Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 April 2016


Last week’s column on the pros and cons of candidates Jejomar Binay and Rodrigo Duterte elicited these reactions from Readers:

On Binay: He says that he will bring to the Philippines what he has brought to Makati. That means that the Filipino people will get less than what they are now getting. The poor are now getting (from the conditional cash transfer program or 4Ps) P15,000 a year from the government, much more than Binay’s programs for the poor. Senior citizens are entitled to P500 a month or P6,000 a year, more than the P1,000-P2,000 that Makati gives all its seniors and more than enough for a cake.

On Duterte: You forgot the Quibuloy factor. Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and Duterte are known to be very close. Quibuloy is known among the Manobo as a land-grabber, and he often drops Duterte’s name. From another Reader: You did not mention a big pro for Duterte—he does not accept campaign contributions from big business magnates.

As for Grace Poe and Mar Roxas, we continue from last week.

Grace Poe: On competence, the pros: She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College, major in government and political theory (she did her first two college years at UP Manila). In high school, she won oratorical, debating, and extemporaneous speech contests.

Her work experience (in the United States) includes teaching preschool (3-6-year-olds). She “worked in the scientific technologies field”—i.e., she was in procurement liaison (1998-1999) and was a product manager (2001-2004).

She came back in 2005, and took over as vice president and treasurer of FPJ Productions and Film Archives Inc. until 2010 when she ran for the Senate, but withdrew before the campaign period started. She was active for a while in Kontra Daya, an election watchdog of the late Fr. Joe Dizon.

Her first government job was as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a two-year stint. She became senator in 2013. Her website cites as accomplishments Republic Act No. 10649 (an amendatory law to the Dangerous Drugs Act) and RA 10639 (mandating telcos to send free disaster and calamity alerts to subscribers and citizens).

Cons: Her accomplishments/experience are relatively sparse. Her “first priority” as a senator, according to news reports at the time, was the proposed Sustansya sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2013 (not yet passed).

On people empowerment, her pros: As MTRCB chair, she reformed the rating system to make it easier for viewers to guide themselves. Her time with Kontra Daya was for the people. Her priorities (unfulfilled) are in the right place: breaking the link between hunger and poverty; fighting for the freedom of information bill.

Cons: Her Senate campaign promises are still unfulfilled. What does that say about her presidential campaign promises, the latest being that within one month of her presidency, people will feel more secure (obviously a counter to Duterte’s three-six months to stop corruption promise)? Candidates promise the moon to get elected, and by the time people find out it cannot be done, it is too late. This is not people-empowering.

On integrity, her pros: No charge of corruption has been hurled against her. She has a clean slate. She is a great wife, daughter, and mother. Church-going.

Her cons: There are sins of omission and commission with regard to truth-telling (forgot to mention until recently that her husband was with the US Air Force); tends to say what her audience wants to hear (tried to make points with the Iglesia ni Cristo during its demonstration on Edsa last year). She became an American citizen for convenience, and then reverted to Filipino citizenship, also for convenience (the MTRCB job required it).

Other factors: Her campaign expenditures are apparently largely financed by the likes of San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon Ang (her husband’s boss), and billionaire Ricky Razon. What is the “sukli”?

Mar Roxas: On competence, his pros: He’s a graduate of Wharton Business School (major in economics), an investment banker in America. Congressman for seven years, senator for six years, in the executive branch for nine years, with DTI, DOTC, DILG. As legislator, authored/sponsored several laws such as RA 8759 establishing in municipalities a Public Employment Service Office as an employment facilitation and information center, and linking job opportunities within the region; RA 7880 ensuring fair distribution of the education capital budget among provinces. He authored the Cheaper Medicines Law, overcoming a tremendous lobby by big pharma.

In the executive branch, he is the acknowledged father of the BPO (call centers); initiator of the Personal Computers for Public Schools Program (helping over 500,000 high school students); the Sulong Program, which granted over P26 billion in loans to SMSEs in its first year; the Tamang Timbang, Tamang Presyo program for consumers in the marketplace; and Oplan Lambat-Sibat (anticrime) and Oplan Likas (disaster management). His website has more information on his accomplishments.

His cons: He is acccused of being indecisive because he insists on considering all the options. Also accused of not listening to advice. Which is it, folks? He is accused of “doing nothing” at the DOTC, over which he presided for 14 months, especially with regard to the MRT problem and of shortcomings on “Yolanda.”

With regard to people empowerment, his pros: Everything he has done is propeople. He also came up with Bottoms-Up Budgeting, which gives people at the barangay level more power to choose their projects.

With regard to integrity: In all his 23 years of public service, not once has he been tainted by corruption. He has shown utmost selflessness in dedication to the country. I haven’t caught him in a lie. He is a decent, God-fearing man.

Cons: He comes from wealth.