Roxas’ dismal record in govt

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If not for his ruling-class name, and if not for Mommy’s inherited wealth, which he used to win electoral posts and pay for his expensive PR imaging, Roxas really couldn’t have moved further than Capiz: his performance in government in the past two decades has been so utterly dismal, he’s a loser. What he had accomplished is almost entirely the creation of an image for himself as Mr. Palengke, whatever that means. At best, it helped him shed off part of his elite image to garner the most votes in the senatorial race in 2004.

Either his eyes have always been on the presidency ever since Mommy in 1993 ordered him back to the Philippines to continue the clan’s political clout that he couldn’t focus on the tasks before him. Or he’s just not fit for a government job, for some reason.

His personal website lists three laws he championed when he was a congressman from 1993 to 2000, and if you, dear reader, don’t remember what these are, I rest my case. His website says he authored “46 bills” in the 13th Congress, but the site doesn’t even claim any single bill he has shepherded into law. The website only says he has filed this bill and that – 12 of those – but not a single one, not even the Freedom of Information Act, had been enacted into law.

Roxas was DTI secretary, first under President Estrada from January 2000 to November that year, and then under President Arroyo from 2001 to 2004, suddenly becoming one of her most vitriolic critics. (His first word in an anti-Arroyo rally, shouted in anger: “Pu….ina!”) Roxas, indeed, has proven to be so quick to join political lynch mobs, to be at their forefront, his gaze always at the presidency.

The Department of Transport and Communications under him ran to the ground a showpiece of previous administrations as the MRT-3, making hell out of Filipinos’ daily commute in Metro Manila. It can’t even deliver such basic things as drivers’ licenses and car plates – many months after citizens have paid for them. Roxas brought his ineptness to the Department of Interior and Local Government, with tragic consequences: the massacre of 44 elite troops in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Knowing that his troops were being encircled for the kill early that tragic day, he didn’t do anything to save them, even as President Aquino was by his side the whole day.

Newspaper article disputing Roxas credit-grabbing
Newspaper article disputing Roxas credit-grabbing

You don’t have to take it from me. Following are two accounts of Roxas’ performance: the first in 2003 by Babe Romualdez, a Philippine Star columnist and a respected PR and businessman, not known to be an impulsive critic of government; the second, the refutation by a pioneer of the business-processing industry of Roxas’ boast that he nurtured that huge dollar-earning sector.

Babe Romualdez in his April 13, 2003 column “Babe’s Eye View:”

“On several occasions, I have expressed my disappointment about Mar Roxas’ performance as DTI secretary, the same disappointment raised by a number of business groups. However, let me make myself perfectly clear: I have nothing personal against Secretary Mar Roxas. In fact, I still consider him as a friend, although the feeling may not be mutual. In fact, very early on, I told him on one occasion that a large group of businessmen are very disappointed about his performance, and that he should meet them as soon as possible. He did not listen.

That’s why these businessmen banded themselves together and came out with full-page ads to air their long-standing and unheeded complaints. They have reason to come out with these ads because it is apparent that the DTI secretary is simply glossing over the issues. They desperately need protection because businesses are closing left and right, and jobs are already being lost on account of Mar’s indifference.

Very recently, Petronas of Malaysia and British Petroleum have decided to pull out their US$340 million dollar investment from Bataan Polyethylene. They were so disgusted because for the last five years that Mar Roxas sat as DTI secretary, he has done nothing to address their problems, particularly in the area of tariff.

This is another big black eye on the country’s already volatile economy. This plant could have directly and indirectly employed over 300,000 Filipino workers. However, those jobs are now gone. Uniden has also packed its bags and left, laying off its 2,000-strong workforce. JG Summit Petrochemical Plant may eventually follow suit. So, you’ve got Sec. Cito Lorenzo creating one million jobs on one side and Sec. Mar Roxas cutting off hundreds of thousands of jobs on the other.

Now you tell me, who is protecting whose interests?

Obviously, the DTI has other concerns than the well-being of the local industry and the Filipino workers. Instead of creating jobs and protecting the local workforce, Mar is not doing anything to slow down the opening of our market, which puts at risk the local industries. Have you ever wondered why this country is always neck deep in a budget deficit? With more and more workers being laid off, and with more and more companies closing, the result is a decline in tax revenue, resulting in a huge budget shortfall. What is more disturbing is Mar’s quick-fix solution to solve the budget deficit: by selling the so-called “crown jewels;” blue chip corporations such as Pagcor; and by putting on the block Philippine properties abroad. This is a typical investment-banker kind of mentality.

The closure of numerous companies sent shock waves in the employment sector. In 2001, more than 71,700 Filipinos lost their jobs, while in 2002, more than 77,601 were laid off; an 8.1 percent increase in job losses. As of 2001, about 3.423 million of the country’s workers were without jobs, while 4.625 million were unemployed. In the semiconductor industry alone, although 6,800 new workers were taken in 2002, more than 15,000 were laid off during the latter part of the year.

In fact, 16 percent of office spaces in the Makati area are now vacant; and the number is still growing. From 2000 to 2002, numerous investment companies have left the country: DBS Vickers Securities, Salomon Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch Securities, HSBC Securities, Citicorp Securities Inc., and Worldsec International Securities, among others. During the first five months of 2001, Merrill Lynch was the top broker in the area of market transactions. The following month, it suddenly closed shop.

What we have here are cold, hard facts and figures, permanent records of what had happened, and are still happening to the business sector since Mar Roxas became DTI secretary.

These are the very reasons why the local industrial sector is virtually up in arms. Their businesses are collapsing, while their efforts to improve the economy’s health are being ignored, or worse, spurned. Their cry for government to help them fell largely on deaf ears. They are also extremely worried about the thousands more of their employees that would be losing their jobs if nothing is done.”

March 6, 2016 report in The Manila Standard, entitled: “BPO industry pioneer: Gloria, not Mar did it.”

“Industry pioneer Oscar Sañez, who led the IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines from 2007 to 2011, disputed Roxas’ credit-grabbing and said the industry’s phenomenal growth should go to Arroyo.

Sañez said there were only 2,400 call center workers in 2000 when Roxas was named DTI secretary and he served less than a year because he resigned in 2001 at the height of the second People Power uprising against then President Joseph Estrada.

Although he was later re-appointed by Arroyo, he resigned the DTI portfolio in 2003 because he wanted to run for senator.

While Roxas was attending to his politics, Sañez said the industry grew at an average of 65 percent per annum over a decade and had nearly half a million workers by the end of 2009, which was Mrs. Arroyo’s last full year in office.

Even when Roxas was no longer in the DTI, total export revenues generated by the IT-BPO industry grew from only $1.3 billion in 2003 to $8.9 billion in 2010.

“I know how much the business process offshoring and outsourcing sector owes Mrs. Arroyo. We are proud to describe ourselves as a successful model of real private public partnership or PPP,” Sañez added.

He said the Arroyo administration’s support to the industry included the creation of the ITBPAP, creation of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology, providing investor support through the accreditation of buildings used by the industry, completion of infrastructure projects like airports, and training vouchers from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority worth over P800 million from 2007-09.”