empowerment

Raising Hell: A Citizens Guide to the Fine Art of Investigation

The U. S.–based Center for Investigative Journalism (CIR), a nonprofit investigative news organization, recently made available “Raising Hell: A Citizens Guide to the Fine Art of Investigation”, a publication intended to guide civilians on how to “investigate, uncover corruption, and expose weak spots of power”. According to the CIR Tumblr:

Knowing the facts is essential to educating and organizing citizens so they can participate in the decision making that affects their lives. Citizens have a right to know the facts but this right is useless unless they also have the know-how to obtain them. This guide is an introduction to how and where you can use libraries and public records for facts about individuals, government, corporations and ownership of property. You will want to check many other records, books, publications and people not mentioned here. They are all ballast to balance the secrecy of power with the public’s right to know the truth.

The guide, originally published in Mother Jones Magazine, may be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Transcript of BSAIII's answers during the Makati Business Club open forum

Transcript of Sen. Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino’s answers during the Makati Business Club (MBC) open forum, following his delivery of “A Philippines That Works: Economic Vision and Platform“, January 21, 2010

Four-part video of the open forum, courtesy of NoyTV on YouTube:

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Transcript of Responses at the Makati Business Club Forum

Question: In governing you will need the cooperation of Congress, what’s your strategy for getting their cooperation particularly in a situation where you do not control either or both of the houses?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well sir I think you will agree with me that the tradition for the past congresses has been that the dominant party becomes the party to which the President belongs to. If I’m elected president, we already have our Liberal Party, we have our allies in other aggregations and party-list groups but more importantly, the vast majority will always want to be siding with the administration, whoever it is, so cooperation with congress doesn’t seem to be a problem at this point in time as we foresee.

Question: South Africa, after apartheid, formed a Truth Commission. De Klerk, Mandela, wound up winning the Nobel Prize. In South Korea, a similar search for the truth landed … in jail. Given the sustained unpopularity and perceived excesses of the present leadership, will there be priority given by your administration if you win, to ferret out truths about the GMA years? You talk about Garcillano, you talk about Pidal, Peter Wallace and his Wallace 11, ZTE and the like of transactions. What is your administration going to do in this regard?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: The job of the Chief Executive is to enforce all of the laws; recovery of ill-gotten wealth, if it exists, is not a proscribed activity, meaning there are no time limits to it but it has to be a priority. I’ve already made a public statement that I want closure on all of these issues if elected president. That means that one of the four platforms, the top four in the agenda is judicial reform. There has to be certainty of conviction and punishment if you do commit crimes in this country.

A sad fact is that all of the cases that are filed by the prosecutors, only about 18% wind up as convictions. As you know our system says that a prosecutor, before he introduces a case, should be convinced about the validity of the case, the preponderance of evidence at present. But after having undergone that process, it only results in 18% and those are official statistics. 33% are dismissed; we lose all of these cases. Therefore, adherence to the rule of law seems to be honored more in the breach. Now so, in direct answer to your question, there have never been answers to all of the issues that you have mentioned, be it Hello Garci, be it ZTE. For instance in ZTE, there was a board meeting by the NEDA, there were clear-cut instructions on sovereign guarantees on a BOT basis. This was reversed. Those were orders of the head of NEDA and also who happens concurrently to be the head of republic. Who can supersede the orders of the president of this republic? That has to be settled. What are the loopholes that were exploited so that the NBN-ZTE deal almost became the nightmare? But fortunately the people rose up to oppose.

Again, let me reiterate, it will be one of the priorities that will happen within the first 6 months; I guess within the first month we will already be tackling all of these issues under the Department of Justice and to ferret out and move the investigation, and if so warranted, to file the necessary charges.

Question: Will you or will you not form a Truth Commission?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: In the Truth Commission, was something I’ve always been studying ever since I became a congressman the first time in 1998. I thought that the model and the idea of closure for a lot of things. One question that I wasn’t able to answer then was, as you know, in South Africa, a necessary component of availing of the privileges was to reveal everything you knew about crimes that you had committed during the apartheid regime, by both sides, which included very vivid descriptions of various tortures employed. I was asking myself, in the Philippine context, if a father were to revisit a crime committed to a child, who was tortured by government forces in the martial law years, will that not in turn, foster a new cycle of violence? I’ve never really been able to answer that question. But in terms of reviewing this past decade and the lost opportunities in what are the systemic loopholes that were exploited that got us to this point, yes, but in terms of filing charges against those who are guilty of committing crimes that I think should be left to the Department of Justice, in the very capable hands of a very active and proactive Secretary of Justice, who I will not name at this point in time lest he be persecuted for that.

