When I first met Senator Gringo Honasan at his very first blog con last January, I admit to being quite starstruck. He was after all, the EDSA hero/heartthrob of that time, and he certainly hasn’t lost his “rugged charm.”
But we all know that charisma alone won’t guarantee a victory at the election polls, and I’d like to think (and hope) that our voting public has become mature enough to look past those song and dance numbers that politicians usually do to get votes.
Our first meeting was all about getting to know the real Gringo Honasan-- beyond the headlines that depicted him as a power grabber and destabilizer during his numerous coup attempts. He would answer all our questions and no topic was off limits. He also talked about his impressive list of accomplishments and his transition from being a soldier-turned-rebel-turned-senator.
This time we got to talk about the platform of UNA and what he and VP Jojo Binay plan on doing should they get elected to office.
“I think, if I were to be asked, I would also volunteer to craft a pro-active and responsive national security policy and strategy in whatever capacity that will address our problems at home so that we can give our 100 percent focus on our problems abroad like Western Philippine (Sea) issue.”
Honasan adds he will also prioritize going against kidnappers, rapists, drug pushers, and terrorists to ensure a safer environment for families.
With regards to the issue of lowering income taxes which is also part of the platform of other presidential candidates, Honasan agrees that it should definitely be reduced.
“Taxing our people, especially those who are already having a difficult time should be the last option. They say there are two sure things in life: debt and taxes. Taxes are meant to accelerate debt or accumulate debt to inflict more taxes on our people. So, I am for reducing it at all cost and considering it as a last option, especially when it hits the middle class and the lower class,” he pointed out.
All of these he stressed is part of his Patas ang Laban crusade.
Sen. Honasan stand out from the other Vice Presidential candidates is his experience and his character.
A character that has been molded in the battlefield, strengthened during his days as a rebel and refined in his years in the Senate. That’s why he chose to focus on issues instead of resorting to mudslinging tactics throughout the campaign and why he was praised for his calm demeanor during the televised debates.
But what struck me the most, besides his commitment to spread the platform of UNA was his love for his family.
Here was a battle-tested warrior who was not afraid to admit to us that he has only loved one woman in his life-- Jane whom he met at a New Year’s Party when he was just starting his military career.
“It was love at first sight then--and until now I keep falling in love with her.”
“All my life I have lived by my principle of God, country and family. I may not have spent as much time with my children as much as I would have wanted to, but they know that everything I have done is all for them--for them to have better lives and live in a much better country.
People may judge me for all the things they think I’ve done, but I think the best way to know me is through my children. They may not be geniuses, or super talented, but they are good people, and that makes me truly proud.
And, what does the Senator want to be remembered by?
“One of the best advice my father gave me was ‘When you are in the trenches, or when faced with difficult situations, only two things will keep your head above the water. One is integrity--be true to yourself so you can be true to others; and the other is competence. It does not matter whether you want to become a cigarette vendor, a soldier, or a senator, the only thing that matters is that you become good at what you do and be kind.’
“I have been called a lot of names and received a lot of labels, soldier, rebel, revolutionary, reformist, coup plotter, power grabber, but there is one thing that no one can question about me—My consistency—I have given my life to my country, even more than my family, and my track record will speak for it.”
“I want to be remembered as just an ordinary soldier thrust into extraordinary circumstances and during those moments I’ve responded by showing through actions my love for God country and family--that is my legacy.”
LAWS PASSED BY SEN HONASAN
In 1995, Honasan ended his 17 years as a soldier to run for theSenate and became the first truly independent candidate in Philippine political history to win a national election. He was re-elected in 2001, 2007 and recently in 2013.
As part of the Philippine Senate, he championed the causes of national security, public safety and the environment, becoming one of the most active legislators of the upper house. Among the most important laws Senator Honasan served as principal author or co-author include:
Republic Act No. 10121 – Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Act
Republic Act No. 9700 – Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law Extension With Reforms (Carper Law)
Republic Act No. 8749 - Philippine Clean Air Act Of 1999
Republic Act No. 9003 – Ecological Solid Waste Management Act Of 2000
Republic Act No. 10586 - Anti-Drunk And Drugged Driving Act Of 2013
Republic Act No. 10666 – Children’s Safety On Motorcycles Act Of 2015
Republic Act No. 10591 - Comprehensive Firearms And Ammunition Regulation Act
Republic Act No. 9516 – An Act Providing Stiffer Penalties For The Illegal Possession Of Explosives
Republic Act No. 9514 – Revised Fire Code Of 2008
Republic Act No. 8371 - Indigenous Peoples Rights Act Of 1997
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10640 – Otherwise known as the comprehensive dangerous drugs act of 2002 that seeks to further strengthen the anti-drug campaign of the government.
He is also one of the staunchest advocates of the the Freedom of Information Act which he now refers to as the POGI Bill – People’s Ownership of Government Information Act; as well as Senate Bill No. 63 or the NATIONAL LAND USE POLICY ACT (NALUPA ) OF 2013 and Senate Bill No. 67 or the Act Authorizing The Wiretapping And Recording Of Communications Of Pushers, Manufacturers, Cultivators, Importers & Financiers Of Dangerous Drugs.
As for the situation in Mindanao, Senator Honasan has proposed a Mini-Marshall Plan for Mindanao to help jumpstart economic development, peace and order, and political unity. The proposal will also help end centuries of armed conflict and terrorism.
Currently, Senator Honasan is the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agrarian Reform (COCAR). He is the Vice-Chairperson of the Committees on Environment and Natural Resources and Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and also a member of 23 Senate Permanent Committees and 14 Congressional Oversight/ Ad Hoc Committees.
Honasan is also an advocate of the environment, social reforms, national security, good governance, education and public health, youth and sports development recognizing that as a proud sovereign nation our most strategic and precious resource are our children.
“They say the youth are our future, but that is wrong, the Youth are THEIR OWN FUTURE, and it is our duty to entrust them with a better future.”