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Why Dick Gordon? #juanvote

Senator Dick Gordon has a track record to prove that he not only deserves the presidency, but that Filipinos deserve a president like him.

Dick Gordon has so many achievements to his name that I know I won't be able to write them all in this article.  But one thing is for sure, the great factor pushing Gordon in achieving those things is his love for the Filipino people.  He has gone to great lengths to make sacrifices so that everything he has touched has made a difference in the lives of the Filipino people.

At a young age, Dick Gordon became a lawyer and then became mayor of Olongapo City.  Even before all of this, he has had experience in the corporate world, successfully holding a position with Procter & Gamble as brand manager.  He would later utilize this expertise as Tourism Secretary and transforming that department and branding the Philippines as a great tourist destination.

Olongapo City Mayor

During Dick Gordon's three terms as the mayor of Olongapo City, he transformed "sin city" to a model city by implementing key programs and focusing on major policy initiatives.  By focusing on police accountability, he was able to ensure the safety of the citizens of the city as well as maintain high level of confidence in the police force.  He was also instrumental in the improvement of transportation, as he ensured that measured such as the strict implementation of color coding be followed.

His administration during his three terms not only focused on safety and transportation, but also on proper health and sanitation as well as waste management.  Key focus on the cleanliness of Olongapo city was also a great reason why the citizens gave him the votes to continue in making the city a "model city".

Chariman of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, 1992-1998

When faced with an overwhelming problem, Dick Gordon steps up to the challenge. This was evident back in 1992, when the Americans vacated Subic and many people lost jobs and businesses lost revenues.  All of a sudden, Gordon had to shoulder the burden of finding a way to make up for the millions of dollars in lost revenue, not to mention the thousands of jobs that would be lost.

Gordon quickly pushed for the creation of the Special Economic Zone, and was successful in this advocacy.  He became Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman, and was able to gather and woo investors.  Not only was he able to convince investors, but also Fortune 500 companies, because of his leadership and his ability to communicate where Subic was headed.  The result was a staggering USD2.1 billion of investments and around 200,000 jobs created during his term as chairman of the SBMA.  Subic Bay, to this day, remains a model of turnaround from one source of income and jobs, to a totally different and sustainable model.

Secretary of Tourism, WOW Philippines

Who doesn't know about WoW Philippines, and its great initiative in the promotion of tourism in the Philippines?  Under Dick Gordon, despite the challenges that the Philippines faced because of terrorism, kidnappings, bombings, and political unrest, the Wow Philippines campaign was still able to boost tourism during his time as Tourism Secretary.  His Mantra is, “Tourism means jobs; where tourism advances, poverty retreats.” Indeed, during his terms he was able to affect change in the department, and mostly by marketing the Philippines in the international arena, he was able to even garner travel and tourism awards.

The WoW Philippines campaign won awards and recognition at the ITB Berlin Convention, the leading Travel Industry Think Tank, as well as the World Travel Market (WTM) which is staged annually in London and is the premier global event for the travel industry.

Due to the great media campaign waged with Wow Philippines, and the tireless efforts of Gordon, tourism indeed increased, and we saw a glimpse of how tourism could affect a positive change in the world views of the international body.

Red Cross

There is no other presidential candidate, or even any other public official, with the vast experience that Dick Gordon has when it comes to disaster preparedness, providing relief effort, and initiating humanitarian and even first aid relief to the families and individuals affected by natural calamities and internal unrest in conflict zones.

In a nation that has known decades of internal fighting with warlords, terrorism, and extremists elements, including the fighting that still continues with the military and rebel groups, it is important to realize that experience in this area is highly needed.  Dick Gordon can positively say that he has such an experience.
With over 40 plus years as a volunteer with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), as well as being the governor of the PNRC since 1986, he has overseen and coordinated on many disasters as well as lead humanitarian efforts on a great many events during his decades being part of the PNRC.

The flash floods of Ormoc, the killer earthquake in Cabanatuan, the Pagoda Fluvial Parade tragedy, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, super typhoon Didang, and even the collapse of Guzman Technology institute, he was instrumental in the operations and rescue efforts in these tragedies.  His management and leadership, and great heart has touched a great many lives during his years at the PNRC.

From coordinating the efforts and even being on the ground personally during the efforts for Typhoon Reming and Typhoon Senyang back in 2006, he has shown time and again why in these tragic moments, he is able to keep a level head and manage a great amount of resource, a vast network of volunteers and staff to get things done.

Even in the recent Typhoon Ondoy, where we saw massive floods, displacement, not to mention many families being affected, Dick Gordon was instrumentel in providing logistic support, disaster relief, aid relief, as well as providing great leadership in a time of great calamity He also realizes the importance of equipping the citizenry and in 2006, launched Project 143, I Love Red Cross, to train communities to be self-reliant and ready in the face of calamities and typhoons.

Senator Gordon (2004-2010)

As a Senator, Dick Gordon has kept his focus on key issues that he believes will uplift the Filipino people.  His legislative record is long, and his participation in Congress is almost limitless.  In his first half of his 1st term as Senator, he authored 79 bills and 29 resolutions.  The second half was even more impressive as he was able to author 106 bills and 56 resolutions.  He has made it a point to focus his legislative efforts on political reform, justice, job creation, education, and disaster preparedness.

He has been able to pass numerous bills as well, a true testament to his leadership in getting support from his fellow lawmakers.  He has passed the holiday economics bill in order to spur domestic tourism, employment and socio-economic growth.  And he was even able to pass the new automated elections system law for fast, accurate, and credible elections.

