Monday, September 14, 2009

Smoke's views on Dick Gordon

Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon ain't an easy sell.

I don't think everyone will understand why I consider him to be the best Presidential candidate in 2010. But I'll try my best to do this, because if there is any way that I'll convince anybody else to vote for him -- I'll take it.

I've worked for several other politicians before working WITH Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon.

I started working with him when he was still the Secretary of Tourism. I worked as a volunteer during his campaign for senator in 2004. And then, when word got out that he was seriously considering to run as President in 2010, I volunteered in 2006 to help prepare the groundwork for his campaign.

Among the politicians I've met and worked with in the past, he's the only one I know who will tell you exactly what he thinks and what he feels. He says things without the customary Filipino 'pasintabi' or apology that comes before one says something that might be considered offensive. He offers no excuse or apologies for the way he is.

In a way, he tells the world "I know who I am. Love me or hate me, this is the way I am and this is the way it is going to be with me."

No apologies. No excuses. And more importantly, NO BULL CRAP.

Fellow blogger Smoke, in explaining why Gordon doesn't appear in her ballot, pointed out that one of her reasons for excluding him was because Gordon is abrasive.

Beyond that, she went on to say that Gordon tries to pass it off as "an Americanism, but I don’t see how calling something 'American' is necessarily going to make it palatable for someone who isn’t an Americo-phile to begin with..."

He doesn't pass off abrasiveness as an Americanism, but he does say that Americans are assertive or as defined in most dictionaries, "disposed to or characterized by bold or confident assertion". Assertion comes from the word assert, which means "to state or declare positively and often forcefully or aggressively".

It is not a word that is often taught to most Filipino children in school or at home. In fact, our children are taught to be submissive and deferential all the time. They are taught never to be direct or forceful about what they think, feel, or want because it would be considered offensive.

Because of this we have a general population of Filipinos who, whenever they come across someone who is assertive, they are almost always taken aback. They think it is disrespectful or uncouth to boldly state whatever it is on your mind. They'd prefer that people engage in interminable rounds of pussyfooting and beating around the bush, before being told exactly whatever it is that needs to be told. For some reason, they also prefer having to ply whoever it is they are talking to with assurances that whatever they say will be all right with them.

Personally, how you regard Gordon really depends on your set of values and biases. As for me, I think assertiveness has more value and gets things done without all the useless sentimentalism that usually accompanies the distinctly Filipino concept of politeness.

When Gordon talked with FedEx about having them locate one of their hubs in Subic, he told the head honcho of FedEx exactly that he wanted FedEx to locate one of their hubs in Subic. He was rejected outright but that rejection gave him the opportunity to ask why and he got a direct response. He was told that the runway was too thin, the airport in Subic didn't have a radar, and other things that FedEx needed in order to operate. He told FedEx that he would solve all those problems and said when he did, he would ask FedEx to reconsider its stand. That led him to upgrade Subic's Airport in less than a year's time and FedEx located a hub in Subic.

Now, that to me, is how assertion works. I don't know what would have happened to Subic if he wasn't assertive, but in all likelihood, it would have probably become like Clark or Sangley point.

There isn't an exactly word that translate assertiveness into Tagalog, but perhaps the words more closely associated with it are 'tapat makitungo' or 'diretsahan makitungo'

Smoke accuses Gordon of "hitching a piggyback ride on Red Cross!". I wonder what she really knows about this and who informed her? I hope she didn't get all her information from Dante Liban, whom all of the people in Red Cross knows was involved in certain ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES at the PNRC.

But anyway, regardless of what led her to say that Gordon is hitching a ride on the PNRC, perhaps it would be great if she could consider that Gordon has been a Red Cross Volunteer since he was SEVENTEEN. He made a commitment to help people in trouble at that early age and kept to that commitment for 40 years. He didn't campaign to become the chairman of Red Cross, he was ASKED to become its leader just as he was ASKED to become a Governor of the International Federation of Red Cross societies.

Before his term as Chairman of the PNRC, Red Cross was merely known for its blood services unity and that was good. Gordon, however, saw that the PNRC could do more and should do more. If there was anything he campaigned for at the PNRC, it was to campaign for more funding from private donors (which led to the creation of the Millenium Fund) and more action from the PNRC whenever disasters struck the country.

