wala akong pera, eh `di lalo na `yung mahihirap. Pupunta na lang sila abroad. It’s only the crooked politicians who are making money. Did I let my people leave Olongapo? I found a future for them.”

Sen. Gordon is also very specific as to what should be done for this country. He believes the key to transforming the Philippines is education. He envisions giving Filipino school children a very good teacher, feeding them, and providing access to good facilities. In fact, he already has a plan: generate a form of tax from text (SMS and MMS) messaging. “Stick to the vision. Set aside 10 centavos out of every text messages. And if there are two million text messages sent a day, that’s P73 billion a year. Right away, you can pay all the teachers. But build schools first. Create a corporation for a Health, Education, and Acceleration Program for this purpose. Also assign a doctor rotating around the schools so the kids can have access to health care,” Sen. Gordon explains.

Indeed, he is the man with the plan and a man of action. “You can demand from me,” he asserts. Yes, he banks on his record, and if he appears to have to remind people about it, Sen. Gordon only shows that he has got what it takes to lead this country. “I never run away from a fight. Never. What I’m offering is an experience of a lifetime,” he ends.

Photography by Carl Valentin

Hair and make-up styling by Chastine Isidro Fitcher (of Essensuals Toni&Guy)

Cover and editorial shoot and interview coordinated by Edlen Vanezza Bayaton

Friday, December 11, 2009

Swift passage of early voting bill pushed to allow advanced voting in Maguindanao

The immediate passage of the early voting bill to pave way for advanced elections in areas of concern, particularly in Maguindanao was pushed by Senator Richard J. Gordon today.

Gordon, author of Senate Bill 2972 or the Early Voting in National Elections, said that holding advanced elections would allow the Commission on Elections (Comelec), police and military forces, and election watchdogs to concentrate their efforts in areas that need special attention, like in Maguindanao, which was placed under Martial Law after the massacre that killed 57 people.

"I agree wholeheartedly that we should move the date of elections in Maguindanao to an earlier date. I have filed a bill on early voting and the House of Representatives has filed its own version. With the help of our colleagues, we can fast track the passage of this measure," he said during the Senate's deliberation for the Comelec's budget.

"Since we are still meeting with the House on Monday, maybe the Senate President and the Speaker of the House can get together and make that our mission. I think we can finish that. It's really a very simple bill that would allow the Comelec to do that (early voting)," he added.

Members of the Senate, particularly Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., endorsed on Friday the immediate passage of the bill.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the country and author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the Amended Automated Elections System Law, noted that there are 181 areas, including Maguindanao, tagged as consistent election hotspots in the country

"We have witnessed one of the worst election-related violent incidences in our history. The massacre of the Mangudadatus who were about to file their certificate of candidacy, as well as their supporters and journalists who went with them, is a crime of the worst kind," he said.

"Given this situation, we should permit early voting to allow our police and election authorities to secure our people from election-related violence," he added.

The senator also stressed that expanding voting period to more than one day would not only increase voter participation, but can also reduce the risk of overworked poll workers making mistakes, and in the scenario of automated elections, the risk of having broken automated election machines.

Rebellion charges deny Maguindanao massacre victims of justice

Pursuing rebellion charges against the suspects in the Maguindanao massacre is an injustice to the victims and their families who have suffered much from the atrocious act, Senator Richard J. Gordon today stressed.

"May malaking posibilidad na hindi mabibigyan ng hustisya ang limampu't pitong (57) biktima ng pagpatay at maraming bilang ng illegal na armas kung hindi ito aabot sa husgado kapag hindi natin ipawawalang bisa ang proklamasyong nagdedeklara ng martial law," Gordon said.

"In declaring a rebellion, you are letting the suspects get away with their worst crimes. If we subscribe to the theory of rebellion, we are part of the crime because we are letting them get away with other heinous offenses. We were thrown out of focus by the declaration of martial law. Our focus must be on justice. Let us keep our focus on the crime of multiple murders," he added.

The senator explained that justice should be given to each and every victim by charging the suspects with every count of murder and illegal possession of firearm committed.

Gordon also said that if the suspects were mere rebels who only wanted to stir unrest and create public disorder, then there was no reason to hide the effects of their crime, and they would not have buried the bodies of the victims, their vehicles and the weapons they used.

