So you want to be president? A close look at those who want to lead: Mar Roxas

April 19, 2016 at 10:32

So you want to be president? A close look at those who want to lead: Mar Roxas

(The Philippine Star) |

Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas answers questions from STAR editors and reporters during a visit to The Philippine STAR office on April 15. JOEY VIDUYA

MANILA, Philippines – To help voters make an informed choice in May, The Philippine STAR is conducting interviews with the presidential aspirants, in no particular order, depending on their availability in the heat of the campaign.

Meetings are hosted by The STAR in the newspaper’s office, with the editorial staff asking the candidates questions on a wide range of issues.

The recorded answers, portions of which can be viewed online, can be used as reference for campaign promises met or unfulfilled, goals achieved or changed.

To cover as many topics as possible, the candidates are requested to keep their answers brief, but three hours is still not enough to cover a presidential aspirant’s program of government. Space limitations also compel The STAR to condense the answers for publication. Still, even the brief answers provide useful glimpses into the platforms and plans of each candidate in case of victory.


  • Born May 13, 1957 in Quezon City
  • Spouse: Korina Baluyut Sanchez
  • Son: Paolo Gerardo Roxas (to beauty queen Maricar Zaldarriaga)
  • Parents: Gerardo Roxas (former senator and son of former President Manuel Roxas) and Judy Araneta
  • Residence: 157 P. Tuazon, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Religion: Roman Catholic


  • Elementary: Ateneo de Manila University
  • Secondary: Ateneo de Manila University
  • Collegiate course: University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Science in Economics


  • Recognized in 1996 by the World Economic Forum as “one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who are expected to shape the future”
  • Asiaweek Magazine’s “Political Leader of the New Millennium” in 1999
  • 16th Lee Kuan Yew Fellow, Singapore government

PARTY: Liberal Party

CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: Ituloy ang Daang Matuwid


Our next task is not only to maintain the gains we have achieved, but to expand and speed up reforms so that our country will achieve First World status in three decades. Our vision for the Filipino people is to have a country where there is…

  • Freedom from hunger: We will win this freedom by creating opportunities, jobs and livelihoods, which will enable our people to provide for their loved ones.
  • Freedom from fear: We will institute systems that address vulnerabilities – from disease, to crime, to disasters, and the need for shelter. Where there is security and stability, there will be the foundations for progress.
  • Freedom to dream: We will go beyond breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty; we will create an environment where parents can hope for, and guarantee a better future for their children.


  • Conferred the E-Champion Award in 2007 by E-Services Philippines
  • Recipient of the Palanca Awards Gawad Dangal ng Lahi by the Carlos Palanca Group for “serving as an exemplary leader and role model to the Filipino”

Graduate Course:

  • UP, Bachelor of Laws
  • UP, Masters in Public Administration, Major in Local Government Management (Academically completed)
  • University of Santo Tomas, Master of Laws (Academically completed)
  • National Defense College of the Philippines, Master in National Security Administration (Graduated with Honors)
  • Center for Research and Communication (now University of Asia and the Pacific), Strategic Business Economic Program
  • AFP Command and General Staff College, Non-Resident Command and General Staff Course – Class No. 3
  • Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executive Fellows Program
  • UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, Diploma in Land Use Planning
  • Asian Institute of Management (Bali, Indonesia), Top Management Program
  • AFP Joint Services Command and Staff College, Joint Services Command and Staff Course Regular Class No. 2
  • Philippine Christian University, Masters in Management
  • UP-Open University, Diploma in Environment and Natural Resources Management
  • The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, Housing Finance in a Changing Global Environment
  • Harvard Kennedy School – Executive Education, Senior Executives in National and International Security


  • Investment banker, assistant vice president (Allen & Company, US)
  • Representative (1st district of Capiz), majority leader (House of Representatives), trade secretary (Estrada and Arroyo administrations), chairman of the InformationTechnology and Electronic Commerce Council, senator, transportation secretary, interior and local government secretary (Aquino administration)

NET WORTH: P202,080,453 (2014)

INVESTMENTS/COMPANIES: Family owns the Araneta Group, which has interests in food, leisure and property development

TOP CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS: “Mostly myself, my family. There have been several who help out mostly in provinces. They lend you cars…they host meals or dinner.”

CAMPAIGN MANAGER: “It’s a bunch of volunteers.” Persons involved in the Roxas campaign include Karina David, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

MEDIA MANAGER: Maria Carmencita “Babes” Suva

LITTLE PRESIDENT: No person in mind at the moment

Possible cabinet members/ advisers: “They will be people of proven integrity, honesty and competence…I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Let’s win first and then form the Cabinet.”

ROLE OF SPOUSE: “Korina is my wife. That will be her personal role. She will have no formal role in government. She has dedicated her life to speaking out for the dispossessed, the poor and disenfranchised, those unable to have a voice. I expect that through her foundation and social work, she will continue to help out in the same manner.”

What is the state of the country you are inheriting at noon of June 30?

