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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Justice to Mining Disaster Victims in the Philippines

March 24, 1996, Exactly 14 years ago, the worst mining disaster happened in Marinduque Island, Philippines put the country in the global map. The mine tailing collapse occurred a year after the passage of the Philippine Mining Act or R.A. 7942. The disaster resulted in the release of over 1.6 million cubic meters of tailings along 27 km of the river and the coastal areas. The impact on the river and the people who depend on it for their livelihoods was massive. The rush of tailings displaced river water which inundated low-lying areas, destroying crops and vegetable gardens and clogging irrigation channels to rice fields. The release left the Boac River virtually dead.


The Marcopper Mining Corporation Officially started its mining operations on Marinduque Island, in 1969 at what was known as the Mt. Tapian ore deposit. This was after a number of years of mining exploration and studies. When the Mt. Tapian reserve was depleted in 1990, Marcopper continued its operations utilizing the San Antonio copper orebody which lies some 3 kilometers north of the Mt. Tapian mining complex. Mine tailings from the Mt. Tapian ore deposit were discharged into Calancan Bay. It is estimated that a total of no less than 84 million metric tons of mine tailings were discharged into this shallow bay between 1975 and 1988. Due to constant complaints by local residents against the continued dumping of mine tailings into Calancan Bay, it was agreed that the old Mt. Tapian open-cut mine site would be used to receive mine tailings from the San Antonio operations on a temporary basis. In spite of the unconventional use of the Tapian Pit as a containment system, no environmental risk assessment and management was carried out by Marcopper.


The incident involved the Marcopper which has been carrying out open-pit copper mining since the 1970s. When the company finished one of its operations in Marinduque, it plugged up the old pit with a concrete fixture to allow the pit to act as a disposal lake for mining waste. In August 1995, a significant leak was discovered in the pit's drainage tunnel. This subsequently fractured. The accident discharged tailings into the Makulapnit-Boac (Boac) river system. The effects of the incident were so devastating that a UN assessment mission declared the accident to be a major environmental disaster. The Tapian pit contained around 23 million metric tons of mine waste. Officials of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) claim that they did not know of the presence of the drainage tunnel measuring 2.6 kilometers long and 1 meter wide which was found underneath, which leads to the Makulapnit and Boac river system.


The toxic spills immediately caused flash floods which isolated five villages, with a population of 4,400 people, along the far side of the Boac river. One village, Barangay Hinapulan, was buried under six feet of muddy floodwater and 400 families had to flee to higher grounds. Their sources of drinking water were contaminated while fish, freshwater shrimp and pigs were killed. Helicopters had to fly in food, water and medical supplies to the isolated villages. Residents of 20 villages out of the 60 villages in the whole province were advised to evacuate their communities.


The government estimates that this toxic tailings waste killed P1.8 million worth of mature freshwater and marine life and P5 million bangus fry. The 27-kilometre Boac river, which is the main source of livelihood for those who are not part of the 1,000-strong workforce of Marcopper, has been declared dead by government officials.


On 17 April 1996, the Department of Health (DOH) came up with a report which said that residents could already be harbouring in their bodies amounts of zinc and copper which are beyond tolerable limits. Despite these findings, Marcopper held on to the claim that the tailings were non-toxic.

The drinking water residents relied on was contaminated. Fish, shrimp and other food sources, which are the main livelihood for those who do not work for Marcopper, were immediately killed. After the disaster, Marcopper and Placer Dome closed down all their mines. The government attempted to cover up the fact they did not enforce environmental laws throughout the years. The local residents in Marinduque have also claimed they knew about the tunnel for almost 20 years. Evidence came to light that Marcopper knew of the leak in the drainage tunnel well in advance of the accident, as there had been a long history of On October 4, 2005, the provincial government of Marinduque sued Marcopper's parent company, Placer Dome, for $100 million in damages. Placer Dome was purchased in 2006 by Barrick Gold, who has now been joined in the lawsuit.


Marcopper and Placerdome left tons of hazardous wastes together with the unpaid millions of pesos of taxes due to the local government.  They left an impoverished economy and a devastated environment that the people are now trying to rehabilitate by themselves.  They find the present policy of the national government of aggressively promoting mining throughout the country a great insult, as if what happened to the island province of Marinduque was not enough.  Marinduque Island remains one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.


The impact brought by mining in the lives of the people is not an isolated case for Marinduque, the growing resistance of the community all over the Philippines calling for the scrapping of the Philippine Mining Act or R.A. 7942. Mining Act is a national policy of attracting extractive industries such as mining at the expense of the environment, people's rights and welfare and national patrimony.


