Vancouver Filipinos were recently treated to an enlightening presentation by an internationally known Filipina-American philanthropist, lawyer and businesswoman, Mrs. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, during an event hosted by the Vancouver Friends for Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo. The event was held at the St. Patrick Church in Vancouver on Sunday, April 10, 2016. It was attended by over 100 people. It was organized and coordinated by Miss Treenee Lopez of the Global Pinoy Diaspora Canada and Mrs. Lenore Lim, a well-known artist and recipient of many awards for her work. The presentation by Mrs. Lewis was intended to clarify why the Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo tandem is the best option for the Filipinos. She flew to Vancouver as part of her tour around the world to ensure that Filipino voters are aware of the facts with regards to what really is at stake in the coming national elections.
Titled, “2016: OUR TIME TO RISE”, Mrs. Lewis’ presentation elaborated on some of the accomplishments of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration and the ruling party of which Roxas and Robredo are part of. She listed and identified these accomplishments which include: the success in tracking down tax evaders by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the huge amount of tax collected amounting to P1.3 trillion pesos in 2014 which surpassed the previous administration’s tax collection of p778.6 billion; the rebuilding of the Bureau of Customs from ground up to remove corruption resulting in 201 smuggling cases being filed and P26 billion in taxes and duties collected; the implementation of the Training for Work Scholarship (TWSP) program through TESDA which resulted in 822,000 graduates with 8 out of 10 finding employment; the reduction in the processing time of business applications from 5 days to 30 minutes on the average and the reduction from up to 3 months to just 1-3 days that time for business permits to be issued resulting in faster set up time for small to medium enterprises (SMEs); the development of improved flood management program to reduce severe instances of flooding in Metro Manila; modernization of the PAGASA weather forecasting through acquisition of Doppler radars, automated rain gauges and monitoring sensors resulting in more accurate and exact weather forecasting; completion of long-delayed road and bridge projects including Aluling Bridge, Ternate-Nasugbu Road, New Lullutan Bridge and Candelaria Bypass Road; the passing of the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act”; how the Martial law victims were defended through the “Human Rights Victims and Raparation and Recognition Act”; the expansion of the “Anti-trafficking in Persons Act” resulting in 158 convictions and amendment to the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act” which protected the rights of overseas Filipno workers; the improvement of the Transparency International Corruption Index Ranking of the Philippines from 85th in the world to 134th; improvement in the ease of doing business ranking from 144th to 95th in the world (according to the World Bank); improvement in the ranking of the Philippines in Global Competitiveness Index from 85th to 52nd, the biggest improvement among all countries studied by the World Economic Forum; attaining “Investment Grade Status” by Standard and Poole Foreign Rating; in 2015, the Philippine economic growth was second only to China; the country is now included in the “Top 20 Economies in The World” according to Bloomberg “2015 All-Stars of the Global Economy”; the increase in GDP per capita from $1831.97 in 2009 to $2,872.50 in 2014; increase in the number of classrooms built from a shortage of 66,000 classrooms in 2009 to 180,000 classrooms built by 2016; Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) initiative resulting in 4,400,000 poor households receiving cash for food and expenses as opposed to 786,523 in 2010 via P95 billion investment from the government; P570 billion spent on infrastructure in 2015 as opposed to only P175 billion in 2010. With all these achievements by the Aquino administration through its “Tuwid Na Daan” initiative and its motto of “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”, the Philippines is now considered the “Bright Spot in Asia” and the “New Tiger Economy in Asia” from its reputation as the “Sick Man of Asia”, something that will definitely continue if the people would elect ruling party represented in this election by Mar Roxas and Reni Robredo.
The event’s speaker, Mrs. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, whose personal worth is estimated to be $600 million (USD), is the Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice International, a $2 billion international food company, a position she acquired when she took over the role from her husband Reginald F. Lewis, the African-American Wall Street financier after he died. Mrs. Nicolas-Lewis is well-known for her philanthropic work and for being the first Asian-American to have passed the US bar exam without having to attend an American college. She was born in Sorsogon, Philippines and lives in New York City.
As a businesswoman, Mrs. Nicolas-Lewis understands the great effort it took to achieve what has been accomplished by the current administration and how all of it could be lost if Filipinos vote for the wrong person. On her own, Ms. Loida Nicolas-Lewis embarked on this world tour to let Filipinos become aware of what is at risk in this election – the future of the Filipino. She was doing this out of her concern and love for the Filipino people.
Mrs. Lewis would like to thank the people of Vancouver Friends for Mar and Leni with point persons Amado Mercado Jr., Ed Teodoro, Manny Masongsong, Lutchie Lirio , Elizabeth Cruz, Bel Lumapas, Jojo Lopez, Jojo Quimpo, Bert Azana, Rene Alcantara, Dodie Lucas, Jose and Lenore Lim and Treenee Lopez. And those who attended and listened to her.
After the forum, Mrs. Lewis and Vancouver Friends for Mar and Leni attended the 5 pm mass at St. Patrick’s Church Marieton Pacheco of Balitang Canada TFC moderated the forum.
Article written by Manny Masongsong
Chairman, Basilica Software Corporation