The contribution of Dick Gordon as a legislator is immense, varied, and important.  He has been able to push for Republic Act 9367, the biofuels Act of 2007.  And in terms of taking a lead on a great many committees, he has been chairman in important committees such as (i) constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws (ii) Government corporations and Public Enterprises (iii) Tourism.  He knows the importance of government in helping alleviate the problems and issues that plague our nation.  This is why he has pushed for the Renewable Energy Act, the Magna Carta of Women, as well as the Act Penalizing Violations against international humanitarian law.

He knows the importance of tourism, which is why he also passed the Tourism Act of 2007 which provides for the strengthening and formation of Tourism Enterprise Zones.

Indeed, he has transferred his vast expertise and knowledge as Mayor of Olangapo, Governor of the PNRC, and even Tourism secretary and has put it to excellent use as a Senator.  We could go on forever in terms of his accomplishments as a legislator, but the most important thing to take away in his 6 years of service as a Senator is that he has been a man of action and a public servant that is diverse and able to tackle a great variety of issues that are important for our nation and for our people.

In a blogwatch event, I asked Dick Gordon about our long conflict with our Muslim brothers.  My question exactly was this "You have said in past forums, that one of the first steps of solving the Mindanao problem and the conflicts that arise in that region is to understand our Muslim brothers and sisters.  In your years of service, and in going to Mindanao, do you yourself understand their situation? What is your understanding then, and what can you convey to the rest of The Filipino nation, and to us today, so that we can start this process of solving this long conflict in the south?"

His answer was this:

First of all, it's not Mindanao but it's the Muslim situation.  so Mindanao is okay, it's just a certain portion of Mindanao that you have a problem with.  And I didn't say just understand it, but I said respect, understand and accept.  You know, you have to respect our Muslim brothers, principally because even before the Spaniards came, they were already here.

And when the Spaniards came here, they asserted their character.
Lapu lapu, Sorogan, Sultan Kudarat, they were never beaten by the Spaniards except for Sultan Kudarat for awhile.  So, when I look at it, I pay respect to that.  [And realize that the Muslims came before the Spaniards].  Lapu-Lapu is the 1st Asian to beat the colonial invader, he is both Tausug and Visayan.

So you have to accept also their ways.  Remember that the Islamic culture is one of the most fantastic culture in the world.  They brought us algebra, they brought as a lot of things, designs.  And they influenced Spain for that matter.  The patios, all these arches that you see.  The churches are even influenced by them.  Design, even dresses.  That's really part and parcel of the Muslim people.

Now when you look at our Muslims here, they were marginalized, because when Spain came here, they discovered, “oh, it's the Muslims again, it's the Moros again”.  They call them Moros in Spain.  They were conquered for 800 years.
So when Magellan was demolished by Lapu Lapu, defeated.  And we say that in our national anthem, “sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil”.  They said, “oh no, it's the Moros again".  They made the Muslims, those who weren't converted, as our enemies.  The same way they did in Spain.  So, naging kalaban natin ang dapat hindi nating kalaban.  So, kapag nakita niyo ang mga fiesta natin, mga moro moro, parang kalaban natin, kalaban natin ang mga Muslim.

To make the long story short, what has happened since then... Remember that the Sultan of Sulu was one of the most fantastic Sultinates of the world.  They were able to help Brunei and Borneo get Saba.

So, you see, you have all these things happening in our country.  And all of a sudden, they are marginalized and excluded.  That's the beginning of the problem.  You exclude them, and you distinguish them as the enemy, then what happens.  They will slowly be marginalized, until you eventually have – When you go to Sulu, it has become impoverished.  Kids can't even go to school with good teachers out there.  Takot magbigay ng exam ang Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC).

So volunteer teachers sila, I had to report that to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Kita mo because of the gulo there, [there has been the the strong presence of armed groups and military].

We always fight but we don't try to fix the problem.  So, education is a problem, health is a problem, lack of infrastructure is a problem.  They cannot even sell their products.  This once proud race, who beat Spain, are now – you try to make them farmers, but even if they farm they cannot sell their goods.  And so, ayaw pumunta doon ang Department of Trade, natatakot.

And so, they get poorer and poorer.  And because they get more poor, they go back to the guns.

So, to make a long story short, this situation has forced itself upon our nation.   And they have been made to be seen as the enemy.. We have never really tried to uphold their dignity, uphold their education.

When you try to develop a country, you move forward, and if the adaptability of the change isn't there, and if the opportunities of change is reserved exclusively for Christians and not to Muslims – what happens is conflict and exclusion.
There's a lot of pain out there, and you have to assuage that pain.  There's a lot of anger also on the many people who were kidnapped, so you have to find a way to put in investments.

If I were president, one of the first things that I might do is to get an island in Sulu, and show them that it can be a tourism destination.   Bring domestic tourism there.

If you show, na pwedeng kumita other than the gun, that they can make money out of the tourism business – of course you have to invest in it – I think that there will slowly be a difference in attitude.

One of the manifestations of this is I introduced funding, created a monument for Lapu Lapu, pushed for the Islamic Cultural History of the Philippines in Intramuros, etc.

Another thing that I would like to do is to bring Muslim children and have them live with Christian children in Christian homes, make them do things together.  We don't have the tension like other countries like Israel and Palestine, but still it is always better to try and engage.  Enable, engage, and ennoble.  Respect, understand, and accept.

Need I say more?  I believe Dick Gordon is the most qualified candidate to run the Philippines.  Together with another man of action, Bayani Fernando, I'm positive we'll be on our way to a better Philippines

Article by: Rochelle Sy Chua
Originally posted at: BlogWatch

This article is part of the #juanvote collaboration project

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