The LRC-KsK, the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) are filing cases of mining affected communities in the Philippines on March 24 to give justice to the people devastated their lives by Mining.


Justice to Mining Disaster Victims in the Philippines


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Swiss and Austrian Aid Agencies repair Pepeng-destroyed homes in Northern Luzon

A groundbreaking ceremony for the repair of more than 1,000 homes destroyed by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng was held yesterday, March 22 in Botoc, Benguet.

Some 45 houses will be repaired in Sitio Labey in Botoc, Benguet, one of the communities which suffered from extensive damages after it was hit by typhoon Pepeng (Parma) in October 2009.

Labey and neighboring villages were isolated for almost 2 months due to landslides. Although no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, agricultural lands and infrastructure were destroyed and 57 families were devastated.

About 50 people attended the ceremony. Among those in attendance were Ms. Ursina Mueller, representative of Caritas Switzerland; Lourdes Louella Escandor, executive director of Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC); and Jimmy Khayog, executive director of Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CDRDS).  

In her speech, Ms. Escandor said: "It is a good thing that people started to reorganize themselves after disasters. The repair of homes will not be possible without the spirit of bayanihan in the community, and without the assistance of Caritas."

The event is part of the project "Disaster Relief for Ketsana and Parma Affected Families" funded by Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Austria and the Austrian Development Agency, and implemented by CDRC and 5 of its regional centers, which includes CDRDS.

The project aims to alleviate the suffering of 5000 families affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng through the distribution of shelter/construction materials and non-food items (plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking and eating utensils) and provision of psychosocial services to those suffering from post traumatic stress.

Five regions including Regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and CAR will benefit from the project. The Cordillera Region incurred most of the damages in Northern Luzon with 309 dead and P1.4 billion worth of damages.


The Global Filipino Nation (GFN) comprises of overseas Filipinos, their families and onshore Filipinos sharing the common goal of promoting effective governance for the Filipinos world over. GFN also serves as the global association of leading Filipino organizations onshore and offshore.

However, GFN is a non-partisan group.

Global Filipinos Australia (GFA) a member of GFN do strongly call for solemn, firm and resolute stand that , in the May 2010, let us mobilize the Global Filipino Nation as a political force for voting and supporting national and local leaders committed to the GFN Governance principles, Programs of Government and Performance Standards, whose principles are built on a strong and progressive country, under just and peaceful governance, where transparency, accountability and the rule of law prevail.

In mobilizing and making a united stand, the Filipinos are empowered to effect positive change in the government.

Aquino-Roxas tandem wins independent mock elections/survey in UAE


Aquino-Roxas tandem wins independent mock elections/survey in UAE
• Reelectionist Pia Cayetano top senatorial contest
• 69% of respondents did not register as Overseas Absentee Voter

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino and Manuel "Mar" Roxas of the Liberal Party rated strongly in the mock elections/survey conducted by the San Beda Alumni Association – UAE Chapter among Filipino expatriates in the United Arab Emirates.

The survey was conducted from March 1-14 from among 123 respondents in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other parts of the UAE.

Aquino garnered 56.6% of the 120 votes cast for president with Lakas-CMD bet Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro and Nacionalista Party's Manuel "Manny" Villar tying for second with 16.6% each. Senator Richard Gordon of the Bagumbayan party ranked 4th with 8.33% followed by former president Joseph Estrada who rated 1.67%.

No votes were cast for the other candidates: Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Senator Jamby Madrigal, Nicanor Perlas, Olongapo City Councilor JC delos Reyes and Vitaliano Acosta.

In the vice presidential contest, Roxas garnered 61.48%. Former Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Bagumbayan party placed second with 14.75% while Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay of PDP-Laban/Pwersa ng Masa ranked 3rd with 10.66%. Senator Loren Legarda and TV host Edu Manzano tied for 4th with 4.92% while former SEC Chairman Perfecto Yasay of Bangon Pilipinas finished 5th with 3.28%.