Question: Over the last decade or so the Philippine economy has not done well in manufacturing, it has not come out competitive in the world, and agriculture has not developed as you mentioned the way it should, and the country has moved more and more toward being a service industry, very successfully in some cases, call centers, BPO, tourism beginning to pick up, this is an area which I think there is a great potential for the Philippines. But it requires one thing that the two other sectors don’t require, education. And the educational system in the Philippines has deteriorated dramatically and alarmingly. We only have a ten-year primary/secondary school system where everywhere else in the world has 12. as you mentioned only 14% graduate from college level. We don’t have enough classrooms, books full or errors, all the things you know. What specific things will you do to correct the situation? And where and how will you get the funds?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: There are various solutions to the problem, and first of all let me agree with you Mr. Juarez with all the things you’ve said previously. What are solutions? How much will it cost to…there is an estimated twenty to forty thousand classroom need in this country. If our main focus will be to pump prime the economy and generate employment, then we will build the schools.

Our experts tell us within a year, maximum of two years we can complete the twenty to forty thousand, even at the cost of a million per classroom, although at this point in time the average is at about 500,000, and where will we get the money? As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are so much leakages in our revenue collection efforts. The 150 billion, we can allocate a portion of the 150 billion towards meeting at least part of the 40 billion necessary, if pump-priming was the necessary goal.

On the other hand we want a more effective use of the resource, we can contract private schools. I’m made to understand that middle-tier schools have a tuition in the 5,000 to 8,000 bracket. What does that mean? For a class size of 50, that translates into Php400,000 cost per classroom of 50. When we build classrooms, the shell, the basic shell lacking, the chairs, the blackboard, electricity, the books, the teachers, etc., just the basic shell is already on average nation-wide Php500,000. So if we are to send these children, there’s an existing program using a voucher system called “Gasbi.” If we send these children to private schools but in a direct contracting basis so that there are no abuses in the system, we can save about Php100,000 per classroom. That translates into, or we can utilize that resource into supplemental feeding programs, into a better book development program, into a scholarships for college, into scholarships for teachers, benefits, so on and so forth.

So, the plan is, transform it from 10 to 12, there is a bridge program, it’s already in the books, that’s why my theme is always “there are no secrets.” The plan is a good plan, it’s already there, it’s really just a question of implementing the same. Now, I think it is unfair for our students to, to expect rather, our students to be able to absorb 12 years’ worth of education in a 10-year program, further compounded by the desire to be solving the problems by saying we have no more classroom shortages, and this was done basically by shifting. Shifting is making 2 or 3 classes utilize 1 classroom. And I would just like to emphasize because that really angers me every time I think about it. You’re a Grade 1 student, which is the entry level, in our public school system, you have a class supposedly for English, to which Science and Health have been included. So, the child who probably doesn’t understand English, is tasked to understand scientific concepts taught in English and together with health. To further compound it, as if he didn’t have enough problems, he’s given a textbook that has errors known only to the teacher, who is in possession of teacher’s notes. The Grade 1 student, I think no, by the DepEd is expected to be able to discern what is right and what is wrong at Grade 1, in a language he doesn’t understand.

Therefore the investment is a guarantee of problems down the line. People who cannot be employed think, limitations as to what we can do given the talent that is there before us. So we want to get to the 12-year program, we want to have a pre-school level where they are taught or conditioned to be able to study. And of course those textbooks will really have to be corrected and people who accepted the same and contracted for the same should be liable.

Question: Could we encourage Congress to spend its pork barrel on education?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Pork barrel will be limited to national priority programs, and of course one of them will be school-building programs.

Question: Mr. Senator, there are a couple of questions that deal with governance issues, particularly corruption, and I’d like to read them and maybe you can answer them as a whole. How will you handle the Lucio Tan cases of tax evasion and the Marcos wealth? Second, you talk about how different you will be from the present administration, what exactly will you do to make GMA, FG and all pay for their crimes? What will you do with the tong of all congressmen? There’s another one that has to do with encouraging whistle-blowers. So maybe your strategy with dealing with corruption?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Can I start with how do I deal with whistle-blowers? It’s a sad fact no, I learned this close to about 3 decades ago, if you catch somebody smuggling, you’re supposed to entitled to, I’m talking about at this point in time, to a reward of 20% when you give information to catch the smugglers. If you facilitate smuggling, I was told by my informants, you get a 10% fee. So I asked this person, why will you participate in something illegal to get 10% when you can go legal? And point the authorities towards the commission of this crime and get a double reward? And the simple answer was: the 10% is kaliwaan, I get it right away, the 20% I will get when I retire and probably 5 years after that. The explanation is you go through so many processes, the seizing, the goods, for instance, of smuggling, the appeals process, auctioning, etc., I don’t think it’s that difficult point for government to advance this reward system to make it an effective reward system, point one.

Point 2, as I keep saying, the judicial reform is so essential. We cannot have a situation where a criminal is not deterred from committing a crime basically because even if he gets to trial, he doesn’t even have a 1 in 5 chance of being convicted. It seems you are the most unlucky individual to be convicted in this country. Now we have so many leads with regards to the first family, statements of assets and liabilities are there, there are dramatic changes in the statements of various members, and obviously, there are various provisions already with our laws, unexplained wealth, is presumed to be ill-gotten. And in that situation, they are tasked to answer for that.

