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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maestranza wall restoration a step towards reviving the glory of Intramuros

WATCH Video of Maestranza Wall Inspection

The completion of the walls of Intramuros, with the restoration of the Maestranza Wall, should signal the start of developing the Walled City as a historic and cultural landmark, Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.

“In restoring the Maestranza wall, we reclaim not only our history and heritage but also chart a bold, new direction for our country’s future,” Gordon said.

“The Maestranza restoration project as well as efforts to revitalize Intramuros is not just about bringing our past back to life for students of history, it is also about giving livelihood to thousands who will benefit from increased tourist traffic,” he added.

The refurbished Maestranza Wall, which was inspected by June 16 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Gordon, is part of the latter’s vision to make Intramuros the Philippine’s largest cultural and historical museum like the Smithsonian Institute.

During his term as tourism secretary, Gordon had secured a commitment of $5-million donation from the Japanese government, through former Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kojiro Takano, to help in rebuilding the part of the wall of Intramuros that was destroyed in World War II.

Other projects envisioned for Intramuros include an Islamic-Ecclesiastical Center apart from different types of museums that will undertake the exhibition and safekeeping of various archeological and historical treasures.

“Intramuros tells us the story of thousands of Filipino heroes who fought against two global super powers and won our nation’s freedom. It also tells us that our freedom is something we continue to fight for as we do the work of lifting millions out of poverty, providing security to those under threat, and create economic opportunities,” Gordon said.

“The walls of Intramuros remind us that we must challenge ourselves to continuously fight to break free from the walls in our minds. With these significant points, we hope that the next administration would continue to support current efforts to restore Intramuros to its rightful place,” he stressed. (30)

WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY: Gordon urges youth to donate blood

As the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joins different countries across the globe in celebrating World Blood Donor Day, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon encouraged the youth to become voluntary blood donors.

PRC recruits young people in various schools to become voluntary blood donors through the Pledge 25 Program. The organization contributed 38% of the country’s national blood collection in 2009.

“I urge the youth to make a difference in the community by donating blood and enlisting other young people to become donors,” said Gordon.

The World Blood Donor Day takes place every June 14 to pay tribute to people who voluntarily donate blood and thereby help save lives. Since 2004, this event has been jointly sponsored by four principal agencies: the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations (IFBDO) and the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). For this year, the celebration is dedicated to young donors, with the slogan “new blood for the world.”

“I hope that the younger generation will emerge as a new set of unpaid donors who will provide quality and safe blood supply when the need arises,” stated Gordon.  
The PRC chairman also expressed his gratitude to individuals who regularly donate blood without expecting any reward. 

“I would like to thank all selfless blood donors who make up the foundation of a safe blood supply. Patients who were saved from the deathbeds owe their lives to these unsung heroes,” said Gordon.

To ensure the public of an adequate blood supply, PRC intensifies its blood donor recruitment activities. All PRC blood service facilities collect blood from low-risk population through community mobile donations involving Project 143 blood donors. Project 143 is a volunteer recruitment project which endeavors to recruit at least 43 volunteers in every barangay, nine of which will promote voluntary blood donation.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Print bigger ovals in future polls

MANILA, Philippines—Something as simple and logical as using bigger ovals in the ballot could prevent the threat of millions of votes being nullified in future elections.

Defeated presidential candidate Sen. Richard Gordon made this suggestion Thursday after noting that the ovals in the ballots used in the May 10 elections were printed so close together in a lengthy piece of paper.

“There was such a big room for error, especially for people with poor eyesight. I had to be extra careful while shading,” Gordon said in Filipino.

The senator as reacting to reports that up to three million votes would be nullified if those cast in the vice presidential race were declared null.

Among the reasons: the shading of more than one oval in the space for vice president; an improperly shaded oval and votes that were not tallied at all in the certificates of canvass because of incomplete transmissions by automated machines.

“I would not (blame) lack of education (for null votes) because there was a lot of education in informing the voters what do to. It was a matter of being careful in marking the ballot. It's really carelessness. In school, we learned to follow instructions,” the Bagumbayan standard-bearer said in a news conference Thursday morning.

“The rules were clear. Mark the oval. Don't mark more than one oval in positions that require only one person. If a voter shades two ovals, that is a problem not related to education. That's just carelessness,” he added.

Nullified votes, Gordon noted, should be blamed on human error and not on the precinct count optical scan machines that were programmed to recognize properly-shaded ovals.

“The machines are disciplined to count votes properly. If (people) put marks properly and not (shade) twice for the same position, then there would be no problem,” said Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on electoral reforms.

Lawyers of vice presidential candidates Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Sen. Mar Roxas are at loggerheads over whether the Commission on Elections should recognize faulty ovals.

Roxas' lawyer complained that the number of null votes for vice president was noticeably high in areas considered his bailiwicks.

Gordon also suggested that ballots in future elections should have a different lay-out with the names of the standard bearer and his running mate printed one above the other so that voters can locate and shade them more easily.

“A more organized lay-out of the names of standard bearer and running mate would have made things easier for voters. Also a shorter ballot. There (were) too many presidential candidates, there's got to be vetting because there were too many independents. Unfortunately, you cannot legislate that there should only be two parties to shorten the ballot. If we had bloc voting, that would be automatic. You vote for the president and his running mate,” Gordon said.

The senator also offered other, more realistic reforms that would help the Comelec handle future elections.

“We need to overhaul Comelec (by) putting more computer literate individuals because young people now are becoming more literate so we need more and more of these young people,” he explained.

Gordon also wants the government to consider implementing the much-ballyhooed national ID system. “If only to save money, automate the registration in the national ID system and have it double as the holder's card for either the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System,” he said.

Gordon also wants the Comelec to consider allowing voting and registration in supermarkets and malls, “for two to three days in transparent areas, especially in the provinces so people do not have to converge in schools all the time.”

“If we make registration automated, then Comelec registrars would be a thing of the past. And we need to go back to having only three Comelec commissioners,” he said. At present, there are six commissioners and one chairman in the poll body.

Print bigger ovals in future polls, says Gordon

By Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:43:00 06/03/2010

Tourism needs cerebral, pragmatic head

Defeated presidential candidate Senator Richard Gordon said on Thursday he is not going to lobby for any position in government when president-elect Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III formally assumes his position after being proclaimed by Congress.

But Gordon said he would consider any government post should Aquino offer him one.

“Well I love my country but I’m not going to lobby for any position in this country. Even as tourism secretary (before) I did not lobby for it,” Gordon said in a weekly press conference at the Senate.

“If Noynoy thinks I can be of service then I’ll think about it but I’ll respect whatever he wants,” Gordon said.

But the outgoing senator urged Aquino to study very carefully the people he considering for any Cabinet position.

Gordon, in particular, pointed out that the next administration should consider appointing somebody “cerebral and pragmatic” for the Department of Tourism.

Senator Aquino had earlied mulled on appointing celebrity host Eugenio “Boy” Abunda Jr. as the next Tourism Secretary. Abunda, however, declined Aquino’s invitation.

“Tourism is very important you have to get somebody that is not from showbiz but also one who is cerebral and pragmatic,” Gordon said.

“It’s because the tourism industry has many facets, it’s not only about advertising. We need representation in the World Tourism Organization,” he added.
Tourism needs cerebral, pragmatic head - Gordon  
Manila Bulletin
June 3, 2010, 5:43pm