No votes were cast for radio-TV announcer Jay Sonza of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and
Dominador "Jun" Chipeco of the Ang Kapatiran Party.
A mix of familiar names in Philippine politics dominated the senatorial survey with reelectionist Senator Pia Cayetano topping the contest with 7.54% followed by Ralph Recto and reelectionist Miriam Defensor Santiago who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Making the "Magic 12" were: Ilocos Norte Governor Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, former Senate president Franklin Drilon, former Senator Serge Osmena, former Cavite congressman Gilbert Remulla, Sonia Roco, Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto "TG" Guingona, reelectionist senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada and Joey de Venecia.
Closing in on 13th to 17th spots were: former Marine captain Ramon "Monmon" Mitra, former senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, reelectionist Ramon Bong Revilla, former senator Francisco "Kit" Tatad and former labor undersecretary Susan "Toots" Ople.

Majority of the respondents (69.92%) did not register for Overseas Absentee Voting,

According to Ares P. Gutierrez, president of the San Beda Alumni Association – UAE, the survey was meant to feel the political pulse of the Filipino community in this part of the world.

"The survey also served as a tool to educate our fellow OFWs on how the voting will be conducted under the new poll automation system and our respondents also got to know who are the people standing for election," he said.

Gutierrez clarified that the respondents were not limited to a closed group or a particular segment of the Filipino community.

"The respondents were selected at random. We went to malls and places where Filipinos usually congregate and distributed survey forms. We also asked colleagues at work, housemates, neighbors and friends in our respective professional and social networks to 'vote'," he said. (end)

Note: Full breakdown of results attached.



Sunday, March 21, 2010


Global Filipino Nation (GFN) presents the comprehensive Governance Matrix of Senator Villar. The Matrix is drawn from the many speeches and interviews given by Senator Villar. GFN has invited other "Presidentiables" to provide inputs for their respective Governance Matrices. GFN is an international organization of global Filipino leaders and organizations committed to "Building the Global Filipino Nation for Good Governance". Its Convenors reside in 30 countries, including the Philippines.

The focus of Senator Villar's governance vision is on economic, social and political progress. As a Change Leader, he aims to apply strong political will, among others, to:

Ø  promote good governance and seriously redress corruption;

Ø  carry out a bi-focal economic thrust of lifting Investments and Net Exports as the main GDP growth drivers -- encompassing a deepened reservoir of internationally-competitive entrepreneurs, increased agricultural productivity and an enlarged domestic industrial base;

Ø  broaden social programs through revitalized education, expanded basic health services and extensive housing programs;

Ø  develop a built-in safety net that avoids destabilizing price adjustments for medicines and basic necessities;

Ø  arrest the widespread degradation of the environment and engender healthy ecological balance; and

Ø  curb widespread criminality and usher in lasting peace.

The Villar Governance Matrix specifies the major policy elements for 6 major sectors: education; health, nutrition and reproductive health; investments; agriculture; exports; and military. The Matrix provides 26 detailed policy initiatives for economic (10), social (8) and political (8) reforms. The targeted policy initiatives cover:

Economic issues: poverty alleviation and employment; regulatory and bureaucratic reforms; fiscal management; domestic and foreign debt; oligopolies and level playing field; capital mobilization, esp. microfinance; agrarian reform; infrastructure program; high power cost; high domestic transport cost;

Social Issues: moral degradation and values transformation; public safety and national security; human rights; population; youth; environment; housing and urbanization; and migration; and

Political Issues: Constitutional amendments; global Filipinos and universal proportional representation; electoral reform; foreign affairs; Mindanao peace problem; Rule of Law (incl. a possible jury system); corruption; and pork barrel.

Highlights of the Villar Governance Matrix, which are in the current radar screen of discussion groups the world over, include:


Ø  restore the ratio of Investments to GDP from the present weak circa 15% level to the 30% ratio or more over 2 decades ago;

Ø  promote high value added exports, especially multinational onshore production for exports;

Ø  consistently maintain policies that are domestic and foreign investments friendly;

Ø  streamline regulatory processes to drastically reduce the number of review steps and approving/recommending signatures;

Ø  transparently pursue an economic level playing field, with government laying down rules that cannot be bent by any vested interest groups;

Ø  take steps to avert changes in "rules of the game" to suit the whims of "cronies" since there will be "no cronies";

Ø  guarantee the stability of policies affecting business;

Ø  pursue agricultural development as a cornerstone in carrying out the goal of poverty alleviation;

Ø  ensure that the benefits of economic growth filter down to the poor on a sustainable basis;

Ø  prohibit schemes and methods to circumvent the intent of the agrarian reform law;

Ø  prescribe the "BOT" model for infrastructures that may be privatized, with bidding for these projects under the glare of television lights and cameras;


Ø  oppose the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill;

Ø  uphold the right to life of the unborn child, without intruding into the right of individuals to follow their conscience;