"Are we to be cheap politicians and accept the theory that there was a rebellion? Can we look every Filipino in the eye and say that these murderers are mere rebels? That would mean that they are entitled to a lesser offense. They will not be charged for murder, nor for illegal possession of firearms because they may all be absorbed in the crime of rebellion," he stressed.

"Makapal ang mukha nating lahat dito kapag pinabayaan natin na makatakas ang mga pumatay sa mga nagdadalang-tao, sa mga mamamahayag, sa mga abogadong pinaaral ng kanilang mga magulang. Kung hahayaan natin ito, ipagdasal ninyo na huwag mangyari ang ganito sa inyo sapagkat baka pag nangyari iyon, wala ng tatayo para ipaglaban ang inyong karapatan," said Gordon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Transcript of Senator Richard Gordon's statement at the Joint Session of Congress re absence of key gov't officials

Today we make history. This is the first time in our country where a joint session of Congress has been called to review the factual basis of the declaration of Martial Law. This is not a surprise upon any public official in this country. The Constitution is clear that within 48 hours, Congress must be convened to be able to review that action.

I feel very, very disappointed and feel diminished as a senator of this country that the Secretary of National Defense, whom I saw last night, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces could not be here to be able to answer questions on the joint session of Congress.

To my mind, if I may be so bold, we are a co-equal branch of government and the Constitution provides that we must review. And therefore, it behooves the Executive that she sends the highest officials involved in the declaration of Martial Law, the administrators of Martial Law, to appear before the congressmen and the senators, the representatives of the people, para sumagot at magpaliwanag.

Lumalabas na sa hindi nila pagdalo dito na tila, una, binabalewala ang kahalagahan ng Kongreso, ng House of Representatives at ng Senate, sa isang napakaselan na bagay. Walang mas mataas pa na lalabas na issue sa ating panahon kundi itong pagtawag ng Martial Law, kaya dapat nandito sila.

Pangalawa, lumalabas na mahina ang kaso ng gobyerno. Sapagkat kung nakakaalis ang Secretary of National Defense, kung nakakaalis ang Armed Forces Chief of Staff, ibig sabihin hindi napakaselan ng deklarasyon ng Martial Law at lumalabas na mukhang everything is under control.

For those reasons and others, this is the first time, this is the first exercise, first impression to the whole country where the Constitution is now being utilized, pinapakita kung paano babalansehin ng lehislatura ang executive at ito ay dadaan sa Korte Suprema.

Sa pagdeklara ng Martial Law tatlo ang kasama--the Executive who declares it; the Legislature that reviews it; and finally, the arbiter (Supreme Court) of whether there was a valid exercise of the declaration of Martial Law.

Kaya kailangan hindi dapat minamaliit ang okasyon na ito sapagkat lahat ng Congressman, lahat ng Senador ay nandito. Kaya wala akong nakikitang valid reason na sila ay aalis. Pwede silang magpadala ng representative sa MILF Conference, pwede silang magpadala ng representative sa China, pero sa bagay involving the rights of the people, kaya nilagay yan sa Saligang Batas, kaya sinabing kasama ang mga representatives, mga senador, kaya kasama ang Korte Suprema dahil ito ay napakaselan sapagkat maaabuso ang karapatang pantao.

Ang rason na yan ay sinasabi ko in order to say that I find it extremely disappointing, I am dismayed, and I am sure all of us here are dismayed, na parang binabalewala at lumalabas sa akin na mahina ang rason kung bakit dapat ipagpatuloy ang Martial Law sapagkat kaya pala nilang umalis at pwede na talagang i-lift ang Martial Law.

‘Should we declare martial law in Agusan too?’

Faced with another hostage crisis this time in Agusan Del Sur, will the government also resort to martial rule to quell criminals?

This question was posed Thursday by Senator Richard Gordon during the joint session of Congress deliberating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation 1959 that placed under martial law the province of Maguindanao.

At least 57 people were massacred on November 23 by armed men believed to be supporters of the Ampatuan clan.

On Thursday, police have confirmed that at least 65 people, mostly children and teachers, were taken hostage by an armed group in Sitio Maitum, Barangay San Martin in Prosperidad town.

Authorities were to serve an arrest warrant for multiple murder against the group’s leader when the hostage-taking occurred, police have said.

“There were about 100 hostages in Agusan, should we declare martial law there?” Gordon asked the panel of resource persons composed of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Philippine National Police chief Jesus Versoza and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Victor Ibrado.

