|Manuel Roxas II|
June 30, 2004
Secretary of Trade and Industry
January 2, 2000 – December 10, 2003
|Preceded by||Jose P. Pardo|
|Succeeded by||Cesar A.V. Purisima|
June 30, 1992 – January 2, 2000
|Preceded by||Gerardo A. Roxas, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Rodriguez D. Dadivas|
|Born||May 13, 1957
Quezon City, Philippines
|Political party||Liberal Party (1992–)|
|Residence||Roxas City, Capiz
|Alma mater||Ateneo de Manila University, University of Pennsylvania|
A graduate of the Wharton School of Economics, Roxas worked as an investment banker, mobilizing venture capital funds for small and medium enterprises. He served as the Representative of the 1st District of Capiz from 1993 to 2000. His stint as Congressman was cut short after he was appointed by President Joseph Estrada as Secretary of Trade and Industry. He resigned from the position at the height of the EDSA Revolution of 2001 and was later re-appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her new Cabinet. He resigned again to run for a Senate seat in the 2004 Philippine election. He was elected as Senator with 19 million votes, the highest ever garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election.
Initially one of the leading contenders in the Philippine presidential election, 2010, he has slid down to becoming a vice-presidential candidate to make way for Noynoy Aquino. Though Roxas's supporters assert that this demonstrated his selflessness, his critics claim that he had done so as a way to secure a graceful exit as he was not performing well in the surveys leading up to the decision.
Roxas was born on May 13, 1957 in Manila, Philippines to Judy Araneta (born July 31, 1931 in Negros Occidental) and Gerardo Roxas. Roxas' father was a former Senator (1924-1982), and the only son of Manuel Roxas, the first President of the Third Philippine Republic, and Trinidad de Leon. The couple married on 1955. He has two siblings namely Maria Lourdes or Ria, married to Augusto Ojeda and mother of three and the late Congressman Gerardo Roxas, Jr. (1960-1993).
After graduation, he worked for seven years as an investment banker in New York, and became an assistant vice president of the New York-based Allen & Company. Following the 1985 announcement by President Ferdinand Marcos of a snap election, he took a leave of absence to join the presidential campaign of Corazon Aquino.
In September 1986, President Corazon Aquino went to the United States. He was one of those who organized a series of investment round-table discussions with the American business community. From 1986 onwards, he visited the Philippines more frequently.
He then proposed to his company to have set up shop in Asia specifically in the Philippines, and later, his superiors agreed. In 1991, he was stationed in the country under North Star Capitals, Inc. which took Jollibee public. In the United States, he participated in the first financing of Discovery Channel and Tri-Star Pictures.
As congressman, he espoused consumer protection, underscoring the right of every Filipino to affordable medicines, as his personal advocacy. His landmark laws include, among others:
His tenure in the House was most noted for his principal authorship of Republic Act No. 7880 (Roxas Law), which ensures fair distribution of the education capital budget among all the provinces. This started his advocacy for fair and equitable access to education, free from regional bias and political patronage considerations.
Roxas was appointed Secretary of Trade and Industry by President Joseph Estrada in January 2000, replacing Jose Pardo who as appointed Secretary of Finance. He resigned the position in November, as Estrada was under fire due to allegations of corruption. In January 2001, days after Estrada was overthrown, Roxas was re-appointed to the same office by newly installed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was also temporarily designated by Arroyo to head the Department of Energy.
During his four-year stint as DTI Secretary, he pushed for the development of the "palengke" (market) as the basic unit of the economy and the root of progress, advocating not only consumer welfare and protection but also sound trade and investment policies, particularly SME development.
He intensified his commitment to quality education through the Personal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS) Program, which distributed over 30,000 computers to 2,000 public high schools all over the Philippines. PCPS computers provided 500,000 high school students with the necessary ICT tools and skills.
His work regarding trade policy was highlighted during the 2003 WTO Meeting in Cancún, Mexico, where he fought for increased market access for Philippine exports, particularly agricultural products and a rationalized Philippine trade regime so that domestic industries would not be harmed.
Roxas launched 'Make IT Philippines' and organized the first IT-enabled services (ITES) to the US which led to the biggest global industry names to invest in the Philippines. He pioneered the establishment of high-technology industry centers and the promotion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) market in the Philippines, particularly call center operations. From a mere 2000 jobs at the onset, the BPO industry now provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, thereby putting the Philippines on the map as a major IT/BPO destination.
He worked for the reopening of the National Steel Corporation which provided thousands of jobs, income and livelihood to Iligan City, Northern Mindanao and adjacent regions. He later launched the Garment Export Industry Transformation Plan and Assistance Package to enhance the competitiveness of the industry and ensure its viability and vibrancy beyond 2004. He also initiated the Motor/Vehicle Development Program to promote exports, create a viable market base for our car manufacturers and secure jobs for our workers.
He pushed for MSME development through the SULONG (SMEs Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth) Program, which granted almost P26.7 billion on low-interest loans to 281,229 SMEs on its first year.