Ø  encourage the role of parents to provide sex education to their children;

Ø  affirm the central importance of the family in Philippine society;

Ø  oppose legislation that would legalize divorce or terminate marriage;

Ø  introduce entrepreneurship as a major curriculum module to help fuel entrepreneurial revolution;

Ø  reintroduce English as the medium of instruction;

Ø  protect the environment and rehabilitate destroyed forest resources;


Ø  support  amendment of Overseas Absentee Voting Law to allow Internet Voter Registration and Voting, and provide for continuous, uninterrupted voter registration abroad;

Ø  support the application of Article 6, Section 5 of the Constitution providing for proportional legislative representation of global Filipinos;

Ø  call a Summit on Judicial Reform, covering a wide range of key issues, including the proposed adoption of the Jury System;

Ø  prohibit salvaging by the police and military, while protecting, not intimidating or killing, journalists and media personnel;  

Ø  place economic development priority in Mindanao where conflicts and insurgency persist – on a parallel basis with peace initiatives;  

Ø  provide easy access to information (even without the Freedom Information Act), aggressively simplify all government transactions, reduce discretionary powers of bureaucrats and improve the efficiency of government services; and

Ø  institute a System of Rewards and Punishment to promote efficient and effective public services.


Address inquiries about the Villar Governance Matrix to:, tel. +632.975.5356.







A nation marching with economic, social and political progress:

·         raising the masses, workers, poor, marginalized and dispossessed to a life of equal opportunities and shared responsibilities;

·         attaining growth rates and stability of the progressive countries of the world;

·         strengthening social initiatives that enhance the quality of life; and

·         launching a streamlined, motivated, transparent and graft-insulated public service corps.

What does Senator Villar stand for?

Senator Villar is a Change Leader who will pursue his Governance Vision with a strong political will to:

·         promote good governance and seriously redress corruption;

·         carry out a bi-focal economic thrust of lifting Investments and Net Exports as the main GDP growth drivers -- encompassing a deepened reservoir of internationally-competitive entrepreneurs, increased agricultural productivity and an enlarged domestic industrial base;

·         broaden social programs through revitalized education, expanded basic health services and extensive housing programs;

·         develop a built-in safety net that avoids destabilizing price adjustments for medicines and basic necessities;

·         arrest the widespread degradation of the environment and engender healthy ecological balance; and

·         curb widespread criminality and usher in lasting peace.




We shall revitalize Philippine education through:

·         quality primary education for all children, while adding a year in grade school;

·         higher literacy rate;

·         upgraded skills of teachers  and transfer of new teaching methods/technologies;

·         more schools and classrooms and modern facilities as teaching aids;

·         reintroduction of English as the medium of instruction;

·         early introduction of IT into classrooms;

·         entrepreneurship as a major curriculum module to help fuel entrepreneurial revolution;

·         a special focus on the development of arts, culture and sports; 

·         government and private scholarships to poor but deserving students;

·         a culture among educational institutions to compete domestically and internationally; and

·         a reward and punishment system for school and university administrators.

Health, Nutrition and the Reproductive Health  Bill

An MBV Administration will provide basic health care and nutrition services to the poor through:

·         an improved health care insurance system ensuring quality medical treatment for all members, available at low cost for all and free for the extremely impoverished;

·         encouragement for owners and operators of private facilities to include "free wards" to the poorest segment of their communities;

·         assistance (through sustainable modes, e.g., bond design and issues) to local governments, which can afford to establish health care centers, clinics, and hospitals, to secure the best doctors, hospital administrators, and nurses;

·         priority nutrition programs for underprivileged children prior to and during schooling age; and

·         creative public-private partnership in nutrition intervention.

MBV is against the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill, saying: "Bahala na ang tao kung ano gusto nila gawin. I always view population not as a liability. To me, if the country is managed well, in a-competent manner, in fact, a big population would be a way in which we could be a great nation." (See Section on "Population" below.)