Let me use the collective assessment of the world:  what was once the Sick Man of Asia is now Asia’s bright star. And so it is up to us to make that star live up to its potential (and) translate (the potential into) jobs, income, quality of life, and hope for a better future. That’s what elections are all about, not who has the best sound bite or patutsada or who makes you laugh. That is what is at stake and who can really make it happen.

Short-term priorities

Still the economy. Creating jobs. Incomes. First at hand is to organize your government, which is already a mountain load. Move the NAIA to Clark as soon as possible by putting up a high-speed rail system.

Long-term priorities

Economy, economy, economy. We have to support the economy, and it is very simple. The very basic way to approach it is to accept that the Philippines is an archipelago. In economic terms, we have microeconomies rather than a single market. We have to spend more because we have to have plants in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

We have to ensure that those in the agriculture sector, about 30 million people, have better incomes.

With me as president, we need to transition into CNG/LNG, so that the coal, the dirty fuel will not go beyond 50 percent. (Boosting) the agri-sector… our move (from NAIA) to Clark – all of these things are designed so that our economy can continue growing at a rate of 6, 7 or 8 percent, which by the way doubles in 10 years.

How do you see the country at the end of your term?

Prosperous. No longer a Third World country. I would have created millions of jobs. I see us at a point where there’s always food for every family and numerous income opportunities, and we’re ready to go up to the next level. I think we could be growing at 15 percent annually.

Why do you deserve to win?

You can see I understand the situation we are in. I provided specific answers to specific problems. I understood it in the context of what we will do. I’m not just telling you we’ll have adobo but how we will cook it, how we will get the chicken, soy sauce, the vinegar and other ingredients.


Expand 4Ps coverage



I will use the Anti-Money Laundering Act. I will go to Congress and… expand the coverage of AMLA.

Red tape?

Through a Department of Common Sense. I will have people whose sole purpose is to go look at these antiquated rules, regulations, procedures that may have been relevant 20 years ago, but are no longer applicable and serve more as a toll booth than any productive purpose. I will make sure that the computer systems work, so you go to one and all the other offices that need the same information – name, address, date of birth, etc. – will already have access to that, so you don’t have to keep going back.

Metro Manila traffic?

One of our difficulties has been we plan for the next three years, we plan for the current problem. So if we have traffic now, let’s build an extra lane, or let’s build one elevated highway, because that’s our current problem. And by the time we finish our solution, the problem has enlarged so it’s still a problem. So my approach is going to be we plan and construct for 10 years from now, to 20-year horizons. I will bid out franchises and eliminate the passenger quota system for PUV drivers, giving them fixed pay.

MRT mess?

We’re going to have 48 train sets (of three). The first ones have already arrived. The next three or four train sets will be delivered every month beginning in the middle of this year. I was one of the first public servants, when I was at DTI, to ride the MRT because I live in Cubao. I ride the MRT, I get off at Buendia and walk to DTI in Buendia, so I know this problem. Now we have to build the next MRT. The need never stops, we just have to keep investing.

Airport problems?

Laguindingan was fully operationalized by 2014. It is now fully night-capable… it’s already at capacity. Even as we speak they’re building Bohol-Panglao airport. The projection is by the time it’s finished it will be at capacity. We need to move NAIA to Clark, which is 2,000 hectares compared to 400 hectares of NAIA. We will build a high-speed train between Clark and Manila. It will be different from North Rail. I will ask Congress for a law to secure right of way for the train.

Port congestion?

One of the things that’s quite important is to encourage shipments to go to both Batangas, which is only I think at 30 percent utilization, and to Clark. But it’s a chicken and egg situation. Why do ships want to come to Manila? (Because Manila has) the most modern equipment. Why don’t they want to go to Batangas? Because it’s not as efficient and as fast as MICT. Why will (MICT) invest there? There are no ships. Why are there no ships? Because we are not investing there. 65 percent of all cargo that comes into Manila is consumer, not industrial goods. And that’s why ships and forwarders and transporters don’t like to send to Batangas and Subic, because the consumers are not there.

Poor telecom interconnection /WiFi services?

It’s quite easy… First I would ban “up to.” Look at all your plans – up to 1,000 GB… When they sell you their plans, they say buy this plan because this is up to 10 mbps, up to 20 mbps… They have to tell you exactly what they guarantee. I would simply change that to “minimum of.” And minimum is defined as, 90 percent of the time it must be like this. It’s a very, very small change, but all of a sudden now they cannot sweettalk you, and cannot sweettalk unknowing senators, unknowing investigators and regulators. How will I address that? They all have franchises and I would simply set a standard that says if you cannot have this, your franchise is up for review.

High health care costs?

I think that we’re on the right track on the prevention side, I’m a believer in an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. But having said that, we have developed through PhilHealth this mechanism where in effect when you get sick, it’s the government that picks up the tab for getting you back to wellness. It’s an anti-poverty safety net. And it’s also important from an economic point of view because so long as (members are healthy and) are building, growing, investing, then they’re an economic player. Free PhilHealth coverage will include consultations and not just confinement. Health centers with complete facilities in every barangay will be established. Every center will have barangay health workers, who will receive higher salaries.