And at the same time, my father was a very…one of my father’s most important advocacies was human rights. Therefore I will ensure that their rights are also protected. Because again, from my father, the true test of a democracy is not your ability to defend the rights of your friends, but more importantly those of your enemies. Because if you allow one group to be oppressed, you are setting up the situation for your group to be oppressed at some point in time. So they will be afforded all of the rights, they will be given all of the opportunities to answer the charges, and like any other citizen, they will be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Now with regards to the Marcos and Lucio Tan cases, and these are subjudice, I will be entering the situation, what, at the second or third decade of litigation? One would hope that there is closure to all, even to those issues. When you go into this country, you can expect adjudication of cases to happen in a timely manner. One of the sad facts, and that’s why judicial reform, again, our stake, has to be improved, is that on average we understand that it takes 6 years to adjudicate a case. Again, it leads to, a condition where it moves everybody not to follow the laws, and that has to stop.

Question: 2 quick questions, Senator. the heart of the Cory Constitution is social justice. The phrase is not anywhere in your platform, as advertised. What are the specifics of your social justice program? And related, that is the question of what will you do June 30, 2010, we do not have a president or vice president who can be proclaimed and we wake up on July 1, 2010, GMA is still the ruler of this country in one form or another?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I take exception to the fact that social justice is not in the platform, it is actually embodied in practically all of the 16 points of the platform that we have published on the site. For instance, we want to have the provision of opportunities for everybody to improve themselves, that’s why job generation is first in the list of priorities. What does that mean? I think a father wants best, provide me the job and I’ll take care of my children’s education and health. Education is the second factor, again empowerment, again, opportunities. If you are not educated enough, there are you know, what jobs actually can, what skills do you have, and what jobs can you acquire? Therefore, to have meaningful job generation, the educational support should be there, hence our drive for the 12-year program and even the inclusion of a nursery stage prior to the formal education program.

The ecology, the platform on ecology is very, very simple. We want to translate it so that there’s no confusion among anyone. If there are no forests, there are no watersheds. No watersheds, no water. No water, no food, no food, no people. Are you aware that we have an 8% remaining primary forest cover? But what is more criminal, is up to today, we have not delineated the forestry lines. So when you talk about preserving forests, you don’t even define what the forests is obviously, we are not preserving anything, and that is there also. I’m sorry, I’m missing the second question.

Question: The second questions asks what you will do come June 30, 2010 when we have no elected president and vice president…

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Number one, the laws on succession are very clear. But can I just tell you, instead of telling all of you our plans, people, let’s not be naive, no? There are talks that certain quarters want to exploit that situation. There are talks of failure of elections or non-proclamation, no-el, so on and so forth. Now, does it behoove me to reveal publicly the plans that we are contemplating at this point in time, and to make our job of preserving this democracy harder by telling our enemies precisely what we will do. I think I will leave my plans close guarded at this point in time and we assure you we are not babes in the woods, and we are ready, as much as possible, we are getting all the necessary info, intelligence and alliances in place, to forestall the grabbing of power by people with purely vested self-interest.

Can I just add, sorry, this has to be really laid in the minds of everybody. We in the Liberal Party say that we are espousing platform-based, issue-based politics. And I am very, very confident that even if I were not in the seat, this occupation is fraught with dangers. I have in the person of my partner, Mar Roxas, somebody who is exactly of like mind, somebody who will pick up if I am unable to finish the job. Therefore, we can assure everybody that will join us, there is a continuity of expectations that are realistic. This is not person-based.

Question: That highlights a weakness in the political system in the Philippines. When we elect you, we don’t automatically elect Sen. Roxas because you’re voted for independently—so it has to be as a team. In the papers recently there was a two-page ad put in by the government claiming all kinds of things: that this president has achieved. It has numerous faults in it. One of the things is that they are very proud of the fact that this economy had been stimulated and helped by the OFWs and their remittances to the Philippines. Those OFWs are Filipinos who have had to leave their families. So society has been hurt badly by it. It’s in fact an economic failure. A failure of government to provide the jobs that they should have had here. What would you do to reverse the situation, to be able to provide the jobs here for Filipinos instead of overseas?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino:: Well, number one, I think I will be lying if I told you that we will have comparable jobs within six years. That I think is an impossibility. But there is I think an obtainable objective of having compensation for people who have skills that have been improved. We can get it to a certain level whereby the increase in wages—although not the same as working abroad—together with the family being in tact, and together with the idea of being a first-class citizen in your own country will be enough to win people away from seeking the greener pasture elsewhere. We believe that the people who have left and who are opting to leave, primarily have no choice. They are political refugees, they are being forced, not for improvement—where it was 20 years ago—but rather even just for survival. And again you’re right. The opportunities have to exist here. Now, when I go around the country, when I go around Metro Manila, the opportunities are so abundant, and all it takes is to do the right thing. For instance, in Surigao City, the table you’re using right now was about the length of this fish—I don’t know what breed of fish that was. But that particular stall in the public market in Surigao City had three of it. The next stall had five of the same size. And the Media asked me in that point in time—this was the senatorial campaign—”Can you raise it up for a photo op?” And of course I’m very macho, and I proceeded to raise it by the head. And the only thing I raised was the head. It was that heavy. And I was saying: “How much would it cost to set up a blast freezing facility here? How much would it cost to turn these things into steaks, train the people to marinate it into that, and export it to countries like Japan or elsewhere, where they’d be thanking us for sharing the bounty … ” Mar Roxas’s home province of Capiz, you go to the beach at low tide, you have a rake, you rake the sand, you get clams. In Metro Manila you get [the fry] of the clams. Why can’t we even get it from Capiz to Metro Manila?