The goal of an MBV Administration is to provide the framework and policies that would restore the ratio of Investments to GDP from the present weak 15% level to the 30% ratio or more over 2 decades ago. Raising the Investment Coefficient of GDP is focal to the quantum increase in the GDP growth rate. To that end, an MBV administration would:


  • consistently maintain policies that are domestic and foreign investments friendly;
  • streamline regulatory processes to drastically reduce the number of review steps and approving/recommending signatures, while maintaining a modicum of prudential oversight;
  • transparently pursue an economic level playing field, with government laying down rules that cannot be bent by any vested interest groups;
  • take steps to avert changes in "rules of the game" to suit the whims of "cronies" since there will be "no cronies";
  • guarantee the stability of policies affecting business;
  • prohibit any commission to be paid by any foreign or domestic investor to approving authorities or to any person impersonating to be influential to the administration;
  • improve the climate for industrial relations;
  • promote high value exports, health and educational services, and other NEDA-prioritized areas;
  • provide a special focus on the development of small and medium scale entrepreneurs ;
  • replicate models where large, medium and small scale enterprises "job out"  requirements to community livelihood organizations and micro-entrepreneurs;
  • increase infrastructure improvements and investments (esp. transportation, communications, water, and power), with the BOT mode encouraged; and
  • hasten the timely operation of stalled, but otherwise strategic, projects, e.g., NAIA 3.


MBV pinpoints agricultural development as a cornerstone in carrying out the goal of poverty alleviation. Accordingly, initiatives will:

·         pursue food security to put an end to the imports of basic commodities, while reversing the scenario where the country is the top importer of rice to one that ranks among the major exporters of rice;

·         develop low cost and low maintenance farm-to-market roads, community-based irrigation systems, private sector-led common facilities for storage and processing, appropriate productivity enhancing technologies, agricultural research and development, enhanced food production distribution networks (e.g., existing vegetable, agribusiness, and fruit buyers in certain areas of the country who are efficient production motivators and production gatherers, who will be provided financing to invest in pre-harvest and post-harvest facilities);

·         initiate projects where private sector is timid but with viability prospects; and

·         privatize projects as soon as private sector interests are evident.


In conjunction with a reinvigorated Investments sector, positive Net Exports would contribute to a robust GDP growth trajectory. High value added exports, including activities with a large labor content, will cover multinational onshore production for exports, conversion of small industries with extensive export potential (e.g., jewelry industry) into world class players, and tourism investment and allied service industries. Export processing zones will continue to be a major initiative to ensure fast turnaround of imported materials, processed with Filipino labor and exported to foreign markets. Support will be extended to a continued expansion of systems-wide Business Processing Outsourcing activities. Foreign exchange rate policy would take into account the fundamental viability and competitiveness of exports.


The Philippine military will undergo modernization and receive adequate support to carry out its function effectively. This program needs a one-time major investment in aircraft, navy facilities, ground equipment, armaments and training for the elements of the military.





Poverty alleviation and employment



A significant rise in the GDP growth rate, fueled by active Investments and Export Sectors, will inevitably spread livelihood opportunities. The policy goal is to ensure that the benefits of economic growth filter down to the poor on a sustainable basis. Providing for livelihood opportunities and training is in place. There just has to be more focused intervention by government to provide technical training, market information and micro finance. Successful models abound in providing for livelihood opportunities. We simply need to replicate these models faster and simultaneously throughout the country.

Regulatory and bureaucratic reforms



Regulatory and bureaucratic reforms will include consultations with the private sector as to which regulations will be left to the private sector to enforce themselves. Self-regulation is a preferred choice, except where public interest is clearly a priority issue. Markedly, the administration of MBV will be less and less regulatory in the nature by which it will deal with private business. But the An MBV administration will be very firm in collecting the rightful taxes and fees that are due the government. It will also be quick to bring into the justice system private business violators of the law.

Fiscal Management



Improvement of the revenue performance will be based on effective tax administration and simplifying taxation for all types of businesses, including the self-employed. There will be rationalization of fiscal incentives, while improving tax collection by curbing smuggling activities, pursuing tax evaders, and encouraging all tax payers to pay what is due. There will be reduction in budget deficits by improving the budgeting process and removing all "over budgeted items" which are incorporated in all budget proposals.

Domestic and foreign debt




Domestic and foreign debt operations will be anchored on appropriate timing. Clearly, taxes generated by the economy and consumers cannot sustain the national expenditures at the present stage of economic development. Notwithstanding the inward remittances of the overseas Filipino workers, the budget deficit situation continues to challenge our country. There will be a balance of domestic and foreign borrowings. We shall take advantage of certain timing issues to take on longer grace periods on principal payments, longer term repayments, and preferred interest rates on our borrowings or bond issues. In the end, preferred interest rates will be a function of sound economic policies, macroeconomic stability, and improvement of the country's image of transparency and demonstrated reduced corruption from government officials.