Weak rule of law and inefficient judiciary?

One of the innovations I am going to introduce, which we actually started already in Quezon City, is continuous trial. You tackle this case every day until you finish it. That’s one of the ways that we’re going to have justice versus years and years and years of just waiting around, bouncing around, showing up and then postponement.


I favor a review (of income taxes), but not in the heat of the elections. I’m the only presidential candidate who actually did something about lowering income taxes when I was elected senator in 2004, exempting minimum wage earners from income tax.


I will continue to pursue arbitration because of our relative inability to counter (other claimants) such as China in terms of wealth and armaments to inflict damage on enemies. There are other international concerns on this issue, freedom of navigation, and the UNCLOS which governs marine and mineral resources found in the area.


Endorsements are freely given… we hope to be endorsed by as many groups as possible.


I’m against it.


We ought to be healthy when we reproduce. I supported it.


Peace process with the MILF

I will continue the peace process and pursue the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro. It will need an implementing law.

Peace process with the CPP-NDF

Until I see a good faith effort on their part to sincerely engage in peace talks, they’re a rebellious band that is illegal. We will go after them. The problem is they want ceasefire as a tactical advantage. Going after the NPA, my most effective tool is not an M-16. My most effective tool is the road. The CPP-NPA is a spent anachronism. There is no ideology. It’s just rebellion, brigandry, banditry.

Terrorism by Abu Sayyaf/JI/IS

We need to show progress, an alternative future. If the only future that they see is more of the same, then IS becomes more attractive. That is why pursuing the comprehensive agreement, peace talks is very important. What is important is that we don’t let go, we continue the talks, and expand it to include MNLF, IPs, other stakeholders who may have felt not included, and push forward.

Will the Abu Sayyaf threat end in the Roxas administration? Yes.

Kidnapping/car theft/smuggling/criminality

For criminality, through Lambat-Sibat. We were able to reduce crime in actuality in NCR, and in the other regions where we applied it… Those are the facts, blotter-based. Every week there is an audit to see if what is being recorded is actually written on the blotter. We were able to do it: 741 out of 946 most wanted arrested – that is real.


 If STL is legal, then we should legalize jueteng as well… If it’s legal, then I will catch all those which are illegal. (If in) jueteng we can bet P2 whereas in STL the minimum is P20, (then) you make (the STL minimum) P2.

Climate change/coal-fired power plants

The most expensive power in the world is no power. So long as we are in the proper regulation and enforcement, then even if it is coal… it is cleaner than what it was 10 years ago. But most important is until we finish the transition to clean energy like CNG/LNG, as a president I will ensure that we will have power. Laws already allow coal plants to be put up by the private sector. What is important is we go put out an energy policy, which transitions us to clean energy in the next three years. Within 3 years, all city buses in Metro Manila will be on CNG.


Encouraging investments/creating jobs

I will lower power costs, create ecozones, and do the other measures I have mentioned on infrastructure and other issues.

Promoting inclusive growth/reducing poverty

Support small businesses, create jobs and boost incomes.

Improving quality of education

Hire more teachers, build more classrooms, provide interconnectivity or broadband to each school site, train teachers, ensure that they are not left behind in using modern teaching technology. Provide P100,000 tuition aid to each high school valedictorian.

Boosting tourism

Provide incentives for building hotels and tourist sites, restaurants, resorts. The biggest incentive is building infrastructure like airports and providing Internet connectivity. I can double tourist arrivals to 10-12 million in six years.


We do not have the Mekong river delta. We have to build irrigation. We have to have economies of scale. We have to allow the reconsolidation of farm plants through co-ops, joint ventures and agreements. (We need) consolidation of the agri sector. We don’t need 30 million people all dependent on agriculture. We need to address the transition of our farming sector, to move into more efficient and effective agri and fisheries so that poverty is not present there… We could transfer their children, give them the skills. This is why the 4ps and the Tesda are so important.


Excellent. Generally, I walk-jog seven kilometers once or twice a week, but this has been curtailed since the campaign. Sometimes I do yoga, but that’s also been set aside for a while. I watch what I drink. I have blood works every quarter. I’ve had no major surgery.

Have you ever consulted a psychiatrist?

I had my high school guidance counselor.


Easing bank secrecy laws


Including casinos in AMLA




Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani


Same-sex marriage


(But I’m for recognizing legal unions) Income tax cut

(We have to review the income tax system) Lifting of mining moratorium



Freedom of Information


CREATION OF Department of Information and Communication Technology  (It depends. If it’s another layer of bureaucracy, it may be harmful than helpful. If it is helpful, why not?)

The Philippines joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership:


Abolition of labor contractualization:


Death penalty


Anti-dynasty law


Up to what extent? (I would structure the law in such a way that no more than two relatives will be allowed at a given time…There should be no succession. It’s not something you bequeath to your wife or son)

Anti-epal law:


Total gun ban except for security forces


Wang-wang for VIPs



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