I’m sorry, sometimes I can’t stop, because really, the absurdity, the simplicity of the solutions that are not being implemented really gets to me. The fertilizer scam: The greatest sin is 723 million pesos at least could have started a chain of improving productivity. And for those of you who are not aware, when you plant rice in irrigated lands—and that was the hybrid rice program, that was the fertilizer input program —you can double to quadruple your income for our farmers, especially if it’s irrigated. You can have five harvests in two years. But this current government made the program in 2004 and really turned it into a disaster. We had ten cropping cycles that we lost an opportunity in. But the biggest sin is that even in investigating this alleged crime took four years. That’s why I said ten harvests were lost. So, again, from Masagana ’99 we had a hundred kabans per hectare. Commercially we are already now growing 240 to 320 kabans per hectare. I am told, but I’m still validating this, that UPLB and IRRI are even working further than that. And again: a true fertilizer input program, adequate monitoring, serious credit facilities, can undoubtedly at least make us self-sufficient in rice. We teach agriculturists worldwide. At the end of the day, we import food. That has to stop also.

Question: I think you will welcome this next question. It says: do you already have enough money for the campaign?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I will be lying if I tell you we have enough money. But, there is adequate … but of course, it makes the process that much simpler. Can I just share with you this bit of information that was given to me yesterday? I understand there was a tsinoy who went to our headquarters in EDSA the other day. He proceeds to donate a certain amount of money, I was not told how much, but he had a simple request. I’ll say it Tagalog cause it really was… I really made my day that day. He said: “Ito yung pera, bumili kayo ng commercial niyo. Naiinis na ko dito sa isang ‘to.” That by the way is not a joke. It really did happen. At some point in time we will have to report that contribution to Comelec. We’ll have all the details then. But it really made my day.

Question: Two quick questions again, Mr Senator. What will be the roles of your sister Kris and your uncle Peping if you become president? Can you give us a specifically categorical answer on your stand on the Reproductive Health Bill?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kris I think will still be my fashion adviser, which means if she does not like what I’m wearing, she will not keep quiet. I think she even had this barong made. So if she complains I’ll tell her you’re the one who designed it. And that will be the extent. Most of my sisters, and Kris included—Kris is a very busy individual … Anything I ask her, I ask her to attend some ribbon-cutting thing if I become president, that will be an imposition on her time. The three are eagerly looking forward to regaining their anonymity. In fact I’m not even sure if I celebrate my birthday, in the period of incumbency, that they will be present, since it will be a Media event. The role of my Tito Peping: I would be foolish not to seek his wisdom, because of his experience; but at the same time, I will be the one holding the fort. The buck really has to stop with me. I am responsible ultimately for all my actions. Therefore any or all of my decisions will be based on discussion with all the stakeholders as much as possible, but in the end of the day it will be something I can live with in conscience, in what I believe is right regardless on who propounded it.

On reproductive health: Of course, somehow, the secretariat at the senate made it appear that I was an author of the Reproductive Heath Bill. Unfortunately I never authored such a bill. And I intend to interpolate the proposed version before us. The portion that I want to interpolate on is: In government when you have a budget, you don’t use it, you lose it. And there will be provisions of the reproductive health for artificial means of family control. And I want provisions that will ensure that if government hospitals—by cunning, by deceit, by misinformation, etc, are able to expend these budgetary items so that they are replenished, then there’d be penal sanctions for the same.

My position is more properly called Responsible Parenthood; and basically it says, “The state has an obligation to remind parents each child you bring into this world carries with it a certain set of responsibilities: to clothe, to shelter, to educate, etc. That is the extent of what the state should do. So there will be educational programs, campaigns, seminars, symposia, to which we will invite all of the churches to put in their two-cents worth. At the end of the day, the state, in preserving the family, mandated by the constitution has to remind everybody that they will and that they should have these set of responsibilities. The state cannot force as to size, the state cannot force as to method. Now, in fact we will oppose any attempt to do so, because a democratic state has to proceed from individual freedoms.

Question: President Arroyo has intervened in a number of industries: power, oil, cement, pharmaceuticals, food—particularly, sensitively, rice. In state of belief, it was necessary to give people relief from otherwise excessive prices. What would be your policy and action?

