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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to donate to Typhoon Ondoy Red Cross relief effort

1. CASH or CHECK Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross. We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

2. BANK DEPOSIT Account Name: The Phil. Nat’l. Red Cross METROBANK Port Area Branch Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122- 8 Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218- 2 Type of Acct. : SAVINGS Swift Code: MBTC PH MM BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS Port Area Branch Peso Acct.: 4991-0010-99 Type of Account: CURRENT BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS UN Branch Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94 Type of Account: SAVINGS Swift Code: BOPI PH MM

For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.

Please fax the following info to +632.404.09. 79 and +632.527.0575: Name of card member, billing address, contact nos. (phone & mobile), credit card no., expiration date, CCV2/ CVC2 (last three digits at the back of the credit card), billing address, amount to be donated.

4. ONLINE donations via Paypal at email give@redcross.org.ph or you may also visit our website at www.redcross.org.ph

5. SMS Donations: text REDAMOUNT to 2899 (Globe, amount can be 100 or 300) or 4483 (Smart, amount can be 50 or 100)

Donations in kind to the Red Cross:

Please send in-kind local donations to The Philippine National Red Cross – National Headquarters in Manila. We could also arrange for donation pick-up.

Starting 29 September from 8am to 8pm donations may be dropped off at The Blue Leaf Events Pavillon (Banyan Pavillon), 100 Park Avenue, McKinley Hill Village, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.


1. Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC
2. A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor
3. Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation, (b) copy of packing list and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to The Philippine National Red Cross–National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Gwen Pang, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.

Relief and rehabilitation fund drive for Ondoy victims

Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Chairman Senator Richard J. Gordon shows to Singaporean Ambassador A Selverajah (left) and Korean Ambassador Choi Joong Kyung (right) a replica of the houses built by the PNRC for victims of disasters, which have already reached over 15,000 homes in different parts of the country. The two ambassadors visited Gordon at the PNRC national headquarters to give donations for victims of Typhoon “Ondoy”.

To concentrate on his humanitarian work as chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) has cancelled his trip to Geneva.

Gordon, who is also a member of the governing board of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), was set to leave today (Sept. 29) for Geneva to attend the IFRC board meeting.

However, after the onslaught of Typhoon "Ondoy", which devastated Metro Manila and some parts of Central and Southern Luzon, the senator cancelled his trip to be at the helm of the PNRC's rescue and relief efforts for the victims of the disaster.

"We always have to think of our country and our people first. It is during these times of disasters that each and every one of us should work together as a nation to help our fellow Filipinos who are in dire need of our assistance and support," Gordon said.

"Alleviating human suffering and uplifting human dignity through volunteerism--that is what the Red Cross stands for. And we want to assure everyone that the Philippine National Red Cross is working hard to reach out to as many victims, especially to the most vulnerable of our countrymen," he added.

It can be recalled that in July 2008, Gordon skipped a trip to the United States (US) with other government officials led by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be able to attend to the needs of the victims of Typhoon "Frank"..

Meanwhile, the PNRC chairman has made an appeal for donations, assistance, and support from both local and international communities for the relief and rehabilitation work of the country's premier humanitarian organization.

Gordon expressed gratitude to the companies, organizations and institutions in the country and to the private citizens who have already donated or have pledged donations to the PNRC.

Donations and assistance from the international community have also started pouring in, including $30,000 from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and $10,000 from the People's Republic of China. The US government has provided $50,000 worth of rubber boats and has pledged an additional donation of $50,000.

On Tuesday, a check amounting to $50,000 from Mr. Lee Soo Young, Chairman and chief executive officer of OCI Company Ltd. from Korea, coursed through Korean Ambassador Choi Joong Kyung, was turned over to Gordon.

Singaporean Ambassador A Selverajah also handed over $20,000 worth of relief items as initial donation from the Singaporean government.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Foreign aid for Ondoy victims - US, China donate through Red Cross

The United States embassy has donated $50,000 for the flood victims caused by incessant rains of typhoon Ondoy.

In a text message Saturday afternoon, Rebecca Thompson of the public affairs office of the US embassy in Manila said Ambassador Kristie Kenney has called Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon to offer the money for immediate disaster relief.

The money is coursed through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of US Agency for International Development.

Thompson also said embassy officials are in touch with officials of the National Disaster Coordinating Council to determine what other assistance the US may offer.