If Smoke wants to call this piggy backing on the Philippine National Red Cross, then here are other specific instances where Gordon piggybacked on the Red Cross:
On 26 February 2004 during the Super Ferry fire, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent staff and volunteers to Piers 14 and 15 to provide first aid and to transport the injured to various hospitals. He also set up welfare desks to help trace missing persons and provide psychological support to the 515 survivors.

On 14 April 2004, while on the campaign trail as a candidate for Senator, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON personally led the disaster response team of the local Red Cross Chapter in Nueva Ecija in rescuing the people when a fire broke out at a public market in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. He also led the administration of first aid to those injured, comforted the families whose properties were burned, and gave them food and relief assistance.

On 27 August 2004, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON joined the local Red Cross Chapter in Tarlac during the relief and rescue operations for the Culibangbang Dike collapse in Paniqui, Tarlac that resulted to the massive floods in Tarlac, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.

On 24 December 2004, Christmas Eve, and 31 December 2004, New Year’s Eve, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON spent both occasions with evacuees providing emergency relief and rehabilitation serving food and non-food items to 50,000 families throughout the 13 affected provinces of Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Quezon, among others affected by the flashfloods and the mudslides.

For the 2004 typhoon victims, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON, in response to his international appeal for assistance, raised a record-breaking P200 Million in donations from foreign as well as local donors.

Also in 2004, for the first time in the history of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON made the institution not just a receiving organization but also an international donor when it sent a $35,000 cash contribution as well as disaster experts to help in the relief and rehabilitation of Tsunami-stricken areas in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

In February of 2005, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent relief and assistance during the flare-up of fighting outside Sulu in Mindanao that displaced hundreds of families from their villages.

On 14 February 2004, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent relief and assistance to the victims of the Valentine's Day bombings that killed 11 people and wounded 130 others in the cities of Makati, Davao and General Santos.

Between March-April 2005, after Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON received a distress call from radio station DZRH, he immediately sought assistance from the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii for planes to spot and assist the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard to search and rescue four missing fishermen from Zambales who where adrift for 19 days at sea.

On 10 March 2005, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent relief and assistance to food poisoning victims in the province of Bohol where a total of 27 lives of school children were lost and caused 105 others to be hospitalized.

On 14 March 2005, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON immediately deployed five disaster response teams composed of 50 staff and volunteer first aiders during the 6-hour Camp Bagong Diwa Jailbreak and Stand Off in Bicutan, which ended in a bloody firefight.

On 24 May 2005, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON ordered the airlifting of the the five-day old female conjoined twins from the province of Masbate to the Philippine General Hospital for proper diagnosis of their condition and to make plans for interventions that may be necessary for their survival.

In 2005, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON initiated strategic partnerships with the Association of Volunteer Fire Chiefs and Firefighters, Inc. (AVFCFI) and the Philippine Canine Search and Rescue Association (PhK9SAR).

On 4 February 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was the first on the ground to instill order in the chaotic rescue effort and recovery of bodies at the ULTRA Stampede of the Wowowie anniversary show.

On 17 February 2006, while Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was in Geneva, Switzerland attending an International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) conference, he made an appeal and made known to the world the St. Bernard, Southern Leyte landslide that affected around 1,000 families.

In August 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON intervened on behalf of the Filipino government to secure the safety and safe passage of Overseas Filipino Workers who were in harm’s way in Southern Lebanon during the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict and arranged for their evacuation by land, air and sea.

On 21 August 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON, for the third time, led the relief efforts for at least 3,000 evacuated families when Mt. Mayon showed alarming signs of volcanic activity.

On 7 October 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was the first to initiate relief and rehabilitation efforts of 8,000 families affected by Typhoon Milenyo in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions, especially Sorsogon which received scant attention as the media focused on billboard incidents in Metro Manila.

In November 2006, while attending an International Federation of the Red Cross conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON received a text message from Overseas Filipino Workers in Kazhakstan who were caught in the middle of a conflict between Kazakhs and immigrant workers. He was the first to sound the alarm and call the attention of the DOLE and the POEA which later led to the evacuation of at least 500 workers traumatized from the battle-torn country.

On 1 December 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was the first on the ground in Albay and Catanduanes a day after Typhoon Reming battered Southern Tagalog and Bicol provinces anew. Leading ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts for more than 15,000 evacuees, including the victims of the previous Typhoon Senyang.

On 5 December 2006, on International Volunteers Day, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON launched “Project 143: I Love Red Cross” to prepare and train communities to be self-reliant and ready in the face of calamities and typhoons.