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Mrs Arroyo when she was my professor said that there should be minimal government intervention (Questioner: “She’s got a poor memory …”), because distortions are created in the marketplace. But then again, given that … you know, it proceeds from a governance of survival there’s no logic used except “will it help me retain power or not?” Therefore every decision is faulted from the onset because of that perception. We are hoping that we will get our mandate clear: clear and clearly won, therefore we will have the confidence to embark and ask our people. At this point in time we will have to sacrifice by X amount to get to this level. We want to be transparent in all of the dealings. At the end of the day I assume, god willing we have an intervention for instance in agriculture. You had that 723 million debt really bought fertilizers that were correct. That were delivered at a timely manner at an appropriate price. And perhaps even the, as I mentioned, the purchasing aspect of it be reformed. Things will work out on themselves because we made the right decisions on every aspect. When I pass EDSA, and I guess everybody who passes … can I just a question? When was the last time you remember EDSA as being a smoothly paved road? And this is the premiere road of our National Capital Region. I think most of you will say Highway 54, those who are honest. But when we export our construction companies, our engineers, our designers elsewhere, hindi ba world class? How many of you are aware that in this recent tragedy in Haiti, there were so many Filipinos in a professional basis. And I was surprised that even in Bermuda, the same situation holds: Accountants, lawyers, etc. I always assumed that Bermuda, beneficiary of the British Civil Service System, would have a very efficient bureaucracy, and an efficient professional corps. But it turns out it is again it’s again another area for Filipino expertise to shine. So again, they can do it there, undoubtably they can do it better here, so long as the milieu is present that opportunities for everybody are extant. Nobody is excluded, hence our phrase is “Walang iwanan at walang maiiwan.”

Question: I was told that we have to wind this up after two final questions, that I’d like to read. One is: “How will you handle the issue of pagbabago the Filipino people dreamt and longed for” and “as a transformational president, what key qualities would you bring to this task?”

Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well, number one, you will have to lead by example. I think in fairness to my mother, at the onset of her term she inherited a government that was corrupt top to bottom, for the most part because the top set the example. Something as cop on the street who was being bribed for a minor traffic violation: he used to demand for his bribe. At the onset of my mom’s term, the phrase was, “Teka, hindi ko hinihingi yan a. Binibigay mo yan, pinipilit mo.” There was a recognition that that was wrong. And after that, something as simple as … I complain about traffic, and Mar in I already have an agreement. If we win, and if traffic isn’t solved, we’ll participate in the traffic. We will not ask of anybody that which we are not ready to do ourselves first. Hopefully we will not talk as much, because we are trying to put a spin on something that is indefensible. And siguro the biggest ambition is in the fourth year, it will just be Mar and I talking because everything is working and it’s boring.

Sana po ay hindi na naming kailangan tutukan minut-minuto, dahil nga maayos na ang systema. E ngayon palang ho nagiipon na kami ng mga kwento just in case magkatotoo po yan. Diba? Lahat naman ng magulo sa mundo nating to ay dahil nga yung systema, hinayaan na kung saan interes ng isang tao, isang grupo lang ang importante. Yun ang gusto naming baguhin.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

BSAIII action plan on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

Platform for Overseas Filipino Workers

Action Plan on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

For more than three decades, the Philippines has witnessed the migration of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to take up work in other countries. While there are economic benefits from overseas employment, there are attendant social costs such as the abuse, maltreatment, and discrimination of Filipino migrant workers and the psychosocial impacts of the separation of family members. As a policy, working away from one’s home and family should be a product of choice, not necessity.

As President, Noynoy Aquino commits to create jobs at home so that working abroad will be out of choice, not necessity; and guarantee the welfare and protection of OFWs.

  • An Aquino Government will uphold the State’s policy of not pursuing overseas employment as a development strategy and establish concrete policies and steps towards more sustainable alternatives.
  • Prioritize the protection of overseas Filipino workers and their families
    • Implement policies to establish a higher standard of protection and promote the empowerment of migrants and their families.
    • Review the continued deployment of workers to countries which are high- and medium-risk areas, as well the continued deployment of workers in high-risk occupations
  • Improve and enhance government’s services and resources for OFWs and their families
    • Create an efficient “one-stop shop” for processing applications for overseas work and seeking redress for grievances in order to streamline the bureaucracy, cut down on complicated and unnecessary procedures, and reduce avenues for corruption.
    • Audit the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to rationalize the management of its funds, in terms of the benefits provided as well as how the funds are invested.
    • Transform Philippine embassies, consular offices and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) into centers of care and service for overseas workers by assigning more foreign service officers to posts where there are many OFWs and train them in the needs of the communities they serve.
    • Invest in training and upgrading the skills of our overseas workers. TESDA will formally and regularly be involved in training OFWs and we will hire returning OFWs to conduct training so that they may transfer skills learned abroad.
    • Pursue and prosecute those engaging in illegal and predatory activities, including fixers, scammers and especially traffickers that target women and children. We will fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
    • Assist OFWs in achieving financial stability that also contributes to the Philippines’ development through training, investment and savings programs.
    • Address the social costs of migration by working closely with communities and families of OFWs to provide effective social welfare services such as counseling and pre-departure orientation seminars
    • Improve the seafarers’ upgrading program, credit/loaning program, self-insurance coverage program, which includes life insurance, burial benefit and disability and dismemberment benefits, and reintegration program.
    • Complete a global trading master plan that aims to establish worldwide trading posts that rely on the labor, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
  • Engage the participation of the migrant sector and civil society in governance
    • Involve civil society and migrants themselves in developing, implementing and reviewing policies and programs related to the migrant sector
    • Support the creation or strengthening of community-based support groups for families of OFWs
  • Strengthen re-integration programs for returning migrants
    • Facilitate the re-integration of returning OFWs by favorable terms of investment, tax incentives, access to government financial institutions and other benefits that are offered to foreign investors.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