"Damage this storm has caused is heartbreaking," she said.

China on Sunday donated $10,000 (about half a million pesos) for the victims of typhoon Ondoy.

In a statement, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao said the donation will be coursed through the Philippine National Red Cross.

The ambassador phoned PNRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon to tell him about the donation; the check will be immediately delivered to the PNRC.

Describing the damages caused by incessant rains and unexpected floods as “heartbreaking,” the ambassador also conveyed the sympathy of the Chinese government and people who “were saddened by loss of lives.”

Ambassador Liu also expressed confidence that the Philippines would soon overcome the natural disaster and that “the social life would be back to normal very soon.”

The senator, for his part, thanked the embassy and the Chinese people for the emergency assistance.

US donates $50,000 to flood victims

First Posted 09:31:00 09/27/2009

China donates $10,000 for Ondoy victims

First Posted 18:55:00 09/27/2009

Typhoon Ondoy Cainta Rescue, pregnant gives birth to baby girl

From Sunday until 3:30 am on Monday, Philippine National Red Cross chair Senator Richard Gordon together with Cainta Mayor Mon Ilagan, Red Cross volunteers and ASCOM personnel went to Vista Verde Executive Homes along Felix Avenue where they rescued many trapped children, pregnant women and elderly.

Abigail Jose pregnant below, one of those rescued this morning recently gave birth to a baby girl at Medical City.

100 dead, 300,000 displaced in Luzon alone.

(CNN) — The death toll from flooding in the Philippines caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana climbed to at least 100 on Monday, disaster officials said.

Flood water began to subside after a weekend that saw the capital, Manila, hit with its heaviest rainfall in more than 40 years.

More than 80 percent of the capital was under water at one point Sunday. The deluge swallowed whole houses and buses.

Manila, in the island of Luzon, and the nearby province of Rizal bore the brunt of the storm. People huddled on rooftops Sunday waiting on army helicopters to pluck them to safety. Others used ropes to wade through waist-deep muddy waters.

Power and water supply failed in some areas. Roads were rendered impassable, making rescue efforts challenging.

“Right now the challenge is to find out how many people have actually died and how many people we have to take care of in terms of people who’ve been displaced,” said Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippines National Red Cross.

“We’re really talking about maybe hundreds of thousands of people,” with about 280,000 to 300,000 displaced in the island of Luzon alone, he said.

Though the Philippines is no stranger to floods, Saturday’s downpours approached a record, with a month’s worth of rain falling within six hours.

Officials worried that if the rains return, they could bring more floods if reservoirs burst.

“We’re hoping that there will be no more breaching of the dams,” Gordon said. “That’s one of the things that are very disconcerting to many people right now.”

100 dead, hundreds of thousands displaced in Philippines flood
CNN Wires
September 28th, 2009
Posted: 02:39 AM ET

95 dead, five bodies recovered in Marikina

At least 95 people are dead in the Philippines after a tropical storm swept through the main island of Luzon yesterday, the government said, as the country’s Red Cross warned the death toll could reach “several hundreds.”

The toll will probably rise as waters recede and bodies are discovered, said Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross.

“Now that the sun has risen, we found five bodies in several seconds” in Marikina, northern Manila, Gordon said in a telephone interview today. “A lot of people are lost out there,” including landslide victims and fishermen who were at sea when the storm hit. At least 24 people have been reported missing, the government said.

Floods forced thousands to flee their homes, seek refuge in upper floors or await rescue on their roofs after the storm dumped record amounts of rain. Television channels broadcast footage of people wading through chest-deep water surging through city streets and people clambering on top of submerged cars to escape the floods. Even SUVs were swept away by the torrent of floodwater.

“We were all totally caught unprepared, this was supposed to be a small typhoon,” Gordon said, adding the government was “caught with its pants down.”

There was “hardly any distribution of forces” and “very little announcement about the overspill of water” from at least one dam, worsening the plight of nearby residents, Gordon added.

Philippines Storm Death Toll at 95, May Be ‘Hundreds’
By Francisco Alcuaz Jr. and Cecilia Yap

Thursday, September 24, 2009


The approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives in a bicameral conference of the proposal adding a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine Flag has elated different sectors of the Muslim community.

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.), author of Senate Bill 3307 proposing the ninth ray, said Muslim Filipinos welcomed the bicam approval because it is expected to further promote respect, understanding, and acceptance between Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos.

