Here it goes:
I have decided to vote for Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.
As I previously said, I want my decision to have come after much prayer and study, and to be based on platform, track record, and apparent alignment with my personal values.
Platform and Stand on Issues
If you haven’t tried it yet, do visit and take the quiz on Pipoll to see which candidate has a platform that best matches your stand on issues and desired policies and programs for the country. When I took it, this is what I got:
Among the most important items for me in this poll are the following:
- Reviving the death penalty — I am against this because (1) it has not been a proven deterrent to crime and (2) it does not address the root causes of crime.
- Extra-judicial killings — I am against extra-judicial killings, regardless of the rationale.
- Federal system of government — Although federalism looks very good in principle, I believe we are not ready for this. Local governments are still too deeply entrenched in the realities of patronage politics, political dynasties and private armies. Federalism will inevitably expand the bureaucracy and open up more windows for unbridled corruption at the local level.
- West Philippine Sea claim — I go with arbitration and not bilateral talks with China.
- Constitutional amendment to reduce foreign economic restrictions — I am against this. If the desire is to encourage more foreign direct investments, the first to be fixed should be the systems and processes that investors need to go through to start and sustain their operations in the country.
I am also strongly in agreement with the identification of the economy as priority agenda both for the short and the long term.
This is tricky, especially with the many controversies surrounding Mar’s roles in the Yolanda aftermath, the Mamasapano tragedy, the tanim/laglag-bala scandal, the MRT woes and the recent Kidapawan clash. There have been much misinformation and many inaccuracies in the criticisms, but obviously there have really been major lapses on his part. He has so much to learn and unlearn.
Still, when I looked into the track record of each candidate, he still came out the most qualified for me. I appreciate his work at the DTI promoting micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development, fair trade policies and “palengkenomics.” (side note: I had a chance to have conversations with DTI officials and staff from all over the country in 2009, in relation to my old job at the Development Academy of the Philippines, and I was amazed by their level of respect for him. They thought him the best DTI Secretary they had ever known, and had fond memories of extremely difficult sessions when they’d present proposed policies and programs that he would then challenge and they would have to defend like a dissertation or thesis paper.) I also appreciate the agenda that he pushed in Congress both as a Congressman and a Senator, particularly his work on the following:
- Republic Act No. 8759 – establishing in all municipalities a Public Employment Service Office which serves as employment facilitation and information center, and links all job opportunities within the region
- Republic Act No. 8748 – amending the Special Economic Zone Act by directly allocating to the municipality or city 2% (out of the 5%) gross tax to be collected from the establishments operating in the ecozone and providing for disturbance compensation for persons to be displaced or evicted by publicly-owned ecozones
- Republic Act No. 8756 – incentivizing the establishment of regional headquarters to encourage investment and operation of multinational companies in the country and to generate more jobs.
- Republic Act No. 7880 (Roxas Law) — ensuring fair distribution of the education capital budget among all the provinces.
- Senate Bill No. 101 (Law on Patents, Tradenames and Trademarks) – to amend Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, to lower the prices of medicines through increased competition among drug companies and by providing the government with better policy tools to significantly influence the supply and demand of medicines.
- Senate Bill No. 102 (People’s Fund Act) – to ease the effect of the 12% E-VAT.
- Republic Act No. 9504 – to exempt minimum wage earners in the private sector and government workers in Salary Grades 1 to 3.
- Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
- Anti-Smuggling Act of 2007
- Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007
Within his one-year term at the DOTC he championed the Air Passenger Bill of Rights. His efforts related to the MRT proved insufficient, though he was actually the first official to seek NEDA approval of a budget for the purchase of additional coaches.
Alignment with Personal Values
This one’s even trickier, for as I said before, no one truly knows what is in a man’s heart.
In terms of values reflected in his stand on specific issues, I am in agreement with his stand on divorce, same-sex marriage, reproductive health, extra-judicial killings and the death penalty.
Regarding integrity, there have been a lot of noise in social media lately but I don’t know of any cases that have been filed against him. (If there actually are cases that you know of, kindly let me know.)
I know, however (and the media has shown over the years), that he is a deeply flawed man. As we all are.
What about Leni? Why am I voting for her?
Foremost, Mar’s platform is her platform.
Second, she has a stellar track record in her short stint as a Congresswoman.
Third, she epitomizes integrity.
So there. I’ve decided.
I’m trusting that the people in my circles have done/are doing their homework and have critically thought of and prayed for their respective decisions, as I have, and so I’m trusting as well that we will be able to respect one another’s differences in perspectives and consequent choices.
In any case, whoever wins, one thing remains:
GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER OUR LAND AND OUR PEOPLE!
Ultimately, therein lies my confidence.
God bless us all! 🙂