BSAIII action plan on tourism

Platform on Tourism

Action Plan on Tourism

Tourism is a key industry with a high potential for growth in the Philippines. Tourism generates jobs and provides livelihood and income for workers of all skill levels, from managers and CEOs to cooks, busboys and souvenir makers (weavers and craftspeople).

Tourism also helps us remember and celebrate our identity as Filipinos and appreciate our unique culture as we share it with each other and the world.

In 2009, total tourist traffic in the top fourteen (14) destinations in the Philippines reached 8.9 million, posting a 14% growth.

As president, Noynoy Aquino will promote the Philippines as a prime destination that offers world-class tourist facilities and products through sustainable economic development while protecting and preserving the environment.

  • We will harness our natural resources by involving our local communities in sustainable tourism endeavors. This will be achieved in a way that meets the needs of today’s discerning travelers without compromising the environment, and the future of our citizens. Our abundance in resources – beaches, mountains, caves and historical sites – can make key growth areas such as ecotourism, health and wellness and medical tourism thrive to the benefit of our economy and our people.
  • Noynoy Aquino will support our target industries with a level playing field for businesses to encourage free and fair competition by making our business procedures easier and more streamlined. We will transform our systems in a way that ensures quality service to the public. We will streamline the approval process, not only for setting up new businesses but also in the regular day-to-day transactions with government, such as the payment of taxes. We will do this on a national as well as the local level.
  • We will support small and medium enterprises by providing them access to credit, technologies and skills that would enable them to compete in the global economy. We will invest in our country’s top resource, our people, to make us more competitive and employable. We will also support the empowerment of communities through skills training and workshops that would enable them to plan and implement projects that will meet both their short-term and long-term needs.
  • We will have a complementary infrastructure system that will include the construction and repair of roads, bridges, airports and seaports to increase accessibility to our sites.
  • We will adopt a national sanitation program that will lead to universal access to sanitary toilets. This will improve family and public health, protect the groundwater, lakes, rivers and coastal waters from domestic waste contamination and indirectly, make tourism destinations more attractive and safer.
  • An Aquino administration will be dedicated to upholding and enforcing law and order – within its security forces as well as among those who pose a genuine threat to our internal security.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

BSAIII action plan on urban poverty

Covenant with the Urban Poor

Action Plan on Urban Poverty

Our country’s most valuable resource is its people.

Every Filipino has the right to basic human needs, a decent standard of living, and the equal opportunity to develop his or her potentials to the fullest.

In a modern economy every person must be a productive citizen contributing the best of his or her abilities to the development of the country.

However, poverty denies many Filipinos their basic rights and the opportunities to improve their lives and help in nation building. Bad governance and corruption are the primary causes that subvert development and growth.

As candidates for public office, we pledge to build a just society for all Filipinos. We shall vigorously rid our government of corruption and channel these resources to address the basic needs of our people, especially the poor and marginalized.

We shall also implement sustainable solutions through institutionalized policies to combat poverty and provide basic needs, including housing, health, education and jobs for the poor, rather than the “stop gap” measures and empty political gestures of the past and present.

We commit ourselves to the following goals and principles:

No evictions without decent relocation.

We will end illegal forced evictions. We will not allow any public or private authority to evict families and leave them homeless in the street. The government must provide decent relocation, near-city or in-city, if possible, quality housing, adequate basic services and jobs.

We will not tolerate a situation where wage earners have to stay in the city to work while the other members of the family stay in distant relocation centers. This separation weakens and often fractures family life. We will not institutionalize such situations by building sites in the city where they will live apart from their families. As the work force in the cities, the poor, up to the extent possible, should be given the opportunity to stay in the cities.

We will strengthen efforts to achieve balance and equitable urban-rural development and established sustainable livelihood activities in relocation areas to proactively address the problems of in-migration and informal housing.

Provide support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement.

We will shift the emphasis in our housing program to area upgrading and in-city resettlement through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). We will accelerate CMP and promote its localization (LCMP).

We will strive to proclaim land in favor of as many poor families as possible anchored on the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of their local governments and in consultation with their beneficiary families.

We will order a review of all Presidential Proclamations to determine the status of their implementation. We will not revoke any Presidential Proclamation without thorough study and adequate consultation.

Provide basic services that benefit poor communities.