"This measure would further promote national unity. Our Muslim brothers hailed this act. They wanted to celebrate it for the Eid'l Fitr Festival last Monday because this is a great step in recognizing their role in the fight for the nation's independence. We owe it to our Muslim brothers who have contributed many things but have become totally marginalized," he said.

Atty. Pangnal Datu Ramos, legal counsel of the Bangsa Moro Civil Society and former Vice Governor of Lanao del Sur, said that Gordon's initiative displays his statesmanship and respect for the Filipino Muslims.

"The Bangsa Moro people will never forget Senator Dick Gordon's consistent advocacy of recognizing the heroic struggle for freedom of the Bangsa Moro people that led to the approval of the 9th ray in our country's national flag. Senator Gordon displays his statesmanship and respect for the Filipino Muslims, sorely lacking in our national leaders. May his tribe increase," Datu Ramos said.

For his part, Congressman Munir Arbison of the 2nd District of Sulu stated that "the people of Sulu thank Senator Gordon for his bill honoring Filipino Muslims who, history tells, have fought foreign intruders for hundreds of years to protect and preserve our unique and inspiring way of life."

Meanwhile, Datu Norodin Alonto Lucman, a Moro Historian, said that having the ninth ray makes him feel good "to be part of the Republic."

"I am so proud that after more than a century of non-recognition of our heroic ancestors who gave up their lives for the freedom of our country, the Senate finally added a 9th ray to the flag in honor of their heroism and historical role in the independence of our country," Lucman said.

Those who also expressed their elation over the measure include Bai Samirah Gutoc of the Young Moro Professionals Network; Ambassador Abul Khayr D. Alonto, Moro Leader and co-founder of the Moro National Liberation Front; Datu Haron Demarunsing of the Muslim Traders Group of Zamboanga; Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Regional Legislative Assembly; Datu Mohammad Dimaporo Dimalna, Vice Mayor of Binidayan, Lanao del Sur; Atty. Aymee Biruar-Metmug from a group of young Moro lawyers; Norodin Bin Hashim, an overseas Filipino Worker in Qatar who is a member of the 9th Ray Mindanao Movement; and Datu Drieza Lininding, a Moro youth leader.

Gordon said that the warm welcome of many Muslims to the ninth ray implies that they already feel that they are gradually being respected, understood, and accepted.

He pointed out that it is important to recognize the efforts and contributions of the Muslim Filipinos in the country's history so that they would not feel marginalized and Filipinos would be united regardless of creed.

"With their courage, bravery and integrity, our Muslim heroes left an imprint on national history that, at the very least, must be given due recognition in the most heraldic item of national importance--the Philippine flag," Gordon said.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Use education to uplift the Filipino people

Education is not only a tool for personal growth but also an instrument to uplift the level of behavior and standard of living of the nation's citizenry, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) said.

Gordon conveyed the message at the 2009 National Convention of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), which was attended by around 2000 Catholic school officials, students, nuns, representatives from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), and members of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA).

"Some people go to education for the title, so you have lawyers. We have 49,000 lawyers in this country but we don't have justice. We have doctors who want to be nurses because the pursuit is material things," he said.

"I am a graduate of a Catholic school. We were taught to be a man for others, to do things for the greater glory of God. But what is important is to use your education in such a manner that you uplift your people," he added.

Gordon said that being able to draw out the best from a people is the first thing that the country's leaders are supposed to do. However, he pointed out that if the citizens, who elect the nation's leaders, are not provided with nor have access to quality education, they would not be able to discern well and choose wisely.

Friday, September 18, 2009

On Supreme Court ruling against premature campaigning

The SC decision has strengthened the argument that aspirants for the 2010 elections are violating the law by clogging the tri-media with infomercials, Gordon said.

“The law clearly states that there is a specific period of time when campaigning is allowed,” he said.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is laudable and it should be a strong warning to all candidates that they must adhere to the law.

“The purpose of the campaign period is to level the playing field for all candidates. The whole law was formulated to make sure that nobody should be allowed to campaign before the campaign period.”

Bets warned vs early campaigning
By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated September 18, 2009 12:00 AM

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bulakeños dared to take the lead in making RP no. 1 in Asia

Bulakeños were dared to take the lead in making the Philippines number one in Asia today by Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.).

