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Cebu Bloggers Society Meets Senator Mar Roxas

Last June 11, 2009, Cebu Bloggers Society came face to face with Senator Mar Roxas in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, IT Park for a casual meet up.

Roxas was in Cebu to attend a business forum organized by the Makati Business Club and the Cebu Business Club in Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. In addition, there was also fellow senator and 2010 presidentiable Chiz Escudero. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro was also invited but turned down the invitation the last minute because of a cabinet meeting.

Roxas was late but it was acceptable because Marco Polo Plaza was quite far from IT Park. When he arrived in the venue, SunStar Cebu was already there to make an article about the Cebu Bloggers Society(CBS) for their 2010 Yearbook. We had our group photo taken for the said yearbook and Roxas gamely joined us by squatting on the floor.

After Senator Roxas ordered some tea from the counter, he sat on the center portion of the couch. That is when Kevin Ray Chua of marroxas2010.blogspot.com started the ball rolling by introducing Cebu Bloggers Society to the senator. Senator Roxas also took time acquainting himself with the names and faces of each Cebu Bloggers Society member.

Senator Mar Roxas | Photo by Doyzkie

Kevin started by asking on the significance of the term “padyak” which is highly popularized on one of Roxas’ TV advertisements. Roxas told us that it symbolizes the “situation of Filipinos” nowadays. There was also a need to act on this problem so that we can move forward. He stressed on the importance of education in doing so.

Another question came from Jerry Gervacio, and he asked about Roxas’ thoughts about the improvement of his ratings in the latest Pulse Asia survey because of the Wowowee event, where Roxas and ABS-CBN broadcaster Korina Sanchez announced their engagement. Roxas admitted that “because of Wowowee, they have seen my heart” and “it helped” in his survey rating but emphasized that it was a “combination of things”. “They like what they saw,” said Roxas. He also attributed it to his help with the Legacy scam victims, for cheaper medicines, and etc.

Everyone having a good laugh, including Senator Roxas | Photo by Jose

The CBS President Mark Monta asked Roxas whether the Senate should investigate the Hayden-Katrina scandal. Well, Roxas believes that “guilty feet have got no rhythm”, quoting a line of the song Careless Whisper. He “feels bad for Katrina and the women” involved in this scandal. He is not a member of the Committee investigating it, but he lauded Senator Jamby Madrigal’s performance on the committee hearing.

Guada Esmeña was asking about the importance of Cebu in the upcoming 2010 elections knowing that it is an administration bailiwick. It was also known that Roxas was the top choice in Cebu and in Visayas. Roxas told Guada that the reason probably was that Cebu saw his achievements. As Trade and Industry Secretary before prior to being elected as senator in 2004, he also served as Chairman of the Board of Investments and Philippine Economic Zone Authority. He helped Tsuneishi Heavy Industries in Balamban, Cebu which gave a lot of job opportunities in the province. As “Father of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry“, he was also responsible in its boom in the Philippines. He also said that he was not fooling people or extorted them that set him apart from other politicians.

Jose Farrugia asked about the updates on Roxas and Sanchez’ wedding preparations. Here’s a YouTube video on Roxas’ honest answer:



A non-CBS member then came and asked about Roxas’ thoughts on Federalism. Roxas did not hesitate to answer though.



Fellow blogger member Bryan Karl Yuson asked Roxas about the Philippines’ biggest problem that is becoming the reason why we are not moving forward. Roxas said that it was “not just one”. If he were to choose one, it would be “graft and corruption”. We all agreed that “graft and corruption” is the root cause of other similar problems we are experiencing in our country right now. He emphasized that removing or minimizing graft and corruption could well be the solution for the many problems we are now facing.

Bert Padilla asks Senator Roxas his question | Photo by Sinjin

Bert Padilla asked about his contribution to the BPO industry. Roxas said that this industry has “dominated today” and more people are into it. He also stressed though that Philippines can never compete with China when it comes to cheap labor. He further emphasized that while China has cheap products, the Philippines has products with value-added service like the clothes with “burda”, something that we could take advantage of.

Atty. Ethelbert Ouano asked for Roxas’ top three political agenda if ever he would be elected as President in 2010. Roxas said that it is not just three, “but it’s 4.”

1. Feed Ourselves
– It is important so that we can do the priorities that have been set out.
2. Education
– After being fed in our stomach, it would be time to feed our mind. He stressed that education is the “biggest equalizer” in life because it narrows down the gap between the rich and the poor.
3. Fairness and Justice
– When you already have a satiated stomach and mind, it is time to implement fairness among them.
4. Economy
– After doing the previous things, it is time to spruce up the economy now that the foundations are already laid down (feeding ourselves, education, fairness & justice).

Lastly, Jobette Escobanas, being a DepEd teacher himself asked about Roxas’ position on having an additional year in elementary and the increase on teacher’s salary increase. On the first question, he is in favor of having a Grade 7 citing that other countries have an edge on us because they follow the 12 pre-college years, which makes them more competitive. He also reiterated his call on not doing the things by “tingi-tingi” but by “bulto“, meaning instead of “pleasing everyone” by giving a few of this and that, it’s better to focus on one thing on one budget and another thing on the next budget. In that way, we can be able to solve at least one part of the problem rather that having partly solve one problem and having it partly fix in the next budget thus keeping us from moving forward.

On the next question, Roxas said that he supports a P 9,000 increase on the public school teacher’s salary but due to the current situation, he said that a P 6,000 increase might be already good enough to boost the morale of our public school teachers.

Our session with Senator Roxas was a short one but surely, something worthy of pondering especially that next year would already be the elections. Hearing out Roxas’ thoughts on certain issues is one way to assess how he really is as a leader and as a possible future president.

We would like to thank Senator Roxas for the time, and to his staff for helping Kevin Chua in organizing the meetup.

This post is patterned on Kevin Ray Chua’s original post entitled Cebu Bloggers Society with Mar Roxas. The two videos are also from him.

More Senator Mar Roxas Meetup Posts:

  1. CBS in CBTL with Sen. Mar Roxas by Xerxes Bernadez
  2. CBS meets Senator Mar Roxas by Vernon Go
  3. CBS meets Senator Mar Roxas by Galleca Baylon
  4. Mar Roxas meets the Cebu Bloggers by Jorich Ponio
  5. Senator Mar looks better in person by Agnes Jimenez
  6. Cebu Bloggers sits with Senator Mar Roxas by Gerrymie Tampus
  7. CBS meets Mar Roxas: Photoblogger’s Politics by Evanjohnn Mendoza

Photo credits:

  1. Andrew Buenaviaje
  2. Jose Farrugia
  3. Sinjin Pineda

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