He promoted the Tamang Timbang, Tamang Presyo (Right Scale, Right Price) program for consumers; the Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya (Right Price, Family Medicine) to make affordable and quality medicines accessible to Filipinos, and Pinoy Pandesal, Palengke ng Bayan, among others. These programs promoted supply chain efficiencies leading to growth and productivity, and a wide range of opportunities and long-term gains.
As a proponent of the philosophy of 'palengkenomics', which considers the "palengke" (market) as a microcosm of the economy, Roxas conducts weekly monitoring of the prices of prime commodities and maintains strong linkages with suppliers, traders, and vendors in the different wet markets.
On December 10, 2003, Roxas resigned from his post to prepare for his senatorial bid under the banner of the Liberal Party in the 2004 elections. Roxas said that he needs to separate his work in DTI from his work as a candidate, and added that his resignation did not surprise the President. He was succeeded by Cesar A. V. Purisima, former chairman of the accounting firm Sycip, Gorres & Velayo (SGV).
Roxas was proclaimed by the Comelec as Senator-elect on May 24, 2004 and officially assumed the office at noon of June 30, 2004. He was elected under the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4) of President Arroyo.
Roxas currently holds assignments on the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and Senate Oversight Committee on Optical Media Board serving alongside with Ramon Revilla, Jr..
Roxas authored 43 bills and 46 resolutions brought before the 13th Congress in July 2004 and 2007. He has filed bills on fighting smuggling, supporting labor, education, economy, and alternative energy.
On February 26, 2006, the Philippines was under a state emergency after the government claimed that it foiled an alleged coup d'état attempt against the administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier that same day. Two days later, Roxas called on the government to immediately revoke Proclamation No. 1017, saying it betrays its own vision of a strong republic and directly attack Philippine democracy.
He voted against the Human Security Act together with Senator Jamby Madrigal saying that "the fight against terror requires urgent operational reforms over measures that could impair civil liberties". He even warned that the said law poses a danger to the security and rights of every Filipino if there will be no set of implementing rules and regulations laid down.
Roxas' legislative agenda for the 14th Congress are as follows:
He has filed 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.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 102 (People's Fund Act) to ease the effect of the 12% E-VAT. The People's Fund would consist of thirty percent (30%) of all proceeds from the VAT collected under Title IV of the National Internal Revenue Code. This portion estimates the share of incremental revenues from Republic Act No. 9337, the Expanded Value-Added Tax law, which increased to 12% the VAT and removed the exemption.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 103 (Individual Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners Bill) to exempt minimum wage earners in the private sector and government workers in Salary Grades 1 to 3, amending certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8424, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.
As per estimates by the National Wages and Productivity Board, there are 7 million workers earning the minimum wage and even below. For him, it is unfair and unjust that the government, under the law, is taking away a portion of their already subsistence-level income.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 104 to amend Republic Act No. 7880, also known as the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act, to eliminate the problem of classroom shortages in the Philippines, as well as enhancing the process of construction, rehabilitation, replacement, completion, and repair of needed school buildings and classrooms.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 105 (Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007) to address the absence of a statute that regulates the pre-need industry by establishing the Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007 to govern the operations of firms which issue or sell pre-need plans or similar contracts and investments.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 106 (Anti-Smuggling Act of 2007) to amend certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended. Under the proposed bill, an Audit and Transparency Group under the Bureau of Customs, headed by a Deputy Commissioner, would regularly inspect and report on the bureau's operational processes, collection and financial reporting, fiscal and personnel performance, system efficiency, internal control, information and communication flow, fraudulent and illegal practices and other related areas. On the basis of these inspections and reports, the Audit and Transparency Deputy Commissioner can initiate investigations of fraud and other graft and corrupt practices in the bureau, and shall recommend to the Office of the Ombudsman the filing of any cases against personnel and officers involved.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 107 (Lemon Law of 2007) to have a one (1) year period in which buyers of brand-new vehicles can avail of the provisions of this Lemon Law, which allows up to four repairs on the same defect before a replacement or refund of the vehicle can be claimed. For him, it would ensure that the investment on a vehicle is money well-spent.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 108 (Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to strengthen Republic Act No. 6977, the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises. The focus of the amendments of this bill focuses on three points: guidelines, institutional support and organizational support. Guidelines refer to the specific asset size definition, appropriating a definite and regular amount for the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Council and increase in the mandatory allocation to lending activities. Institutional support comprises additional government agencies to coordinate SME efforts and formalization of the SME Development Plan. Lastly, organizational support to intensify the powers and increase capitalization of the Small Business and Guarantee Finance Corporation to complement the growing demands for financing. Other features of the bill include formalizing the celebration of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Week and recognition of outstanding MSMEs.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 109 (Free Information Act) to implement the Constitutional guarantee to free access by the people to official information, except when the disclosure of such information would jeopardize other prerogatives of the government, namely, the protection of the privacy of individuals, trade secrets, national security, public order and safety, and foreign diplomatic relations.