Gordon posed the challenge during the 2009 Singkaban Fiesta held in Malolos, Bulacan where he was the guest of honor and keynote speaker.

"Bulacan is one of the most progressive provinces in the Philippines . Ang income niyo ay mas malaki pa sa Cebu. Dapat ang goal natin ay maging gaya ng Singapore na No. 1 sa buong Asya," he said.

"Ang Bulacan ang pambato natin. Ang mga lider ninyo pinalalabas ang galing ng Bulacan kaya ang lalawigan niyo ngayon ang nagbabagsak ng pagkain sa Central Luzon . You are the largest supplier of pork in Metro Manila at kayo po ang nagsu-supply ng aqua-culture o ng mga isda. Kayo din po ang nagsu-supply ng fireworks tuwing Bagong Taon at nagsu-supply din po kayo ng matatalinong mga lider sa ating bayan," he added.

In 2006, the Commission on Audit (COA) cited Bulacan as the top income-grossing province, with P1.7-billion income, surpassing the previous topnotcher, Cebu, which had P1.6-billion income.

Bulacan is well-known for the following industries: marble and marbleized limestone; jewelry; pyrotechnics; leather; aquaculture; meat and meat products; garments; furniture; high-value crops; sweets and native delicacies and; a wide variety of high-quality native products.

Bulacan supplies 60% of Metro Manila's pork requirements. It has also become the leading province in bangus production, producing 28,110 metric tons of bangus annually.

Gordon commended Bulakeños for holding the Singkaban (Sining at Kalinangan ng Bulakan) Fiesta, an annual festival that displays the arts and heritage of the different towns.

He added that promoting its rich heritage in culture and the arts in such festivities and its numerous historical sites would ensure a thriving tourism industry for Bulacan.

"Gawin nating tourist destination ang Calumpit River at ang iba pang historical sites dito sa lalawigan. Lagyan natin ng binebenta nating ulam, pakwan, barbecue, at iba pa. Ipakita natin ang kaakit-akit na sining at kalinangan. We take it for granted na nakikita nating madalas iyan, pero ang foreigners gustong-gusto nilang makita ang galing ng Pilipino," Gordon said.

Championing the move to create a Mindanao economic development authority

The need for an agency that would primarily carry out economic and social reforms in Mindanao to ensure the growth and development that the island deserves is vital stressed Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.).

Gordon said that there are boundless opportunities for development in Mindanao, but he pointed out that there has to be an authority that would effect a serious and comprehensive long-term program for socio-economic development in the area that is commensurate to the demands of a modern economy.

"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," he said during the committee hearing on the bill creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA).

"We are living in a borderless world. We can communicate by internet, by text, anywhere in the world. We can send our tuna to Japan talking through the internet without even having to go to Japan. But without the necessary infrastructure to bring out our products, we would not be able to compete with the rest of the world," he added.

Gordon, author of Senate Bill 3260 (MEDA Act of 2009), said that Mindanao's rich soil accounts for bountiful harvests of a variety of farm products such as rubber, pineapple, banana and mangosteen, among others.

He added that the region is likewise endowed with rich mineral resources including lead, iron and gold. Cultural diversity and the island's natural beauty make Mindanao one of Asia's favored tourist destinations.

Despite these resources, Gordon noted that decades of armed conflict have taken its toll on Mindanao. In fact, 45% of consistently poor provinces in the country are in Mindanao.

"We have had a long, 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," Gordon said.

"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," he added.

Gordon said he strongly supports the creation of the MEDA to promote, coordinate, and facilitate the participation of all sectors towards the socio-economic development of Mindanao.

He 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.

"Mindanao has been touted as the land of promise. But we have to make sure that the authority is established so that we can see the promise of Mindanao, MindaNOW, not tomorrow, but today," Gordon said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

39M Filipinos to own their lands through free patent bill

Approximately 39 million Filipinos would be able to legally obtain the lands that they possessed in the concept of owner for a long period of time once the free patent bill is passed into law, Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.

Gordon said there are 24 million land parcels in the Philippines and approximately half of these parcels remain untitled. Under the present law, titles to commercial and industrial lands can only be obtained through judicial confirmation of free patent.

"But many landowners, despite possession of their land by virtue of their compliance with the conditions of the law, have chosen not to do anything due to the high cost, long delay, and inconvenient procedures of judicial confirmation of free patent," he said.