Gordon stressed that prior to the declaration on December 4, AFP spokesman Romeo Brawner made a statement that there was no need for the province to be placed under martial rule.

Ermita said Brawner was not privy to the meetings of higher authorities, “therefore he is not is a position to say that martial law will be declared.”

Gordon: ‘Should we declare martial law in Agusan too?’

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 19:39:00 12/10/2009

Rebellion charges would allow suspects to get away with the crime.

Sen. Richard Gordon expressed concern that the imposition of martial law in the province has taken public attention away from the massacre of 57 civilians.

Gordon said the filing of rebellion charges would allow the suspects to get away with the crime.

“If we subscribe to the theory of rebellion, we are part of the crime because we are letting them get away with other heinous offenses,” he told Devanadera.

Gordon pointed out rebellion constitutes only one crime which is punishable by one life imprisonment as against 57 counts of murder that carries 57 life sentences.

Gordon shared other lawmakers’ concern that charging the Ampatuans with rebellion might muddle the murder charges because rebellion is a political and not a criminal offense.

Ermita: Martial law proclaimed without actual rebellion

By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) Updated December 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Joint Session - No show of Gonzales, Ibrado a disappointement

Senator Richard Gordon assailed no-shows on the part of Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales and AFP chief of staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, who were out of the country when the joint session started at exactly 4:10 p.m. yesterday.

"We make history today. First time for a joint session to review factual basis of martial law. This is not a surprise; Constitution is clear Congress must be convened. I feel very disappointed and diminished that Sec. of National Defense who I saw last night in a hotel, and the Chief of Staff will not be here. To my mind if I may be so bold, we are a co-equal branch and we must review, it behooves administrators of martial law to appear before representatives. Their non-appearance suggests government case is weak;..."

Joint session hears martial law report
Manila Bulletin
December 10, 2009, 10:15am

Martial Law - 60 days to collect firearms

Sen. Richard Gordon said martial law should have been declared immediately after the massacre but only in Maguindanao.

“Now that it has been declared, the President should formally report to Congress about the declaration,” Gordon said, adding the government should now take steps to collect illegal firearms and bring back peace and order in the province.

“They only have 60 days to do that,” Gordon said.

'Martial law a political solution'

By Reinir Padua
(The Philippine Star)
December 06, 2009 12:00 AM

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Automation system is easier than operating a cellphone

Automation detractors should stop making the people fear the automated election system that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will use in the presidential elections scheduled for May next year said Senator Richard J. Gordon today.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the country and author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the Amended Automated Elections System Law, assured voters that operating the automated machines to be used is easier than operating a cellular phone.

"Let us not be manipulated into fearing the election machines by some people who are trying to stop us from modernizing our democracy and having a clean, honest and credible elections next year," he said in response to reports that with more than the majority of the people not having any knowledge about the new election system, the election would be screwed up which could lead to a no-election scenario.

"Millions of Filipinos are using cellular phones which are much more complicated. The election machines that will be used are easier to operate than a cellphone," he added.

Gordon is running for president under the Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines. Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando is his vice president.

They adopted the moniker, the "Transformers" for their partnership, a fusion of two performers who aim to transform the minds and hearts of the people to build character and create a better Philippines. The Bagumbayan standard-bearer pointed out that the Comelec, which is tasked to oversee elections, should be allowed to carry out their task first before making predictions of doom.

"The Comelec has a time-table that I am sure they are adhering to. They have a schedule for conducting a voters' education campaign. We should consider the timeframe of the survey," he said.

The poll body has assured that they are preparing for a massive voters' education campaign that will be launched this month. The campaign will include television and radio advertisements. Comelec officials will also embark on a nationwide road show to reach the grassroots. "Let us allow the Comelec personnel to do their job first. If they fail, then that is the time to persecute them," Gordon said.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Gordon-Bayani to promote unity, stability, transformation; prioritize education and health

Senator Richard J. Gordon has disclosed that they will promote unity, stability and transformation with education and health as their priority should he and his running mate Bayani Fernando, former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman, win in the May 2010 presidential elections.

Gordon, speaking at ANC's Harapan held at the University of Sto. Tomas, stressed that education is needed to address poverty so that the country could move towards progress and development because poverty is an absence of choice.

"We must put education and health as number one sapagkat kung walang education nasa dilim ang Pilipino. Education should be number one. Kailangan ang mga teachers ma-retrain," he said when asked to bare his priority for his first 100 days in office should he and Fernando win.