The bill also proposes the adoption by all government bodies a mechanism wherein all written requests for information shall be responded to within two days, unless proper justification is given by the government body, subject only to the payment of reasonable fees for the viewing or reproduction of such information. To compel disclosure of information, in case a government body refuses access to such information on whatever grounds, the Office of the Ombudsman would be tapped to hear any citizens' complaints of not being properly assisted by the pertinent government body. Penalties will be levied to officials or employees who knowingly and unjustly refuse to provide access to information, or who consciously release false or misleading information.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 110 (Penalty of Imprisonment in Libel Cases Abolition Bill) to decriminalize libel and limit the venue of filing libel suits. He believes that the approval of the said measure would be a small way by which Congress may help in alleviating the plight of journalists.
After he garnered the highest votes in the Philippine election history when he ran as Senator, many people had already made him a potential presidential candidate by 2010. While he has been coy on his plans for 2010, the Mar Roxas for president in 2010 movement has been gathering steam with the Liberal Party revival targeting the youth (considering that the bulk of the voting population is aged below 30 years old). Other signs include the sprouting of Mar Roxas for president spots in cyberspace; and his colleagues endorsing him as the party's standard bearer—Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III declaring him Liberal Party's candidate for 2010, Liberal Party's chair emeritus Jovito Salonga introducing him as "the next president of the Philippine republic" and former Liberal Party Chairman Franklin Drilon saying that Roxas is the party's standard bearer in the 2010 elections.
However, on September 1, 2009 at the historic Club Filipino, in the hopes of being the epitome of his belief of "Country above self. Bayan bago ang sarili," he delivered a speech at a press conference saying that: for the 2010 elections, he is shelving his presidential aspiration and is giving way to Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
On November 26, 2007, LP National Executive Council officials resolved to appoint him as president of the Liberal Party (Philippines).
Roxas is to unite the two LP factions, and set the stage for his presidential campaign in the 2010 election. Lito Atienza, however, forthwith questioned Roxas' appointment, attacking the composition of Liberal Party’s National Executive Council (NECO) and alleged that the Supreme Court of the Philippines' June 5 resolution ordered the LP leadership's status quo maintenance. Atienza stated: "I have no invitation. They kicked me out of the meeting; How can you (Roxas) unite the party when you take the wrong step?"
Senator Mar Roxas has taken positions on many national issues since his election as senator during the 2004 Philippine elections
About the ZTE deal, Roxas introduced a resolution urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cancel the Philippine government's National Broadband Network (NBN) project with China's Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) Corporation.
Roxas said that the $329.4-million deal "was driven by supply and not by demand" and will not benefit Filipinos. He believes that the cancellation of the deal would not affect the relationship of the Philippines with China.
In order to finally put a just closure to national divisiveness, Roxas filed Senate Resolution No. 135 calling on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue a pardon to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada (popularly known as "Erap") at the appropriate time.
"The grant of pardon to Erap on humanitarian grounds should not in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, but serves solely as an embodiment of the people's will for closure on one of the most divisive chapters of our national life," he added.
"In trade negotiations, no deal is always better than a bad deal." This is what Roxas said on JPEPA.
He issued a warning after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pressed on the Senate to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) amid concerns aired by Tokyo for the early approval.
Roxas was optimistic that the pact would be given serious consideration by the Senate if the government revised the deal to get a better trade-off.
Though his supporters claim that his opting for the vice-presidency and giving way to Noynoy Aquino was a demonstration of his selflessness, Roxas's critics maintain that he had done so to ensure a graceful exit from the presidential race as he was not performing well in the presidential surveys up to that point.
His media exposure during the preliminary stages of the campaign has also been criticized by several commentators. Early on, he had appeared on the popular noontime show Wowowee to propose to his current wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, on television. This has led some to believe that Roxas's marriage with Sanchez is merely a way to attract publicity. His supporters however have pointed out that the two have been dating long before the election.
Some commentators have also criticized him for appearing as a passenger of a pedicab driven by a child in his earlier campaign commercials, raising concerns that Roxas condones child labor. In response to this, he has since withdrawn the ad from airing.
He was ex-girlfriend/beauty queen Maricar Zaldarriaga with his son Paolo Zaldarriaga-Roxas. He is currently in a relationship with Korina Sanchez, one of the Philippines' most popular and critically acclaimed broadcast journalists from ABS-CBN. In the April 25, 2009 episode of ABS-CBN noontime show Wowowee where Sanchez appeared as a guest co-host alongside Willie Revillame, Sanchez and Roxas revealed that they are already engaged. Sanchez and Roxas remain mum about the details of their wedding. However, the Philippine Star reported that Sanchez is said to be in talks with designer Pepito Albert for her wedding gown and will take a leave from her work at ABS-CBN starting May 2009.
On October 27, 2009, Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez were married during a simple wedding ceremony held at Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. Roxas' running mate on the 2010 election,Senator Noynoy Aquino became one of the couple's godfather. Manila Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers provided the music during the wedding. Other notable performers included Basil Valdez, Robert Sena, and Jamie Rivera.