The senator explained that such situation, where many land parcels remain untitled, make for bad economics, because landowners cannot secure loans on their property for business and home improvement since they lack title to their property; 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.

It is in this light that the free patent bill was proposed.

Gordon, one of the authors of Senate Bill 3429 (an Act Reforming the Administrative Titling Process), said that the bill aims to ease the requirements and/or procedures in the titling of residential and commercial lands.

The salient features of the bill include: the reduction of the period of eligibility for titling from 30 years to 10 years; the issuance of free patents without payment of outstanding real estate taxes; the extension of free patents to residential lands (in all municipalities and cities) regardless of income classification; and the removal of restrictions after patent issuance.

"This bill would benefit the millions of landowners who have not been able to secure titles to lands that they have occupied, cultivated or possessed for more than ten years now," he said.

"Once they avail of the free patent, these families will be able to sleep better because they have secure titles to their lands. They will be able to obtain loans from their banks if they need to; bequeath the property or divide it among their children if they wish to; and get a higher value for their property because they now have a registered title," he added.

Information technology will enable and ennoble the people

The importance of developing information and communications technology (ICT) in the country to enhance its global competitiveness said Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.).

Gordon, in his keynote address at the 7th Youth Congress in Information Technology, said information technology (IT) would equalize the opportunities for people and give voice even to the most marginalized sectors.

"Napakahalaga ng computer industry sa panahon ngayon. IT will equalize the opportunities for people. That is what IT will bring to all of us. It will enable and ennoble the people. Magkakaroon tayo ng boses," he said at the annual conference organized by the University of the Philippines Information Technology Training Center .

"Speed and information are the names of the game. Kung mabagal tayo, matatalo tayo ng ibang mga bansa, mapag-iiwanan tayo," he added.

Recognizing the importance of IT in the country's development, the senator co-sponsored Senate Bill 2546, which proposes to create a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The DICT shall serve as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating and administrative entity of the executive branch of the government that will plan, promote and help develop the country's ICT sector.

Gordon explained that the DICT would maximize the country's gains on the IT sector. He added that he has used modern communications technology in the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), which paved the way for faster and more efficient delivery of relief services.

For some years now, the PNRC, which he chairs, has been using mobile phones as early warning system, reaction system, and initial life-saving system during emergencies.

In line with his modernization programs for the PNRC, Gordon launched the Red Cross 143 and created an Operations Center equipped with computers and televisions. The operations center is also connected to all PNRC chapters for prompt response to emergencies.

The senator also said that modern communications technology could be an effective tool in promoting democracy, particularly through the computerization of the 2010 Elections.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the Philippines and author of Republic Act 9369 (Amended Automated Election System Law), said that poll automation will not only elevate the country's electoral exercise from third world to world-class but also bring credibility to the elections system and in the leaders of the country.

Senate passes Bataan Freeport bill

The Senate passed on third reading last Monday a bill that proposes to convert the Bataan Economic Zone (BEZ) in Mariveles, Bataan into a special economic zone and Freeport .

Senator Richard J. Gordon ( Ind. ), co-author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2118 or the Freeport Area of Bataan Act of 2009, welcomed its passage, adding that the creation of a Freeport in Bataan will spur development, not only in the province of Bataan , but also in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the whole of Luzon .

"The conversion into a Freeport and special economic zone of the BEZ will generate more investments for the province which will help the government address the problem of increasing unemployment in the country," he said.

"With its proximity to Metro Manila, the Freeport Area of Bataan will attract more foreign investors and has the potential of becoming a busy trade center in Asia once developed to its fullest after a port that could service both local and international trade is successfully put in place," he added.

The bill was passed with 14 affirmative votes, 2 negative votes, and one abstention. HB05344, its counterpart bill in the House of Representatives, was passed on third reading on Dec. 8, 2009 and transmitted to the Senate on Dec. 12, 2009.

Gordon, who led the conversion of the former Subic Naval Base into a Freeport, stressed that local governments should also have a strong hand in operating the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport as they had in Subic because the local folks would have more enthusiasm in making it into a viable operation.

"Every time we manage the zone from Manila , it would appear that they do not have the wherewithal, the desire or the accountability to the local folks to be able to make it happen. I think I can speak personally from the time that the Subic Freeport started operation. I have always thought the local government would best be able to handle Subic ," he said.