"Kailangan mataasan ang sweldo ng mga teachers. kailangan ma-promote natin, katulad ng UST, ang Unity, Stability and Transformation," he added.

Gordon and Fernando are running under the Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines Party. They adopted the moniker, the "Transformers" for their partnership, a fusion of two performers who aim to transform the minds and hearts of the people to build character and create a better Philippines.

The Bagumbayan standard-bearer also bared his intention to turn the whole island of Luzon into a hub for investment by decongesting Manila through the relocation of industries to other areas in Luzon, building more infrastructures and maximizing the utilization of the infrastructures that are already there such as the seaports, airports and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

He also intends to make Visayas the beach capital of the Philippines with tourism as its number one industry, while ensuring the development of aquaculture, agriculture and tourism in Mindanao in order to attain peace in the Southern island.

But Gordon underscored the importance of transforming the Filipino people's values and culture first before the country could start moving towards progress, which he and Fernando plans to achieve by leading by example beginning with their first 100 days in office.

"I have always said that what this country needs is not just a change of men, but a change in men. Baguhin po natin ang kalooban ng bawat Pilipino. We must be a sincerely changed country," he said.

"And for that kailangan mamuno ang liderato by example, from my family, to my political family, to my Cabinet, all must live simply but work harder," he added.

Blue Ribbon to investigate alleged sale of gov't firearms to private armies

A Senate investigation to determine the source of the high-powered firearms that were unearthed near the compound of the Ampatuan clan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao will be conducted by Senator Richard J. Gordon.

"We would like to know where these firearms came from. The committee would look into allegations or speculations that government firearms are being sold or even given by the government to private armies," said Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

The committee will invite as resource persons officials of the Commission on Audit (COA), Department of National Defense (DND), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Gordon noted that during the raids of Ampatuan estates conducted by the military and police personnel, high-powered firearms including anti-tank recoilless rifles, mortars, machine guns, rifles and pistols, and thousands of rounds of ammunition that are enough to arm one battalion were discovered.

The subject high-powered firearms contain the markings of DND and PNP. Some of these weapons were allegedly used in the Maguindanao massacre that killed at least 57 people civilians, last November 23.

"We will ask the COA to audit the DND and PNP to make sure that weapons and firearms purchased by our military and police departments are all accounted for," he said.

The senator also stressed that the government must intensify its efforts in gathering all loose firearms, not only in Maguindanao but also throughout the country to prevent incidences of violence such as the Maguindanao massacre. The PNP pegs the number of unlicensed firearms at 1.11 million units. The ARMM alone has the second highest number of unregistered firearms with over 114,000 units.

"The police officials in Maguindanao should have been instantly relieved after the PNP learned about the massacre," Gordon said.

"Now that Martial Law has been declared in Maguindanao, the President should formally report to Congress about the declaration. In the meantime, the government should now take real steps to collect all illegal firearms in the area and bring back peace and order in the province," he added.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Gordon-Bayani: 3Cs to gain First World status for RP

With the vision to build a better Philippines, Senator Dick Gordon and former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando, candidates for President and Vice-President, said that change, commitment and continuity are the three important elements that would bring the country to a First World status.

Speaking from their experience as former local chief executives, the formidable duo of the Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines party stressed that change is necessary for development and progress, but there must be commitment and continuity to achieve the goal of a genuinely transformed nation.

“Our aim is to make the country First World. But there’s got to be a gestation period before you achieve that. Japan took 19 years after the war to do so; Singapore got its independence in 1965, and now it beats many countries in Asia. That is because there is consistency of policy,” Gordon said in an interview over Magic 89.9 FM radio.

He added that a six-year term is not enough to implement all the programs necessary to be a First World nation, which is why he has a teammate that not only would help him do the serious and tough job of leading the country towards that goal, but would also continue the programs after his term.

“One of the things that we need to learn in our country is teamwork. I’m not going to use Bayani as a spare tire. When you have a vice-president, you have to be able to rely on him. It’s a partnership,” Gordon stressed.

“Bayani and I can do the job very well because I think he complements me and I try to complement him as far as I can. That is why Bayani and I said, after me, he takes over. That’s the whole point—continuity,” he added.

Fernando, for his part, said that having the same vision and principles got him and Gordon together.

