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

Monday, September 05, 2016


With apprehensions rife over President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to place the whole country under a state of lawlessness prompted by the recent bombing of the Davao City night market which killed 14 people, Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday allayed fears of another martial law as he assured that the former should not be taken for the latter.
While supporting the President’s move, Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said the committee is open for complaints against misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance committed in connection with the implementation of the declaration.
“The declaration of state of lawlessness has no specific review. And this lack has created uncertainty and engendered fear in many of our citizens. Political leaders and many good-hearted people have expressed grave apprehension fearing that their civil, political and human rights would be adversely affected,” he noted in a personal and collective privilege.
The senator also stressed that there must be rules in the implementation of the declaration of state of lawlessness, adding that Congress, under the Constitutionally-mandated separation of powers, could provide the necessary check and balance to allay the people’s fear.
“I would like to state here for the record that we have a Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation or the Blue Ribbon Committee. I only say this to assuage those of us who rightfully and perhaps legally will be concerned about the declaration of the state of lawlessness. The Blue Ribbon is empowered to investigate misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities, and more importantly, any matter of public interest. We can open the Blue Ribbon Committee to any complaints. Any citizen who feels he had been aggrieved by the military checkpoints or by any military man or any member of the government could come to the Blue Ribbon Committee at any time,” he said.
In an earlier statement, Gordon said bombings had happened before and therefore was probably not unexpected considering the dastardly actions made previously by lawless elements who are now under effective interdiction from the government.
This is not the first time for Gordon to deal with terrorist attacks, both in Davao City and other parts of the country. During his time as Secretary of Tourism, Gordon had to take action to avert the negative effects to the tourism industry of several bombings such as Zamboanga Puericulture Center bombing on October 28, 2001 which killed 5 people; General Santos bombing at Fitmart store on April 21, 2002 where 15 people killed; Metro Manila bus bombing on October 18, 2002 where 2 people killed; and Superferry Bombing outside Manila Bay on February 27, 2004 where 116 people killed, among others.

“Let us all at this time be reflective, deliberate and calm as a people. Let us do our share by being constantly vigilant and alert as we continue with our daily normal lives and not allow such heinous acts to deter us from moving forward – for in allowing these incidents to stop our normal way of living, we would have allowed those who terrorize to win,” he said.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Statement of Senator Richard Gordon on the September 2, 2016 Davao City Night Market Bombing

We commiserate and pray for the people of Davao City particularly the families of the 14 people killed and the 71 persons hurt as of the latest report.

This has happened before in Davao and was probably not unexpected considering the dastardly actions made previously by lawless elements who are now under unanticipated and effective interdiction from the government.

Let us all at this time be reflective, deliberate and calm as a people. Let us do our share by being constantly vigilant and alert as we continue with our daily normal lives and not allow such heinous acts to deter us from moving forward – for in allowing these incidents to stop our normal way of living, we would have allowed those who terrorize to win.

The President as Commander-in-chief has now called out our armed forces to suppress lawless violence. Our Constitution allows him to do so and taken alone he is not suspending the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus or proclaiming martial law. The Davao bombing is an act of terrorism by a known terrorist organization that must be outlawed by the full force of the law as provided in the Human Security Act of 2007 and other anti-terrorism measures.

Let us all support the President and our armed forces, and police forces and their families as well.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Postponing the barangay, SK polls should give Congress a wider vision on how it could become more effective - Gordon

With the proposed postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections gaining momentum in Congress, Senator Richard J. Gordon proposed that the Senate should take it as an opportunity to envision improvement in the electoral system and the Local Government Code that would also make Congress more effective.
Though not opposed to resetting the said elections, Gordon wanted to put a wider perspective into the debate because barangay officials are very important, being the officials who are closest to the people.
“I am just trying to put perspective into the approach. This is no simple postponement. And I’d like to interest the Senate into looking at a wider vision on how we can be more effective… I’m trying to lead the discussion into a vision game. Vision, namely that when we elect our leaders, we should elect the best,” he said.
The barangay and SK elections is set for October 31, 2016 but there is a very loud call for a one-year postponement.
The senator pointed out that the government and the people should benefit from the postponement. Congress should take it as an opportunity to inject reforms in the electoral process by amending election laws and the Local Government Code.
“When we postpone it, there must be some benefit from it. That when we postpone, we should really look into, perhaps the Local Government Code. I do not propose, by any means, that we should eliminate the barangay captains or barangay kagawads, but maybe it’s a good time for us, especially since these are early days, to look into the situation a little bit more studiously. We could have reforms in the electoral process starting with the barangays. I am here not to oppose but to propose. 
We should be able to build a better mousetrap,” he said.
Gordon said Congress could amend the term limits set by law for local officials. They could also make the elections less expensive by limiting the campaign to conducting debates in the barangay to enable the people to be more informed in selecting barangay officials. They should do away with costly campaign activities such as the conduct of house-to-house campaigns, holding meetings that would entail food distribution.
He stressed that it is improper that the matter of postponement is raised after every election because the political exercise should be treated with sanctity and not dealt with in a very cavalier manner.
“The matter of voting for public officials is a very high responsibility by the citizens of this country. We must not trifle with it by saying or giving all sorts of excuses. I just want to know what is the crucial matter in the postponement. I would imagine that we should be able to present a more cogent vision of what our local government must be. If we fear that there are too many elections, then so be it. Let us come up with a law that will say we will only have elections every three years and no successive elections shall take place,” Gordon said.

New PRC branch building to rise in Bogo, Cebu

A new building that will house the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Cebu Chapter-Bogo Branch will soon rise within the New City Hall Compound in Bogo City, Cebu.
The branch building will be built on a 1,000 square meters of lot in the aforementioned site which was donated to the PRC last year by the municipality of Bogo, under the administration of then Mayor Celestino Martinez.
Senator Richard Gordon, who is concurrent chairman and CEO of the PRC, will lead the groundbreaking ceremony and laying of time capsule in the site where the new building will rise. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the PRC and the municipality of Bogo will also be signed by both parties during the event with respect to the use of land by the PRC good for 50 years.
“The establishment of a branch in Bogo City will further bring Philippine Red Cross services nearer and more accessible to people in the northern part of Cebu. People from Bogo and neighboring municipalities will not have to go far to access Red Cross services like blood as the new building will have a blood collecting station,” said Senator Gordon.
The groundbreaking ceremony and MOU signing will likewise be graced by municipality of Bogo officials led by Mayor Carlo Martinez and Vice Mayor Maria Cielo Martinez, with former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez.
Funding for the construction of the building will come from the PRC Haiyan Recovery Operation, with the support from partner national societies in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The move to establish a PRC branch in Bogo was strongly supported by the community which sees the need for the Red Cross to continue its presence in the communities it assisted in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
The Philippine Red Cross has assisted thousands of families in the province of Cebu as part of the Haiyan Recovery Operation. To date, 8,020 shelters have been built and reconstructed, and some 8,354 families have been given livelihood assistance in the municipalities of Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, San Remigio and Bogo City.
There are also 12 health facilities that have been constructed and rehabilitated in Bogo, Daanbantayan, San Remigio and Tabuelan; while 8 water, sanitation and hygiene facilities have been constructed and rehabilitated in schools in Daanbantayan, Bogo and San Remigio.