In December 2006, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON made an international appeal to USAID and international governments in the light of the twin typhoons Senyang and Reming that hit the country in a span of two weeks affecting 10 provinces and 62,728 families.

On 11 and 27 September 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON provided economic linkage for farmers in Sulu and North Cotabato via the Fruits of Hope program to market mangosteen, lanzones, bananas and other fruits to buyers in Manila like supermarkets SM and Rustans Shopwise as well as the National Association of Market Vondors, Inc. (NAMVESCO).

On 19 October 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was among the first to respond at the Glorrietta Blast and conducted search and rescue and retrieval of missing victims Maureen de Leon and Ranier Tan whose bodies were recovered in the debris. He also set up welfare desks at the blast site and the hospitals for easier identification of victims and to which hospitals they were brought.

On 8 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON was the first to respond and sent disaster response teams to recover the body of Francis Luis Avian, fifth fatality in the blast at Sorrento Townhomes, Bacoor, Cavite.

On 14 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent rescue teams and ambulances to assist the victims and transport the dead and the wounded during the Batasan Bomb Blast.

On 19 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent disaster response teams to assist the victims of Typhoon Lando.

On 21 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON assisted in securing a Flight Ambulance International medical crew in moving comatose Romulo del Rosario via ambuplane from Irkustk, Russia to the Philippine General Hospital.

On 24 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent disaster response teams to assist the victims of Typhoon Mina.

On 29 November 2007, Red Cross Chairman DICK GORDON sent first aid staff and volunteers as well as ambulances for possible relief and rescue operations during the Manila Peninsula Stand-off.
Smoke also picks on Gordon not having a platform: "for all of his posturing as an intelligent self-starter – hasn’t explained his platform in-depth yet. More than anyone else, he should be out there explaining his plans and laying out the pros and cons of a Gordon presidency."

Maybe Smoke hasn't had a chance to listen to Gordon talk about his platform and I really can't blame her. Gordon really doesn't get that much attention or at least as much attention as Noynoy, Mar Roxas, and Manny Villar -- whose storyline, Smoke thinks, is kinda nifty.

To give you an idea of what his platform is all about, allow me to do some sloganeering here: Change already delivered.

And I'd just like to give Smoke a dig here, nothing can trump REAL accomplishments as a storyline. That stupid commercial about a leaking roof is nothing but a empty play at the emotions of the masses.

He has been articulating his platform of governance, not with just words and promises, but with real action and real accomplishments.

Just to save myself some time, I am just going to cut and paste Gordon's platform and achievements as it is written in some of his brochures. Forgive me for showing this as it is written, I don't like the style either but it's a real pain in the ass to edit because it is SOOOO EFFING LONG!

Olongapo. Platform and achievements.

Public Transport Color-Coding Scheme – Long before the MMDA resorted to color-coding and odd-even schemes along EDSA, then Mayor DICK GORDON had already embarked in 1982 an innovative program to solve the traffic problem in his city and provide protection to commuters as well. The jeepneys and tricycles in the city were designated a particular body color to indicate destination while their body numbers are emblazoned conspicuously on both sides and on the rear portion for easy identification in case of accidents and complaints by passengers. This scheme has since been replicated in other urban areas in the country.

Integrated Garbage Collection & Disposal System – Then Mayor DICK GORDON introduced the first program in the country to carry out an effective garbage collection system which involves well-conditioned dump trucks, uniformed trash collectors, plastic garbage bags taken out only on collection day, on-time collection schedules and musical jingles to signal the arrival of the garbage trucks. This ensured the health and cleanliness of the community.

Creation of Regional Science High School and University of the Philippines Extension Program – Believing that education is the great equalizer, allowing poor but intelligent students the opportunity to learn and to excel and to compete, then Mayor DICK GORDON pushed for the establishment of a Regional Science High School, which developed from the Olongapo City Science High School, and for the establishment of a University of the Philippines Extension Program, both of which are still operational until now and providing good quality education and training to students in the area.

Modernization of Hospital Services – From nothing, with nothing, the once-admired Olongapo City Public Hospital, its facilities stripped bare by the Provincial Government at that time, was reborn with the leadership of then Mayor DICK GORDON with the help of volunteers, doctors committed to aiding the community, and donors who supported the community effort.