Words of discouragement coming from various sectors when the Americans abandoned the military facility in Subic did not prevent Gordon and his group of volunteers from successfully converting the facility into a Freeport . The Freeport was very efficiently run that it started contributing to the national government on its third year of operation.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Senate version is a Levy not Tax on Text

A Senate version being pushed by Sen. Richard Gordon calls the tax a levy since it will be shouldered by telecommunication companies.

“The lower House (version) is a tax. (The Senate version) is a levy with no pass-on (provision),” Gordon said.

He said revenue from the levy would go directly to health and education. “You can’t allocate it for other purposes,” Gordon told the Inquirer after the DBCC briefing.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves supported the imposition of a levy, Gordon said.

“Once people see that the money is being spent on health and education, they will really gladly support it,” Gordon said, pointing out that 37 percent of Filipino children were malnourished.

The senator assured the public that telcos would not be able to require mobile phone users to pay the levy.

“They can afford it. They have newspaper and TV ads, sponsorship of basketball teams,” he said.

Gordon said the government was not “trying to kill” telcos because the levy would only be imposed for five years.

‘Tax poor people to the bone? No way’—Enrile
By Christine Avendaño, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:03:00 09/10/2009

2010 automated polls will push RP towards the 21st century

Automated election in May 2010 is vital because it would serve as the mechanism that will propel the country towards the 21st century and true democracy, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind) today stood pat on his stance.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the Philippines and author of Republic Act (RA) 9369, said it is high time to modernize the country’s democracy because after more than a century since the nation declared independence from foreign rule; the country has yet to be truly democratic, especially in the system used to choose the leaders of the country.

“Automating our elections is a signal that we are taking steps towards really modernizing our democracy. After 111 years of independence from colonial rule, we have yet to free our nation from the shackles of electoral fraud and cheating. We have yet to see honest, clean, speedy, and credible elections,” he said.

"Automated elections will not only elevate the country's electoral exercise from third to first world class but will also erase public suspicion that the Filipino people's sacrosanct votes would be stolen from them," he added.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now gearing for a full implementation of RA 9369, which was passed into law in 2007. It would be the country’s first ever nationwide automated elections.

The Comelec is set to conduct a voter’s education and information campaign across the country to prepare voters for the automated elections system that will be used in next year’s elections.

Gordon stressed that automating the elections would pull the country out of the political rut that it has sunken into and would bring closure instead of further causing division in the country.

"Having automated elections would allow us to resolve political disputes and bring credibility not only to our elections but also in the leaders of this democratic nation," he said.

“If the officials have the people's mandate, they can focus their attention on the business of governance instead of being distracted by electoral protests,” he added.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Continuous and swift rescue operations to save more lives in sunken ship

A continuous and swift search and rescue operation is needed to salvage the passengers and crew of the Superferry 9 that tilted off Zamboanga Peninsula, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today said.

Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said they are closely working with the Philippine Navy (PN), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to assist in the rescue operations and to provide the necessary relief to rescued victims.

"In these times of tragedies, we need to work together and we need to work fast so that we can save more lives. The Philippine National Red Cross is closely working with the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Air Force to make this possible," Gordon said.

"We have already mobilized our staff and volunteers in Zamboanga Del Norte, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay and General Santos City to immediately attend to the needs of the victims and assist their families who are worriedly looking for them," he added.

According to reports from the PNRC Operations Center, the Superferry 9 bound for Iloilo, which had 847 passengers and 117 crew, departed the port of General Santos at 8:45 a.m. Saturday. It was reported in distress at around 4 in the morning on Sunday. It tilted for hours off Zamboanga Peninsula before it completely sank at about 8:30 a.m. The cause of the sinking is still unknown and the number of fatalities has yet to be confirmed..

Around 115 passengers were initially rescued by MV Ocean Integrity Cargo vessel while 400 passengers were rescued by MV Myriad. The Philippine Navy and PCG in Zamboanga City have dispatched their vessels while the PAF sent choppers for the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, PNRC chapters in Zamboanga Del Norte, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay and General Santos City chapters already deployed ambulances to give possible first aid assistance to the victims.

Welfare desks were also set up for medical assessment, first aid, psychosocial support and tracing services to give necessary assistance to the victims and even to the families and relatives of the victims.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bring out the Filipino talent - Gordon

There would be no need to borrow other countries' talents if the country's leader would bring out the talent of Filipinos and guard their intellectual property rights,
Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) has pointed out.