Over the six years of our term, we will significantly increase the health and education allocations in our national budget. This will bring us closer to the level of spending of our neighboring countries. We will extend health insurance coverage to all urban poor people, put an end to shifting in public schools and provide full set of quality textbooks for our public school children.

We will work with the private sector, utility cooperatives and the donor community to provide access to water and electricity for all urban poor communities. We will encourage our public utilities and government-owned and controlled corporations to incorporate these goals as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility.

Housing budget.

Our desire is to have a government which will provide adequate housing for every Filipino and protect their housing rights.

To this end, we are committed to support and replicate successful housing programs to cover the estimated housing need by providing sufficient funds through the use of the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act (CISFA) and other financing sources.

We will also work with the Local Government Units and the private sector, especially those in the financial sector, in coming up with new, innovative and sustainable housing and financial products that will provide access to housing to the marginalized and poor of our country.

We will strengthen government’s partnership with non-government organizations and support people’s initiative to provide the poor with housing.

Jobs.

We will create large-scale public works programs that can generate substantial number of jobs for poor men and women. At the onset of our term, we will emphasize labor-intensive public works programs that can generate significant numbers of jobs for our poor people and give them access to at least the minimum amounts of money, food and dignity needed for their daily survival and well-being. We will help those in the informal sector to avail of relevant incentives, services and benefits, such as access to social security and other forms of assistance.

Recognizing that the primary and most important resource of our country is its people, we will emphasize the creation of jobs that empower the work force, jobs that build capacity and create opportunities for the poor and marginalized. This requires advance training and preparation for appropriate skills needed for modern economy. This also presumes sound elementary and high school education. We promise to focus on generating jobs that will encourage entrepreneurship including-pro poor tourism. We will create an environment that is conducive to growth, competitiveness and full-employment.

Increased cooperation with local government units.

We will work with Local Government Units for the full implementation of the provisions of the UDHA and to empower them to address the housing needs of their constituents through existing provisions in the UDHA such as the provision of land for socialized housing and the inventory of informal settlers within their respective jurisdictions.

To encourage Local Government Units to take the lead in addressing housing needs, we will provide incentives to LGUs like co-financing schemes, technical assistance and other support services so that they could take an active role in socialized housing.

We will institutionalize and strengthen participatory shelter planning at the local level and identify other fund sources to support housing programs particularly for informal settlers at the local level.

Peace.

I will make every effort possible to begin sustainable and uninterrupted peace negotiations in Mindanao. We will not give up this peace-making effort. We will respond to the needs of dislocated/displaced people in Mindanao due to continued conflict between Christian and Muslim brothers.

Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We recognize that most people living in risk prone areas are forced by circumstances to live in these areas because government has failed to give them viable alternatives. This is the basic premise of the Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We will appoint capable persons to plan and implement intensive post-Ondoy rehabilitation projects. We will explore new approaches that address both the housing and livelihood needs of affected families. We will review Executive Order 854 in consultation with the affected communities and look for appropriate solutions for the families living in Manggahan Floodway and Lupang Arenda. We will ensure that local and international public and private efforts are closely coordinated.

Appointment.

The appointment of reform-minded persons is essential to the attainment of the objective of HUDCC to institute reforms and steer this office and other shelter agencies to become more responsive, efficient and effective agencies in the delivery of housing services to poor families. Cabinet positions and portfolios including the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries would be distributed among the three major islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) without sacrificing competence and trustworthiness criteria.

We will appoint a person with a track record and demonstrated capacity in delivering social housing as HUDCC Chairperson. We will appoint NGO and PO representatives in the boards of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and in the council of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. We will also appoint an NGO representative with observer status to the board of the National Housing Authority (NHA). We will also appoint an NHA General Manager, the SHFC President and Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in consultation with civil society groups.

Participation and stakeholdership.

We will emphasize the role of stakeholders in finding solutions to the problems that they face. In fact, the process that we will go through to provide the details of this plan we have presented today will be consultative and transparent.

All these goals with the urban poor will be part of our development agenda and platform to build an inclusive urban society.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Covenant With The Urban Poor

Our country’s most valuable resource is its people.

Every Filipino has the right to basic human needs, a decent standard of living, and the equal opportunity to develop his or her potentials to the fullest.

In a modern economy every person must be a productive citizen contributing the best of his or her abilities to the development of the country.

However, poverty denies many Filipinos their basic rights and the opportunities to improve their lives and help in nation building. Bad governance and corruption are the primary causes that subvert development and growth.

As candidates for public office, we pledge to build a just society for all Filipinos. We shall vigorously rid our government of corruption and channel these resources to address the basic needs of our people, especially the poor and marginalized.

We shall also implement sustainable solutions through institutionalized policies to combat poverty and provide basic needs, including housing, health, education and jobs for the poor, rather than the “stop gap” measures and empty political gestures of the past and present.

We commit ourselves to the following goals and principles:

No evictions without decent relocation.

We will end illegal forced evictions. We will not allow any public or private authority to evict families and leave them homeless in the street. The government must provide decent relocation, near-city or in-city, if possible, quality housing, adequate basic services and jobs.