Legalization of Base Scavenging – As an offshoot of unfortunate incidents befalling Filipino scavengers caught sneaking into the base dump site such as being pushed off a ravine by the U.S. Military or preyed upon by the U.S. K9 police dogs, then Mayor DICK GORDON negotiated with base officials to legalize scavenging in the area to avoid a repetition of similar incidents and to provide livelihood to Filipino scavengers as well.

Restoring Dignity to Persons with AIDS – Then Mayor DICK GORDON was strongly affected by the desperation of one of the HIV victims at the Olongapo City Public Hospital during one of his regular visits when the lady tried to commit suicide due to the prejudice and indifference of society to her plight. He thus provided gainful employment to AIDS victims in Olongapo City to give them hope and to provide them with a sense of usefulness and to allow them to regain their normal place in society.

Good Samaritan Program – Under this humanitarian program, then Mayor DICK GORDON mobilized civic organizations and business groups to take turns in sponsoring the medical expenses of poor patients at the Olongapo City Public Hospital.

Type Mo, Type Ko – A citywide blood-typing campaign was launched by then Mayor DICK GORDON to easily identify possible blood donors should the need arises and thereby save more lives.

Peace and Order (Drastic Decline in Crime Rate) – Urging the local police force to make their presence felt, then Mayor DICK GORDON motivated law enforcers to take action by providing them with additional patrol vehicles and more modern communications equipment. He likewise boosted their morale by giving incentives to outstanding cops and their families. As a result, crime rate drastically declined which goaded the U.S. Military to lift the curfew on sailors spending their liberty in Olongapo City.

Eyes and Ears – Then Mayor DICK GORDON also tapped the sidewalk vendors and other ordinary citizens to serve as "eyes and ears" of the law enforcers and the city administration by tipping off the authorities on suspicious characters and criminal activities. He also formed the Barangay Anti-Narcotics Groups (BANG) which monitored the use and trafficking of illegal drugs, as well as formed the Barangay Neighborhood Watch for residents of the community to be their own guardinas.

People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) – Olongapo City was the first to have a People's Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) which acts on civilian complaints against erring policemen. The concept of PLEB was incorporated in the PNP Law in 1991 thus paving the way for the establishment of PLEBs nationwide where victims of police abuse and brutality can rightfully seek redress.

Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness – As a hands-on leader, then Mayor DICK GORDON personally attended to any emergency situations and calamities that occurred in Olongapo City during his term and until now - be it fire, floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. But his overwhelming desire to help people goes beyond his constituency.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman. Plans and accomplishments.

Then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON created a corps of volunteers composed of former base workers, citizens of Olongapo City and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan, and young professionals and executives from prestigious universities and corporations in the country and abroad that protected the former naval facility from looting and damage and worked to promote Subic as an ideal business and tourism hub in Asia. This was a phenomenal achievement, with thousands of volunteers responding to his call to “Protect and Preserve to Prosper!”

Having lost 50,000 jobs when the military bases stopped operations, then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON created a whopping 70,000 jobs to replace the ones lost by convincing both foreign and local investors to establish businesses in Subic, giving rise to 200 companies pumping $3 Billion into the economy, among them Coastal, ENRON, Federal Express, Acer, Thomson, BICC Brand Rex Cables, Omron, Hitachi, and Sankyo Seiki.

Then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON attracted domestic and international tourists while protecting and preserving the flora and fauna of Subic with the support of Aetas. During his tenure, over 20 international flights a week called on Subic that became Tourism Destination of 1994 barely 2 years after it opened.

In order to utilize and develop the vast land left by the U.S. Military, then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON promoted tourism investments with the conversion of bunkers and military buildings into hotels, casinos, restaurants, the yacht club, golf course, equestrian center, bowling lanes, and other recreational activity areas.

Then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON enhanced the infrastructure left behind by the U.S. Military with the construction of an expanded and upgraded runway, navigational aids, radar, a state-of-the-art International Airport Terminal, a new highway and a tunnel.

Through privatizations and partnerships with international firms, then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON modernized the utilities left by the U.S. Military for power generation, water, sewerage, cyber-telecommunications and even hosting the first Philippine satellite station.

Then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON made Subic into the country's catalyst for progress and the premier Filipino showcase of development ready to compete with newly industrialized countries and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In 1996, then Chairman and Administrator DICK GORDON led the hosting of the 4th Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Leaders' Summit where 18 Heads of State attended and proved that Subic is indeed a global example of a successful military base conversion effort, a perfect model for both U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. and Eastern block bases in Czechoslovakia, Iran, Vietnam and Panama.