Oligopolies and level playing field


Policies and programs will foster free and open competition, while effectively addressing the distortions and negative welfare impact of monopolies and oligopolies. A level playing field is necessary for fostering competition. This is given in an MBV Presidency. This stance is the only way the country can be globally competitive. There is not much time to catch up with other countries which are now internationally-competitive.

Capital mobilization, esp. microfinance

Capital mobilization through domestic and foreign investment is a key factor in generating employment. Providing microfinance for livelihood projects is just as vital and is a priority initiative. Both activities will be a major strategy to effectively address poverty in the country.

Agrarian reform


An MBV administration will complete agrarian reform. We cannot allow creative schemes and imaginative methods to circumvent the intent of the agrarian reform law. The landed gentry have delayed the agrarian reform too long and the farmer beneficiaries have been waiting in vain. We must complete the handover to the farmers of the lands tilled by them.

Infrastructure program



Most infrastructures, which can be privatized, must proceed on a "build operate and transfer" model. Bidding for the right to undertake these projects will be transparent under the glare of television lights and cameras, starting from bidding qualifications, bidding procedures and up to award of winning bids.  Government-built infrastructures should likewise be subject to all the qualification procedures, bidding procedures and awarding of winning bids being transparent and televised for the public to see and witness.

High power cost



High power costs will be addressed and inefficiencies in generation and transmission will be reduced through a transparent process of auditing existing power generators. An MBV administration will attract foreign investments in power and remove all cartel-like impediments to competition – a policy that ultimately benefits the consumer. The model of breaking up the monopoly of telecommunications clearly points to competition as a good initiative to pursue.

High domestic transport cost


Domestic transport cost for passengers is an issue of fuel costs arising from world market prices. Cargo transport pricing issues are not raised by the public -- implying that transport cost to the riding public is essentially a political and a social issue. Private sector investments continue to be made in public transport services. Thus, this economic activity must be essentially viable with certain glitches when there is an upward spike in world prices of oil.



Moral degradation and values transformation





MBV upholds the right to life of the unborn child, without intruding into the right of individuals to follow their conscience.  He believes that parents have the proper role to provide sex education to their children and advocates initiatives that would enable parents to carry out that role more effectively. Affirming the central importance of the family in Philippine society, MBV is against legislation that would legalize divorce or terminate marriage.

Aware of the corrosive imprint of corruption on bureaucracy-wide moral fiber, MBV has laid out an operative roadmap for waging war against corruption. (See section on "Corruption"). A major outcome of a successful assault on corruption is the restoration of decency and positive regard for public service

Public safety and national security




Law and order in the country will be a challenge for an MBV administration, particularly in parts of Mindanao and inaccessible areas of the country where the police and military are not visible. Therefore, it is imperative to disarm large civilian groups, while peace talks are pursued so that the business of economic development can begin in a large scale pervasive and significant manner. While the citizenry will be encouraged to help the police, civilians will not be allowed to carry firearms. Civilians will be asked to help provide intelligence information, particularly with respect to strangers that arrive in their communities. On a corollary basis, the facilities of the police and military will undergo modernization and their personnel will be trained to thwart terrorists and the lawless.

Human rights











There must be respect for human rights, albeit that respect is alien to violators of the law. There will be no tolerance for salvaging by the police and military, cognizant of the worldwide abuses that this practice engenders.  There will be protection, not intimidation or killings, of journalists and media personnel.

The modernization of the Armed Forces and the PNP would strengthen their ability to carry out their functions, with a clear mandate of zero tolerance for human rights abuses. Leadership by the President – one that addresses the concerns of the AFP and PNP – would enhance respect for human rights and elicit unequivocal understanding of Presidential directives.

There is no inherent conflict between economic rights and civil liberties. As economic progress accelerates in an MBV administration, there will be broader improvement in the lives of our people and strengthening of civil liberties. These are mutually reinforcing elements. Economic progress will allow the country to modernize its law enforcement agencies and find its way to higher salaries for the police and military, judges, teachers and entire government machinery.

As to the issues of whether Filipinos have too much freedom, MBV notes: "Hindi naman. Magulo lang talaga tayo. We thrive in chaos. This all boils down to leadership. That's why if your leadership is not felt, then either you impose martial law or you explode. A strong leader need not impose martial law to impose order. If there is no natural leadership, you have to buy everybody, you have to buy the local governments with projects…you have to buy the congressman so that you will not be impeached."





