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Friday, November 13, 2009

Transcript of Nick Perlas Interview on Probe Profiles


Probe Profiles Interview: Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas
by Cheche Lazaro
(Click here to WATCH THE VIDEO)

Q: Saan ka lumaki nicky?

A: Actually lumaki ako dito sa Quezon City, sa Roces Avenue. Kami yung unang bahay dun sa subdivision na ‘yon sa Roces Avenue. Ngayon, of course, puno na ng bahay.

Q: Pero hindi ba taga Iloilo kayo?

A: Oo. Actually, dalawang parents ko taga-Iloilo. Every summer, pumupunta kami sa Iloilo kaya marunong akong magsalita ng Ilonggo. At the same time lumaki ako sa Manila.


Q: Ano yung natatandaan mo nung lumalaki ka. What was it like? Anong klaseng magulang ang meron ka? Anong klaseng pamilya?

A: Actually, masaya. Masaya nung lumalaki ako. Panay laro, panay saya. Ang mga magulang ko ay marangal, disciplinarians, honest sila. Father ko kasi government employee. Siya yung general manager nung NAWASA.

Q: Dito sa Manila?

A: Sa buong Pilipinas. So siya yung nagset-up nung water, nagtulong magset-up nung water system sa Pilipinas. Forty years siyang nag-serve, nagserbisyo sa government.

Q: Ang nanay mo?

A: Housewife tsaka enterpreneur. Nagtayo siya ng one of the first wholesale sari-sari stores, wholesale suppliers para ma-augment yung income ng parents ko.

Q: Ano yung inyong estado sa buhay?

A: Middle class, maybe upper middle class yung kalagayan namin. Yung mga kasama namin kasi malapit kami sa may mga urban poor settlers. Kung minsan, mga kaibigan ko yung mga urban poor, mga anak ng mga urban poor. Nakikilaro sa amin sa basketball, sa patintero.

Q: Atenean ka pala?

A: Yeah.

Q: Bakit mo napili ang agrikultura bilang propesyon?

A: Actually, marami nga nagtatanong sakin niyan eh kasi nagulat sila, nagdesisyon ako pumunta sa Mindanao, sa Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro–Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro. Dalawa actually yung choice ko, Cheche. Nuclear Physics at saka Agriculture. Pinili ko yung agriculture kasi gusto kong tumulong sa mahihirap. At that time, eighty percent ng ating bansa ay mahihirap. Karamihan sa pagsasaka, agriculture.

Q: Parang ganun pa rin, di ba?

A: Parang ganun pa rin kasi actually, seventy percent ng mahirap ngayon ay nasa rural areas and mostly agriculture-based. Parang na-neglected yung agriculture–

Q: Ano yung naghihikayat sa yo maliban sa tumulong sa mahihirap para pumasok sa agrikultura?

A: Actually, yun lang ang main reason ko lang eh. Dati nga masaya kami, unexposed kami. Tapos nakita ko yung kahirapan, sabi ko, “Ba’t may ibang tao ganito pala yung hanapbuhay nila, yung tirahan nila? SoI made a determination na tulungan sila.

Q: Anong ginawa mo bilang agriculturist para tumulong sa mahirap?

A: Actually, yung naggraduate na ‘ko, actually nagsaka ako for thirty-five years.

Q: Ng inyong sakahan?

A: Oo, sa Iloilo, meron kaming coconut farm, rice farm, sugar farm, vegetable farm. So, dun ko binuo yung teknolohiyang tinatawag na organic farming or ecological agriculture. Tapos ito yung ginamit ko para tulungan yung mga magsasaka in twenty-five provinces, thousands of farmers sa Benguet, sa Mindanao, at sa Visayas.

Q: Ano yung naitulong mo direkta sa kanila?

A: Actually, dalawang level. On the ground at saka sa policy. Sa on the ground level, tinulungan ko silang mag transition mula sa chemical farming to organic farming. So mas malusog, mas maganda sa kalusugan, hindi sinisira yung kalikasan, at the same time, ang laki ng savings nila sa mga chemicals na hindi na kailangang gamitin. So, ito yung concrete tulong sa thousands. Tapos sa kuwan naman, sa national level, kami yung nagpa-ban sa Department of Agriculture ng thirty-two pesticide formulations. Eh kasi mga three million farmers ang nilalason ng mga pesticides so we convinced the Department of Agriculture na i-ban yung 32 pesticide formulations. Tapos sa APEC din, na-convince namin yung government, wag isalang yung agriculture sa radical liberalization. Zero tariff sana yung rice eh. Sabi namin, masisira yung livelihood ng thirty-three million farmers. So naniwala sila tapos hindi nila ginawa. (CLL: Okay) So, both sa policy level at saka sa direct.

Q: Nakatulong ba yung iyong adbokasiya sa paglipat mula sa pesticide-controlled farming to organic farming?

A: Oo. Actually, na-convince namin yung Department of Agriculture sa mga large-scale efforts namin. Kasi sabi ng Department of Agriulture, pag napakita mo sa kin na hundreds of hectares contiguous yung rice na hindi kailangan ng pesticides, gagawa kami ng isang nationwide program. Ito pinakita namin, Cheche, sa Mindanao, three towns, about eight hundred hectares of contiguous, panay organic kaya—

Q: So naging successful

A: Naging successful. In fact, ngayon sa Mindanao, yung mga yields ng mga magsasaka, mga six tons to eight tons per hectare, which is twice the national average. So, nagtayo ang Department of Agriculture ng seven hundred fifty million na program on ecological pest management. Tawag nila ay “Integrated Pest Management.” Walang pesticides.