We will not tolerate a situation where wage earners have to stay in the city to work while the other members of the family stay in distant relocation centers. This separation weakens and often fractures family life. We will not institutionalize such situations by building sites in the city where they will live apart from their families. As the work force in the cities, the poor, up to the extent possible, should be given the opportunity to stay in the cities.

We will strengthen efforts to achieve balance and equitable urbanrural development and established sustainable livelihood activities in relocation areas to proactively address the problems of in-migration and informal housing.
Provide support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement.

We will shift the emphasis in our housing program to area upgrading and in-city resettlement through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). We will accelerate CMP and promote its localization (LCMP).

We will strive to proclaim land in favor of as many poor families as possible anchored on the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of their local governments and in consultation with their beneficiary families.

We will order a review of all Presidential Proclamations to determine the status of their implementation. We will not revoke any Presidential Proclamation without thorough study and adequate consultation.
Provide basic services that benefit poor communities.

Over the six years of our term, we will significantly increase the health and education allocations in our national budget. This will bring us closer to the level of spending of our neighboring countries. We will extend health insurance coverage to all urban poor people, put an end to shifting in public schools and provide full set of quality textbooks for our public school children.

We will work with the private sector, utility cooperatives and the donor community to provide access to water and electricity for all urban poor communities. We will encourage or public utilities and governmentowned and controlled corporations to incorporate these goals as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility.
Housing budget.

Our desire is to have a government which will provide adequate housing for every Filipino and protect their housing rights.

To this end, we are committed to support and replicate successful housing programs to cover the estimated housing need by providing sufficient funds through the use of the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act (CISFA) and other financing sources.

We will also work with the Local Government Units and the private sector, especially those in the financial sector, in coming up with new, innovative and sustainable housing and financial products that will provide access to housing to the marginalized and poor of our country.

We will strengthen government’s partnership with non-government organizations and support people’s initiative to provide the poor with housing.
Jobs.

We will create large-scale public works programs that can generate substantial number of jobs for poor men and women. At the onset of our term, we will emphasize labor-intensive public works programs that can generate significant numbers of jobs for our poor people and give them access to at least the minimum amounts of money, food and dignity needed for their daily survival and well-being. We will help those in the informal sector to avail of relevant incentives, services and benefits, such as access to social security and other forms of assistance.

Recognizing that the primary and most important resource of our country is its people, we will emphasize the creation of jobs that empower the work force, jobs that build capacity and create opportunities for the poor and marginalized. This requires advance training and preparation for appropriate skills needed for modern economy. This also presumes sound elementary and high school education. We promise to focus on generating jobs that will encourage entrepreneurship including-pro poor tourism. We will create an environment that is conducive to growth, competitiveness and full-employment.
Increased cooperation with local government units.

We will work with Local Government Units for the full implementation of the provisions of the UDHA and to empower them to address the housing needs of their constituents through existing provisions in the UDHA such as the provision of land for socialized housing and the inventory of informal settlers within their respective jurisdictions.

To encourage Local Government Units to take the lead in addressing housing needs, we will provide incentives to LGUs like co-financing schemes, technical assistance and other support services so that they could take an active role in socialized housing.

We will institutionalize and strengthen participatory shelter planning at the local level and identify other fund sources to support housing programs particularly for informal settlers at the local level.
Peace.

I will make every effort possible to begin sustainable and uninterrupted peace negotiations in Mindanao. We will not give up this peace-making effort. We will respond to the needs of dislocated/displaced people in Mindanao due to continued conflict between Christian and Muslim brothers.
Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We recognize that most people living in risk prone areas are forced by circumstances to live in these areas because government has failed to give them viable alternatives. This is the basic premise of the Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We will appoint capable persons to plan and implement intensive post-Ondoy rehabilitation projects. We will explore new approaches that address both the housing and livelihood needs of affected families. We will review Executive Order 854 in consultation with the affected communities and look for appropriate solutions for the families living in Manggahan Floodway and Lupang Arenda. We will ensure that local and international public and private efforts are closely coordinated.
Appointment

The appointment of reform-minded persons is essential to the attainment of the objective of HUDCC to institute reforms and steer this office and other shelter agencies to become more responsive, efficient and effective agencies in the delivery of housing services to poor families. Cabinet positions and portfolios including the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries would be distributed among the three major islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) without sacrificing competence and trustworthiness criteria.

We will appoint a person with a track record and demonstrated capacity in delivering social housing as HUDCC Chairperson. We will appoint NGO and PO representatives in the boards of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and in the council of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. We will also appoint an NGO representative with observer status to the board of the National Housing Authority (NHA). We will also appoint an NHA General Manager, the SHFC President and Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in consultation with civil society groups.
Participation & Stakeholdership.

We will emphasize the role of stakeholders in finding solutions to the problems that they face. In fact, the process that we will go through to provide the details of this plan we have presented today will be consultative and transparent.

All these goals with the urban poor will be part of our development agenda and platform to build an inclusive urban society.

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