Speaking at the 57th anniversary of Radio Mindanao Network, Gordon said Filipinos are very talented in creating literary masterpieces that there is no need for the country's television stations to borrow telenovelas from Korea and other countries.

"Why should we get Korean telenovelas and translate them into our language when we have our own stories here. Why should we copy from other countries so our television stations can use them here?" he said.

"Kung kaya nilang gumawa sa ibang bansa, kaya din ng Pilipino. Dapat lang na palabasin ang talento ng Pilipino," he added.

Gordon admitted that it is cheaper to get foreign telenovelas and translate them into Filipino but he pointed out that this practice is shortchanging Filipino novelists and scriptwriters.

"Nangongopya tayo sa ibang bansa only because it is cheap. Marami tayong mga kababayan na sumusulat ng libro, mga nobela, mga script at mga drama. Dapat nating palabasin ang talento ng mga iyan. Kailangan nating bigyan ng respeto ang mga artists natin dito," he said.

Gordon said the government should give incentives to encourage talented Filipinos to hone their crafts because it will also make the country proud if their talents will gain recognition abroad.

"Magaling ang Pilipino. Ang ating mga kanta at DVD umaabot sa ibang bansa gaya ng Saudi Arabia. Kayang-kaya nating lumahok at manalo sa mga timpalak sa ibang bansa kung ang lider ay kayang palabasin ang talento ng Pilipino," he said.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blue Ribbon panel wont exempt anybody with liability on NBN-ZTE deal

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will not exempt anybody who has liability on the botched $329-million national broadband network (NBN) project with China's ZTE Corporation, and assured that the committee report on the investigation would be firm and fair, stressed Committee Chair Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.).

Gordon said it is unfortunate that there are people who accuse him of prejudgment when it is actually he who is being prejudged of being biased even if the committee report has not yet been released.

"I would like to assure the general public that we will be firm and fair. We are not singling out anyone. In fact, we will not exempt anybody, even the President, the First Gentleman, the former Speaker and his son, and even Mr. Jun Lozada if he had done wrong. We will use the law, because that is the way it should be," he said.

Gordon said that the committee would recommend the filing of charges against those people who were involved in the project if there is sufficient evidence; however, if there is no evidence against the person but is perceived to have had a part on the deal, the committee may still reprimand and urge the person to explain.

He added that there are actions which may not be illegal, but could be immoral or unethical.

"The President has to explain, why did she not stop the deal early on? The First Gentleman should explain why these people are running to him. Why did they play golf with the ZTE officials? These things are either immoral or unethical. In the same manner that it is not right that a son of Speaker is involved in this project," he said.

The senator pointed out that Jose "Joey" De Venecia III and Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada were also involved in the controversial project and therefore should not be exempted from possible charges.

"Mr. Joey De Venecia and Mr. Lozada were part of this project. They have liabilities too. However, if they are willing and if the justice department permits it, they can become state witnesses," Gordon said.

He noted that although they have revealed irregularities in the project, De Venecia and Lozada cannot be considered whistleblowers because in definition, a whistleblower is someone who exposes wrongdoing but is not part of it.

Gordon said that in the country, there is no legal definition of a whistleblower yet. However, he said that the blue ribbon committee report would include a recommendation that a whistleblower law be passed to establish a clear state policy on the matter, assure action on the relevant information disclosed, afford legal protection on the whistleblower, and define the parameters and procedures for disclosure that guarantee due process.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

‘Leadership has to be earned’

Sen. Richard Gordon, who also is seeking the presidency, said he was “sad for Mar.”

“He has invested so much on this campaign. He has made the right moves in trying to connect with the issues. He has a girlfriend. He had had all these ads but in the end he did not get any traction (in the polls),” Gordon said.

“It was too difficult a temptation. Obviously, his campaign was not getting anywhere. Unfortunately, the surveys have become something like an Oscar award. Our people will really have to think seriously about who should lead us,” Gordon said.

“I’m happy for Noynoy, but as I said two weeks ago, leadership has to be earned. It is not inherited, although a good story helps,” he said.

“His father was assassinated and there was a tremendous outpouring about former President Corazon Aquino. This is going to be a test whether that idea can be translated into charisma (on Senator Aquino’s part),” Gordon said.

Roxas gives way to Aquino
Cory’s son vows ‘to carry the torch of leadership’
By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:33:00 09/02/2009