Secretary of Tourism.

Then Secretary DICK GORDON created a strong sense of national awareness for tourism as an engine of economic development through the slogan, "Tourism Means Jobs."

Mobilizing all stakeholders and all sectors of society, then Secretary DICK GORDON instilled a “Culture of Tourism” in all Filipinos by enjoining the participation of the national government, local government units, tourism councils and private sector to ensure the safety, cleanliness and capability of the community for tourists.

Despite the challenges of international terrorism, SARS, the Abu Sayyaf, the Oakwood Mutiny, and local peace and order problems, and economic difficulties, the Philippines through the leadership of then Secretary DICK GORDON was able to break out of the rut of negative tourism arrival growth rates. In 2002, the first time since 1999, the Philippines posted a positive growth rate (+7.6%) in international tourism arrivals that is still successfully being sustained today.

Then Secretary DICK GORDON aggressively supported communities such as Puerto Princesa City, Davao City, General Santos City and Koronadal City that were adversely affected by terrorist kidnappings and bombings by immediately going there to boost morale, providing support and assistance and to ensure the safety of the public.

A taxi identification and accountability system utilizing body numbers and uniforms that ensures the welfare and security of all tourists and passengers was established by then Secretary DICK GORDON and these taxis also had, on their bodies, the slogan,”Bayan Ko, Sagot Ko.”.

Then Secretary DICK GORDON instituted the holiday economics scheme, whereby the observation of holidays was moved to either Friday or Monday, creating long weekends that allowed Filipinos to travel to domestic destinations, greatly enhancing business for the tourism industry and its support sectors while providing affordable opportunities for Filipino families to visit the countryside.

Intramuros was transformed by then Secretary DICK GORDON into a thriving center for tourism and livelihood. The 17 regions of the Philippines have been able to showcase the best in tourism, culture, arts, crafts, cuisine, music, and festivals at Wow Philippines, Intramuros, which has attracted more than 6 million visitors. Over 4,000 jobs and P100 million in sales have been generated for regional/local entrepreneurs, vendors, restaurant owners, and craftsmen.

Then Secretary DICK GORDON also revived the neglected Paskuhan Village in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga into Wow Northern Philippines Hilaga - a showcase of the Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan, and Central Luzon regions. He envisioned it to be a tourism, educational, agricultural, cultural hub in the area.

Believeing in the value of preserving Culture and Heritage, then Secretary DICK GORDON initiated and supported local government restoration efforts of Spanish colonial Fort Santiago in Manila, Fort San Pedro in Cebu, Fort Pilar in Zamboanga City, and the Cota in Ozamis City.

Then Secretary DICK GORDON advocated History Tourism with he constructed 2 world-class tourism attractions: the Intramuros and Rizal Light and Sound Museum, which seeks to break the walls in the minds of all Filipinos and encourages action, change, and solidarity that we may become a strong and free people, and the Victories of the Revolution Light and Sound Museum at the Cuartel in Imus, Cavite that gleans on success rather than failure of the quest of our forefathers for freedom.

Garnering international awards for the Philippines and making Filipinos proud, then Secretary DICK GORDON brought honor to the nation through the following: at the International Tourismus Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, the largest and most prestigious tourism fair in the world - Best Booth (2001), Best Marketing Effort (2002), and Best TV/Video Advertising Campaign (2003); at Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)General Assembly - 2001 Gold Award for Sustainable Community-Based Ecotourism in Sta. Juliana, Pampanga; in 2003, he was awarded by TTG Asia, Asia's leading travel trade publication for his Extraordinary Effort, Leadership, and Creativity.

Senator. When he ran for Senator, he promised to work on two things: Political reform and the creations of a Tourism Industry. Both of which, he delivered on with the passage of RA 9369 or the Amended Automated Election Law which has made it possible to have automated elections in 2010, and the Tourism Act of 2009, which provides the policy framework for establishing a tourism industry in the country.

But that's not to say that that was all he did.

Senator DICK GORDON has so far authored around 79 bills, including bills co-authored, and 29 resolutions, advocating political reform, justice, job creation, education, and disaster preparedness. He is primarily recognized for passing two significant bills in the Senate, namely the new automated election system law for fast, accurate and credible elections, and the tourism bill for investment, employment and socio-economic growth.

