Press Release
July 10, 2006

Transcript of interview with Senator Mar Roxas on current issues

S/MAR: We understand the pressures on Gov. Maliksi. I do not begrudge him for his decision.

Q: What kind of pressures? Sir, hindi ba siya nagpaalam?

You are in the media. It is easier for you to find out what these pressures are.

Q: Like the pending case?

I am sure that your intrepid and conscientious legwork as journalists would have uncovered that fact. I need not repeat that.

Q: Sir, nagpaalam ba si Gov. Maliksi? Ano ang impact nun sa party?

The leaders will make decision on this. The arrival or departure of any leader does not overwhelm or surpass the identity of the party itself. The party stands for its principles, (for) its platform of government and its continuing work for the betterment and improvement of all our lives; and I will continue to do so.

Q: Mag-stick pa rin ba kayo dito sa LP?

I am with the LP. There is only one LP that I recognize, which is the LP headed by its President, the Senate President Franklin Drilon. In my mind that is the LP. All others are pretenders. Theres only one Republic of the Philippines, di ba? Yun lang yun, eh. I mean. . .

Q: Any status ng wino-work-out na coalition ng LP at NP?

I am not aware of that. I only read what was in the newspapers and I have not been to any meeting or discussions about that. So I think these are trial balloons that will rise and fall according to the winds, like all (other) balloons.

Q: In case, Sir there is a coalition?

I generally do not answer questions that starts with In case. . . What if. . . Suppose. . .

Q: Are you open to such a coalition?

I am open to advocating (for) and pushing forward a program of government (the) LP is believing in; (a) program of government that I am applying myself to furthering. I havent read the NP program of government and they have not presented us one in any event.

Q: Are you supporting the leadership of Sen. Villar?

I think there was a resolution. . . Was there a resolution? Well see what happens on the 24th when we convene. We will see what happens. It is quite apparent from the statement of Sen. Drilon that he will comply with his agreement with Senator Villar, so thats their agreement that exists between them, so well see what happens.

Q: What do you expect the president will say on the SONA?

SONA is a statement not only as to the state of the nation as well as the direction that the government, particularly the executive, will be undertaking to address the problems of the nation. So we expect to see a listing or an outlining of the strategic directions. The problems are very well established and apparent. In education, in the productivity of the agriculture sector, in hallowing out our manufacturing industry, in the competitiveness of the economy itself, these problems exist and attention to these problems and answers is what will determine a successful year, if it was from SONA to SONA or a successful term; (or) if one were to take a look at the incumbents term.

Q: Last years Charter change was discussed as a solution to these problems?

Lets say that I disagree with that diagnosis. There is no established correlation as between the form of government and economic and social development. What study after study have established is a direct correlation as between governance and socio-economic development. So it doesnt matter if it is a monarchy, autocracy, presidential, etcetera the distinguishing feature of developed country is good governance. Good governance is defined as predictable and stable policy environment, efficiency of the bureaucracy, absence or minimization of graft and corruption.

Q: Instead of harping on Charter change, she must lay down

Recent headlines have shown for example the increase in the apparent or increasingly visible weaknesses in our education system. There is nothing in Charter change that will necessarily improve, or just in and off of itself, improve our education system. This is a single most important area that we must pay attention to because this is the future of our children and our nation. In a world that is increasingly (being) described as the information age, a population that is able to process that information will be the one that will succeed.

Q: Governance and system. . . there is now another set of impeachment filed against the president?

I would not want to comment on the impeachment only because we might be sitting as judges so I have to. . . It is best not to comment on it. If Id like to serve, the detachment and impartiality or sort of distance that would be necessarily to fulfill that function if it ever comes about.

Q: Which laws should the President prioritize?

There are several laws that are well on their way to completion. The bio-ethanol bill is important so long as we can establish that we have adequate supply of both ethanol, or cane for ethanol and coconut for coconut bio-diesel. Let us not pass a law that necessitates our having to import the materials in order to comply with that law. The pre-need plans code has also finished its work at the Senate. Here is a bill that will directly impact millions of families who have set their savings aside to ensure the education of their children. I think that is quite important. I think that other measures like terrorism, in particular, in coordinating the databases and computer system of the NBI, PNP, BID, LTO, etc. would be an important step in ensuring that we have a strong defense against terrorism. We should not be passing a law that defines terrorism and sets forth penalties. Thereto, while possibly important is not as important as making sure that the tools to fight terrorism is in place.

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