Let’s Re-Elect Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay as Senator
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The Bohol Chronicle
April 21, 2013
As a political biographer of President Ramon Magsaysay, I spent several years doing research on the father of Senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay. In 1954-55, as a young instructor in U.P., I worked as a staff assistant in the Government Survey and Reorganization Commission during the Magsaysay presidency. I had various occasions to observe our most beloved President.
Being ten years younger than I, Jun was then a teenager. Much later, when Jun grew up, he read my original biography of his father, entitled Ramon Magsaysay: A Political Biography, published in 1971.
And much later, when Jun Magsaysay was a senator (1995-2007), I came to know him more. Senator Jun would ask me if I would update my 1971 biography in the sense of reviewing the life of President Magsaysay in the perspective of the many years since his tragic death in the plane crash in Cebu on March 17, 1957.
I kept postponing writing my second edition of the biography—until 2012 when I finally did it and published Ramon Magsaysay: “Servant Leader” With A Vision Of Hope.”Hope for a good, working democracy and a better life for all, and especially the poor and forgotten folk.
Now knowing both father and son quite well, I venture to ask you, my readers, to re-elect Senator Jun Magsaysay on May 10, 2013. Handpicked by President Benigno S. Aquino to be on his “Team PNoy,” Senator Jun is a worthy leader in his own right. As the worthy son of a beloved father and President of our country, Senator Jun will serve our country again with honor and distinction.
Senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay’s Accomplishments (1995-2007)
Major Legislation. Senator Ramon “JUN” Magsaysay authored some 70 bills that became laws. Here are some of them. (1) Magna Carta for SMEs(Small and Medium Enterprises)–provides for the 8% mandatory allocation by banks of their loan portfolio for lending to SMEs; (2) Anti-Money Laundering Law—institutionalizes a system of reporting suspicious transactions of business and financial institutions that are used by criminals to launder or hide their money; (3) The National Meat Inspection Code –-helps and protects buyers from buying spoiled meat; (4) New AFP Base Pay Law – makes soldiers’ salaries at par with the rest of the bureaucracy; (5) New ROTC Law to give college students the option of volunteering in civic and community services; (6) Amendments to the Intellectual Property Rights Code to protect our copyright holders and integrated circuit owners; (7) The E-Commerce Law, a landmark law on online transactions in the Philippines and the Business Processing Organizations that create employment and protects against cybercrime; (8) Laws on setting up science high schools in the regions to encourage many youth in taking Science and Mathematics.
In all he initiated more or less 640 bills and resolutions in the Senate from 1995 to 2007.
Advocacy and Programs. As Senator, Jun Magsaysay funded many worthy and beneficial programs which the Senate supported as an institution. (1) Iskolar ni Magsaysay. This helped more than 17,000 youth. Scholarships in technical-vocational courses like car technician/repair and maintenance course in Don Bosco; full course and short-term courses at STI throughout the Philippines; agriculture courses in UP Los Banos; full college education in Zambalesand many SUCs; nursing and business courses in Lyceum and PWU; engineering in De La Salle U. and graduate program in Ateneo School of Government; (2) Medical Assistance Program. His Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) helped more than 100,000 indigent patients of partner government hospitals such asthe Philippine Heart Center, PGH,PhilippineChildren’s Medical Center,and National Kidney and Transplant Institute; (3) Water supply. Provision of about 2,000 artesian wells for remote barangays and water systems for public elementary and high schools; (4) Off-Base Housing for the members of the military; (5) Jobs Markets. Magsaysay’s Committee sponsored some job markets that enabled many to find work. In fact, with DOLE we set up websites for job matching. Until now this is being done by DOLE.
Senate Investigation of the Fertilizer Fund Scam.Sen. Jun Magsaysay conducted the well-known investigation of the huge Fertilizer Fund Scam that was well received and publicized. Many commented on this courageous Senate investigation. In the words of the Philippine Daily Inquirer: “It was a blue print for all investigations to follow.” I also initiated the investigation of the Millenium bug or Y2K.
Why Run Again? Still very strong, able and idealistic, Senator Jun Magsaysay wants to make the best use of his expertise and experience to pursue reforms. In his own words: “Gusto kong maging bahaging true reform of Philippine society. Paano ko gagawin? Ang sundin ang aking simpleng magagawa: ang iparamdam sa tao “ang serbisyong Magsaysay.”
On Farmers and Agriculture. Jobs and Opportunities. In Jun Magsaysay’s view “agriculture is the lynchpin of our economy because about 65 percent of our population depends on farming. A hundred percent depend on food for sustenance. All complain about spiraling food prices. Yet the farmers do not appear to have benefited from the continuing rise in prices.
Says Jun: “Sa aking experience, dapat napag-ibayuhin ang promotion ng agriculture. Encourage the youth to return and actualize the Young Farmers Program.
“Noongako ay nag-dairy, ang dahilanko ay para maging model dairy farming ang nakitangtao. I want this copied by ordinary people in all places in the Philippines.
“I like to develop R&D in the marketing of our agricultural products. We need to think ‘out of the box’ to anticipate, or even introduce new market trends. Clothing materials made from local fibers, new floral arrangements using the more abundant flowers and plants available, local delicacies for export, etc.
“I always believe that improved farmers’ incomes will substantially address our goal of poverty alleviation.”
“On Scarborough Shoal, as a Zambaleño.”Ang Scarborough Shoal o angPanatag Shoal ay parte ng Masinloc, Zambales. Ang ibigsabihin, ito ay parte ng Pilipinas. Bilang anak nga kingamanaisang Zambaleno, dapat namanatili ito at all costs. I believe the Aquino administration is doing all its efforts to protect our territory.
“We should be able to link with ASEAN and our partner countries like Japan and US to protect our sovereignty.”
On Education. “At present, the country is second to the last in Southeast Asia in terms of quality of education.Using the 2011 General Appropriations Act, a huge chunk at 75.42 % of the budget of the Department of Education goes to salaries and other personnel benefits and expenditures while expenses for development purposes, maintenance and for operation, is at 16 percent and the remaining budget is allotted for capital outlays which includes classrooms constructions, improvement of instructions, computers, laboratories and other expenses for learning.
“To get a decent education is one of the fundamental rights of every citizen. Thus, Section 1, Article XIV of our Constitution imposes upon the State the responsibility to “protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels” and “take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all”.
“Cognizant of the importance of education as a tool in a nation’s progress, he advocates a “No Child Left Behind in Philippine Education” policy — patterned after the most ambitious U.S. law on education. It addresses the challenge of quality education by introducing the system as early as the early formative years of the child. To ensure that the fundamental right of a child to quality education is protected, he proposes compulsory education for children of school age, providing only for special circumstances as exemption.
“Scholarships should be strengthened, in fact, voucher system for private education should be encouraged. The State should increase scholarships in vital areas as Agriculture and Fisheries education, sciences, and teacher education.
“Likewise, Filipino professionals must be allowed to be volunteer teachers in some specialized courses or academic modules. The practice would offer the best quality education from those with known expertise and promote the spirit of voluntarism (Note that at present, in order to teach, one must be armed with at least 18 units of education).
I respectfully request the kind reader to Vote Ramon “JUN” Magsaysay for Senator on May 10. He is No. 24 on the list of senatorial candidates. Daghang Salamat!