Senator DICK GORDON passed the very first law in the 13th Congress, Republic Act No. 9333, fixing the regular elections at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and authored and co-authored several other important laws, including Republic Act No. 9369, the new Automated Elections System law; Republic Act No. 9334, the sin tax law; Republic Act No. 9399 and 9400, fixing the tax regime in Special Economic Zones and Freeports of Clark and Poro Point; Republic Act No. 9492, the holiday economics law; Republic Act No. 9346, the abolition of the death penalty law; and Republic Act No. 9367, the Biofuels Act of 2007.

Senator DICK GORDON convinced IPU member countries to participate in the 112th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, where he also proposed a resolution on behalf of the Philippine delegation which was adopted, recognizing the role of parliaments in the prevention, rehabilitation, reconstruction and protection of groups that are vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters, and further encouraging the creation of Regional Disaster, Training, Logistics and Reaction Centers in collaboration with international humanitarian organizations and their local counterparts such as the Philippine National Red Cross as well as local disaster coordinating councils to train local field disaster response teams, share international technical know-how, expertise, technology and other information relating to disaster prevention training, and management.

Senator DICK GORDON chaired the following Committees – (i) Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws; (ii) Government Corporations and Public Enterprises; and (iii) Tourism. He was also a member of 23 other Senate Committees, namely:

1. Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies
2. Blue Ribbon
3. Cultural Communities
4. Economic Affairs
5. Education, Arts and Culture
6. Energy
7. Environment and Natural Resources
8. Finance
9. Foreign Relations
10. Health and Demography
11. Justice and Human Rights
12. Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development
13. Local Government
14. National Defense and Security
15. Peace, Unification and Reconciliation
16. Public Information and Mass Media
17. Public Order and Illegal Drugs
18. Public Services
19. Public Works
20. Trade and Commerce
21. Ways and Means
22. Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement
23. Youth, Women and Family Relations

Senator DICK GORDON led the Senate to come together for a Strategic Planning Caucus at the start of the 13th Congress to address the most urgent problems of the nation. He authored proposed Senate Resolution No. 56, which was adopted and became Senate Resolution No. 8, entitled Resolution Calling a Caucus of All Senators to Identify Strategic Measures and Priority Legislation to Effectively and Efficiently Solve the Most Urgent Problems of our Nation. Through his efforts, the Senate got together to pass enabling legislation to solve the country's budget deficit and fiscal debt, as well as equipped the Senators with many important facts to pass necessary legislation on fiscal reforms, financial reforms, job and income generation, security and peace and order, and education and health.

Senator DICK GORDON upheld the supremacy of the Constitution at all times. Though he may not have voted for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, he has been heard many times say that he took an oath to preserve and defend it. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, he has insisted on the lawful process of charter change only according to the process set forth in the Constitution. He opposed the unconstitutional ways of proposing charter change, including the orchestrated people's initiative in 2006 and was one of the triumphant parties in the case of Lambino and Aumentado vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 174153, October 25, 2006.

Senator DICK GORDON preserved the separation of powers in government and asserted the Senate's constitutional right and duty to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation against Executive Order No. 464 in Senate, et al. vs. Ermita, G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006, and Executive Order No. 1 in Sabio vs. Gordon, et al., G.R. No. 174340, October 17, 2006. The latter was in connection with an investigation as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises on the accountability of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in managing the government's interest in Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT) pursuant to the principle under the Constitution that public office is a public trust.

Senator DICK GORDON is resolute as a staunch advocate of civil liberties. He has fought numerous times to protect the fundamental liberties of the people guaranteed by the Constitution under threat by extrajudicial killings and abductions, Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), Presidential Proclamation No. 1017, etc.

Senator DICK GORDON was the first to speak against killings of Journalists and Judges. He gives a high premium on justice as part of the basic duty of the State to protect and serve the people. Knowing how it is to be a victim of a crime when his father was assassinated but without taking the law into his own hands, he denounced the numerous assassinations of journalists, judges, politicians, activists, and called for action to deliver swift justice.

Senator DICK GORDON is the primary advocate of Electoral Reform and values the people's right of suffrage. He principally authored and sponsored Republic Act No. 9369, the new Automated Election System law, to bring forth election modernization and minimize election fraud.

But because one's performance in the past only serves as an indication of what he is capable of and some will say that it cannot guarantee what he'll do in the future. Track record is no substitute for a real platform that a candidate commits to and to be direct about it, Gordon has not categorically owned up to a platform. Nevertheless, he has outlined what he intends to do if ever he is elected as the country's President.