“I am convinced that he (Gordon) can lead us to where our country should be. That is why he was able to convince me to be his vice-president. I have no doubt that we can be good partners. We can both promote and work well on the principles that got us together,” he said.

The tandem is famous for their track record of successfully transforming their respective turfs into model cities or areas—Gordon as mayor of Olongapo City and founding chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority; and Fernando as local chief executive of Marikina City and chairman of the MMDA.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Leaders must look at the past to transform RP into a better country

Honoring the nation's heroes, as they filed their certificates of candidacy for President and Vice-President under the Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines Party, Senator Richard Gordon and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando, respectively on Tuesday visited the Bagumbayan (Rizal Park)in Manila.

"We pay tribute to our heroes because we give importance to our history. We must look at our past with pride and honor so that we can move forward to the future with hope and confidence," Gordon said.

"We honored our national heroes in Bagumbayan, the very land fertilized by their blood, to make their dream of a new country a reality. Rizal never saw it but he meant for us to see it and to build it-a new country that is enabled, ennobled and free. And if it is to be, it is up to us," he added.

The senator explained that the Bagumbayan Party is a group of individuals united by a common vision for the nation, inspired by the courage and bravery of Lapu-Lapu and the ideals and wisdom of Jose Rizal, and empowered by the spirit of volunteerism.

Gordon and Fernando offered wreaths at the monuments of Lapu-Lapu and Rizal, and then marched to the office of the Commission on Elections, passing through the walls of Intramuros to symbolize their challenge to the Filipino people: "to emulate the courage of Lapu-Lapu and the wisdom of Rizal so that we can break the walls of apathy and cynicism in our minds that were built by our colonial past; so that we can move forward and build a better Philippines."

The Bagumbayan Party standard bearer and his running mate are both famous for the successful transformation of their communities into model cities. The tandem boasts of a common vision, competence, political will, and track record which prove that they have already broken the walls in their minds.

Gordon was a Mayor of Olongapo City, which he transformed from a sin city into a model city; Founding Chairman and Administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), leading an army of volunteers to create a boomtown after the bases left; Secretary of Tourism, where he developed the "WOW Philippines" campaign; Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), where he led rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts; and Senator, where he authored the Amended Automated Elections System Law and the Tourism Act of 2009, among others.

Fernando, a professional Mechanical Engineer, is a former Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways. He was also a three-term City Mayor of Marikina, transforming the former municipality into one of the best-managed cities and a paradigm of responsive and effective governance. As MMDA Chairman, he introduced programs and projects that dramatically changed Metro Manila into a livable metropolis.

Gordon announces presidential bid, BF as running mate for 2010 polls

With a vision to effect genuine change for the nation, Senator Richard Gordon and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando formalized today their bid to run for the country's top two positions.

Gordon announced that he will run for President under the Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines (VNP) party. Fernando is his running mate.

"The time has come for action and results! This is a partnership of proven change, transformers of hearts and minds, builders of character and communities for a better Philippines. The future of our country is in our hands. Together, we can build a BAGUMBAYAN," he said.

Gordon and Fernando filed today their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections office after a wreath-laying ceremony at the monuments of Lapu-Lapu and Jose Rizal, the inspirations of the Bagumbayan-VNP party, at Bagumbayan (Rizal Park) in Manila.

In making his important announcement, Gordon stressed that the electorate should look into the track record of the candidates and study what they are consistently doing in their communities that make a difference in the lives of the people.

"Our country needs a leader and not just a political figure. We need leaders with vision, competence and track record. We need leaders who know not only what the country needs, but also what should be prioritized among those needs and how each necessity should be addressed," he said.

Gordon was a Mayor of Olongapo City and Founding Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). He turned Olongapo from a sin city into a model city and transformed the Subic naval base into a progressive Freeport.

As Secretary of Tourism, he rejuvenated the country's tourism industry with his "WOW Philippines!" campaign; and as chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), he made possible the organization's modernization.

As Senator, Gordon introduced measures that the country needs such as the Amended Automated Elections System Law, the Veterans Equity law, and the Tourism Act of 2009, among others.

On the other hand, Fernando, a three-term City Mayor of Marikina, transformed the former municipality into one of the best-managed cities and a paradigm of responsive and effective governance. During his incumbency, Marikina City was accorded 55 citations and distinctions

As MMDA Chairman, he introduced programs and projects that dramatically changed Metro Manila into a livable metropolis.