 Historically and empirically, population control in the world has not produced a decline in population growth rate. The decline in fertility rates is more a function of changes in attitudes brought about by urbanization and education. Properly harnessed, a growing population, amidst a developed world with falling growth rates and absolute population numbers, could be a source of competitive edge for the country. Philippine population growth rates have been declining, with Total Fertility Rate (TFR) or children per woman reaching levels that cause concerns. In about over a decade, TFR could sink below its replacement level – threatening us with the prospect of replicating the specter of decreasing and ageing population in advanced economies.





MBV adheres to the conviction that the strength of republic and international competiveness rest with the Youth. Reflecting that conviction, an MBV administration will develop:

·         special programs and scholarships for the gifted;

·         a new wave of "pensionados", funded by local and international sources, who could provide the country with a "second wind" of change; and

·         GSIS and SSS loan programs that would enable a large number of high-reaching students complete their chosen fields.















Protection of the environment and the rehabilitation of destroyed forest resources will be a primary concern of this administration. Disasters have been occurring because of neglect by our countrymen and of weak enforcement of rules and laws which are already in place. We must leave a legacy of clean air and environment to the future generations of this country. We also must rebuild the resources which we have selfishly consumed or exported. Restoration of natural tributaries, water canals and other such natural drainage systems must be addressed. Further denudation of forests must be stopped. Mining and exploitation of natural resources could take their rightful place in development so long as they meet applicable international environmental standards.

Development of the country's resources must be mindful of environmental issues. Sustainable development requires that the environment be allowed to renew itself and to allow development to proceed indefinitely into centuries beyond generations. Thus, we develop our resources with the view that enough resources will be around for the future generations of this country. In particular, reforestation will take the front seat in environmental concerns. We shall implement with resolve the Clean Air Act. We shall strictly enforce laws preserving the environment and existing programs on environment preservation.

The prevention of the recurrence of the flooding wrought by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng requires multiple initiatives, including, among others, clearing and dredging the entire Metro Manila. We must constructively relocate families living under unimaginable human conditions in the flood-prone areas. We should factor in sustainable solid waste management systems. Massive reforestation is a necessary component. We could tap the NPA for a plausible working arrangement on reforestation—with a possible positive impact on the peace and civil society integration process.

We acknowledge that our country is the passive recipient of the climate change-inducing economic activities of the developed world. Hence, we have no choice but to participate in the efforts to arrest global warming. We should aggressively develop public-private sector initiatives, including carbon credits.

Housing and urbanization




An MBV administration will ensure initiatives that enable the poor and the middle class to purchase houses throughout the nation. An extensive and comprehensive housing program is in place. There will be more vigorous effort to achieve the goals of the existing housing programs and correspondingly mobilize significant resources from foreign and domestic sources.

We should take measures to disperse industries and population centers. It is apparent that the pressure for social services in urban centers will continue to mount if there is no conscious policy to induce the dispersal of industries and population centers. Building complementary infrastructure components, such as roads, communications facilities, power and water, will be major elements.





While it is not a policy of government to continue to export manpower, we recognize that the country and economy cannot provide jobs for them at this time. We must ensure that overseas Filipino workers will be protected and safety nets are provided for them in their places of work. Over the long run, we shall build an economy that will support most of the labor force in the country and exporting them will be limited to certain countries and specialized skills needed. Difficulties experienced by overseas Filipino workers result from countries whose cultures are so different and even hostile to foreign workers.



Constitutional Amendments








The initial energies of the administration of MBV will be focused on poverty eradication through an improved economy brought about by increased domestic and foreign investments. Amending the Constitution is not a priority issue of this administration. MBV is indifferent to the mode for amending the Constitution – so long as it is carried out properly.

The private and other sectors of the country will spearhead amendments to the Constitution, with a conviction that Constitutional amendments can improve the country's welfare. This administration will leave it to the general public through civil society groups to push for constitutional reforms.

Acceleration in the GDP growth rate need not require amending the economic provisions of the Constitution. But we shall leave that issue to what the people want.

Both a Presidential system and a Parliamentary system have their merits -- so with Federalism vs. the present system. The important issue is leadership, irrespective of the system. We should retain the Senate as a necessary governance institution that will ensure that legislation truly reflects national rather than narrow interests.

Global Filipinos and universal proportional representation




Global Filipinos aspire for equality in the exercise of their suffrage and political rights, with the end goal of integrating them into mainstream Philippine political life. A first major step is to provide a convenient way for them to register and vote, in contrast to the gravely inconvenient method of registering and voting at the nearest Philippine Consulate. MBV sponsored Senate Bill #3565 that, among others, authorizes the adoption of secure Internet registration and voting. MBV would continue to support the passage of that bill into law. MBV is sympathetic to truly continuing voter registration for global Filipinos as against the limited duration under past practice, with the stipulation of a cutoff date for determining eligibility for voting in future elections.