In Gordon's view, our country's condition is primarily characterized by problems that has its roots in poverty. Poverty to him isn't an absence of money, but an absence of choice.

In order to equip Filipinos with the capacity to create real options for themselves and enable them to make a quality decision on the options available, Gordon has proposed the following steps.

Health and Education. Lack of proper education and disease leads to an absense of choice.
He believes that the government should hold true to the 1987 Constitution's mandate to prioritize public education over everything else. This means rescuing a decrepit system and it involves creating the revenue stream that will enable the creating of additional funds for public education. His plan for this has already been articulated in Senate Bill 2402 or the Health and Education Acceleration Program Bill. The bill aims to create funds not just for the building of schools, hiring of teachers, and the purchase of books; it also aims to provide a year round feeding program as well as a health and dental program for school children -- because they are among the most vulnerable and also, this is where the state's money will pay off the most.
Disaster Preparedness. Disaster leads to poverty and poverty makes one vulnerable to disasters. This is what he calls the cycle of disaster and poverty. People in Sorsogon and other provinces of Southern Luzon know this; people in Iloilo, Samar, Leyte, Cebu and other Visayan islands know this; and people in Mindanao know this. We also know that, without fail, we get about twenty or more typhoons every year; we have hundreds of active volcanoes; our maritime industry regularly gets into trouble as one ship or another sinks somewhere in the archipelago; we have highly congested urban settlements that are prone to fires every year; we have roads that go through landslide prone areas; and so on.
Gordon's solution is complex as it involves civic action as articulated in the Red Cross 143 program which involves setting up disaster preparedness and management teams in all of the 43,000 barangays all over the country; it involves building up our Air Force so that it can be mobilized to deliver rescue teams as well as supplies in areas not accessible because of one type of disaster or another; it involves building up the Navy and Coastguard so that it can more effectively deter maritime vessels from setting out during typhoons as well as launch immediate rescues when a vessel capsizes; it involves re-orienting the country's entire agricultural sector, especially the agriculture in provinces that are hit every year by typhoons; it also involves aligning our infrastructure development plans to account for disasters such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes and whatever else -- i.e., if roads in Sorsogon gets washed out every year by floods, it is a sure sign that the roads built there should be elevated rather than paved over every year.
Conflict. Armed conflict between the government and dissident or separatist groups has been going on for decades with no clear resolution. With particular regard to the conflict with Islamic Separatists and certain terrorist groups, Gordon proposes several solutions, which include:

A full court press of government services to parts of Muslim Mindanao that are usually in conflict. Bring in the COA, protected by the police, to these areas to ensure that the funds given by the government for services really goes to its intended purpose. Foster the continuation of peace talks while building up the AFP's strength to respond to any threat.

It also involves doing away with the policy of isolation and exclusion that has bred animosity between Muslims and Non-Muslims. To do this, Gordon outlined policies of inclusion through several bills pending in the Senate: A bill proposing the adoption of a ninth ray to include the role of Filipino Muslims in the fight against colonial powers; a bill proposing the establishment of an Islamic museum of history; a bill calling for the inclusion of Filipino Islamic history and culture in public schools; and other bills.

Business and Economy.

The development of tourism as one of the country's main economic growth paths will be pursued.

He has also begun to outline plans of strengthening our country's IP or Intellectual Property industries, beyond just business process outsourcing, he intends to make certain that Filipino talents in literature, the arts, film and other avenues of Filipino creativity gets rewarded by the global market for ideas.

He is still lean on positions with regard to global trade.

As far as the management of the economy is concerned, I don't have a clue right now and it might be best to ask him. But, just guessing from how he has handled government funds at the city level and on the level of a department, I'd guess that he would be pretty tight on government expenditure while making sure that every peso spent goes to where it is supposed to go and achieves the best result possible. If there is one thing about Gordon, he is the epitome of thrift. (He rides around in a Toyota Fortuner, lives in his old house in Olongapo, he has a modest condo in the Fort which he shares with his wife and grown children, he travels abroad alone without a retinue of staff, he rides commercial class, he has lots of suits and shoes -- most of them are more than 3 years old, he refuses to pay "PR")

(I'll try to update this post later, but as you can see, it is already very, very, very long. There are a couple of other items in this platform which needs to be re-written or written out more fully. Nevertheless, it provides some general directions that point to where he is going to take the country, if he is elected.)

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