Article 6, Section 5 of the Constitution provides for legislative representation of constituents of a locality based on a defined population density.  Invoking a level political playing field, global Filipinos seek the application of the Constitutional provision to them as citizens of the Philippines. MBV supports that objective.

Electoral reform


This administration will consider all serious suggestions to broaden the electoral base of all elective officials. Automation in elections is underway as a major reform measure. More reforms are needed depending on the outcome of the 2010 national election. In the end, what is important is that the electorate trusts the election process, the counting and the proclamation.   

Foreign affairs



Foreign policy initiatives should touch the lives of global Filipinos in a most meaningful way. With over 10 million Filipinos working overseas, government must address the needs of these constituents at their places of work. Diplomatic work must now focus on the welfare of the overseas Filipinos working abroad to protect their rights, to ensure their appropriate working conditions, even minimum contract payments, their disability benefits and their repatriation back during emergencies.

Mindanao peace problem



An MBV administration will place economic development priority in Mindanao where conflicts and insurgency persist – on a parallel basis with peace initiatives. We shall encourage domestic investments to propel economic activities in identified areas, while providing incentives when necessary. We shall present identified areas of investments to large and socially responsive domestic investors. We shall implement government and private sector investments in educational institutions, hospitals, health care centers, tourism and other allied services.

Rule of law (incl. a possible jury system)

MBV upholds the primacy of the rule of law and its central place in economic, social and political progress. He seeks to apply the principle of level playing field to the judicial system. Recognizing the need to strengthen the administration of justice, MBV plans to call a Summit on Judicial Reform that would include all concerned stakeholders (the Judiciary, Congress, the Justice Department, legal practitioners and the general public). The Summit will cover a wide range of key issues, including the proposed adoption of the Jury System.


Transparency in all Government transactions will be a governance rule. A government headed by MBV will provide easy access to information (even without the proposed Freedom Information Act), aggressively simplify all government transactions, reduce discretionary powers of bureaucrats and improve the efficiency of government services. (MBV is a private sector businessman with public service experience and who knows how to get these activities done quickly. He has been Chairman of various committees at the Lower and Upper Chambers of Congress -- which gives him invaluable experience to ensure success of his Presidential directives on transparency.)

We shall strengthen and consistently enforce Anti Graft and Corruption Laws. The government of MBV will provide more implementation efficiency to anti-graft and corruption agencies and provide ample protection to the enforcers of the law. The focus of anti-corruption efforts will start with identified government agencies where corruption tends to thrive. We shall involve various NGOs, civic groups, and anti-corruption watchdog groups in the campaign.


We shall institute a System of Rewards and Punishment to promote efficient and effective public services. Fostering a culture of competition amongst employees and officials in government is a cornerstone of the efforts to reduce corruption in public service. Government employees, officials, school administrators, local government officials will all be a part of the culture of competitiveness to reward those who are worthy of recognition and financial rewards.  Those who are laggards or non-productive will be transferred to non-critical functions of government or induced to retire early.

MBV will provide leadership that is incorruptible, managerially-skilled and with uncompromising political will to carry out reforms and rectify corruption. The new government will have MBV as a President who will lead by example in this crusade against corruption. All alter egos of the President will be required to follow the example of the President in dealings with government transactions and with the public that we serve. Individuals with impeccable record in efficient and honest public service and of known probity will lead anti-corruption agencies, such as the Ombudsman and the President Anti-Graft and Corrupt Commission, and those perceived to be graft –prone.

Will MBV prosecute PGMA for corruption? MBV will leave it to the judicial system.

What about the Marcos wealth? An MBV administration will take steps to finish all pending cases, which have languished and fostered corruption for more than 2 decades. PCGG may have to be abolished.

Pork Barrel

We view the "pork barrel" system as a way of filtering tax revenue resources to the local levels in a manner that would benefit local communities without relying on the political largesse of national government. Recognizing the potential leakages, an MBV administration will reform the system, ensure that "pork barrel" spending is not wasted and is aligned with the national government's development priority programs. Applying line item budgeting ensures transparency in the budgeting process.  An MBV government will work toward this goal and mandatory disclosures of the "pork barrel" projects, their location, contractors, status and their completion.