Q: Dito namayagpag yung pangalan niyo?

A: Oo.

Q: –sa environment at saka sa–

A: Agriculture. Ito’y naging base ng tatlong awards na nabigay–

Q: Ng UN?

A: Oo. UN Global Roll of Honor tapos yung Outstanding Filipino Award, tapos yung William Masterson Award-yung outstanding alumni ng agriculture ng Xavier. Yeah, oo.

Q: Nagturo rin kayo, ‘no?

A: Actually, yes. By–ang only na formal na—nagturo ako sa Central Philippine University sa Iloilo, Agriculture.

Q: Ang tinuro niyo rin?

A: Ang tinuro ko run.

Q: Anong klaseng teacher kayo?

A: Medyo mabagsik in the sense na walang palakasan. So, pag hindi ka nag-aral, you’ll fail. Pero, for example, yung mga anak ng mayayaman, mga landowners, mga sugarcane planters, a number of them I had to fail them, although magkaibigan kami kasi hindi nga nag-aral. Pero kung nag-aral sila, actually, okay lang, kasi yung style ko hindi, hindi empty vessel. Ang style ko conversational. Lagi akong nagtatanong kung anong opinion nila. Pinapa-defend ko sila yung opinion nila, so ganun.

Q: Ano ka rin, medalist ka rin sa sports, diba?

A: Oo, tama yun.

Q: Pano mo napasok yun? Ano ba naging impluwensya ng pamilya mo sa yo na pumasok ka sa agrikultura, pumasok ka sa sports

A: Actually, nung high school ako sa Ateneo, ako yung captain ng track and field team tsaka ng soccer team. So, bakit ako pumasok sa sports? Actually, ganun ako nung bata pa ako, grabe yung energy

Q: Dun mo nilabas?

A: Dun ko nilabas yung energy sa sports. So ang aking events are 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, pole vault saka of course, soccer.

Q: Sa inyong pananaw, Nicky, ano yung pinakamalaking impluwensya ng mga magulang mo sayo?

A: Actually ang pinakamalaking influence ay yung aking values. Cheche, may nangyari sa father ko bilang general manager ng NAWASA. Ayaw niyang magtanggap ng bribe kay Marcos. At that time, presidente si Marcos. Kasi gustong gumawa ni Marcos ng kalokohan dun sa water system. Siya yung hadlang dun. So binigyan siya ng isang kaso ng graft and corruption yung father ko. Fabricated. Yung father ko spent two years clearing his name before the judge. I was so affected by that kasi sinasamahan ko yung father ko sa lawyer. Sabi ko, “Anong klaseng pamahalaan ‘to? Na yung forty years na serbisyo ng isang tapat and honest na civil servant, babalikan ng ganung klaseng kaso?” So sabi ko, “There’s something wrong sa system natin.” That started my drive against corruption, when I was eighteen years old.

Q: Dahil sa karanasan ng tatay mo?

A: Sa karanasan ng tatay ko and yun ang nabahagi niya sa amin, yung parents ko, “Wag kang magsinungaling, dapat matapat ka at wag kang kumurakot.”

Q: Hindi ba siya natanggal sa trabaho niya?

A: Hindi siya natanggal, pero nung pagkatapos nung kaso niya, na nanalo siya, nagresign siya. Inaccept niya yung isang consultancy sa World Health Organization ng UN. So siya yung nagset up ng water system sa Ghana.

Q: Saan?

A: Sa Ghana, Africa.

Q: Sa Africa.

A: Oo dun niya binuhos yung kanyang talent.

Q: So he left government a disappointed man?

A: Yes. Actually, ang aming sense that his health declined because he was so disappointed and hindi na siya nagtanggap ng other jobs.

Q: Yung mga iba mong kapatid ay kumuha ng mga mas tradisyunal na mga kurso gaya ng medisina, ng law. Hindi ka ba apektado nun?

A: Hindi. Actually nagtaka sila kasi wala, ang tingin sa agriculture at that time, at least, especially sa Ateneo, I don’t know Cheche kung alam niyo yung term na “bakya crowd.” Yun ang ginagamit kasi that time, wala pang mga SM, wala pang mga shoemarts, so namamalengke sa, pag sa palengke basa, kailangan ng bakya. So sinasabi sa akin, “Bakit ka pumili ng profession na parang bakya crowd lang?” Ang sagot ko dun was that, “I don’t care kung bakya ang gusto kong tulungan.” So yun ang aking sagot. Nagulat yung parents ko, pero sinuporta ako.

Q: Sinuportahan ka?

A: Oo.

Q: Hindi sila tumutol dun sa choice?

A: Hindi. Although they did not support me financially, kasi wala sila rito, I was a University Scholar.

Q: Pero Cagayan ang napili mo? Hindi dito sa Manila?

A: Yes. I was having a choice between UPLB-UP Los Banos at saka pag Xavier University, College of Agriculture. Pinili ko yung Xavier University, College of Agriculture dahil meron silang humanities, social sciences, philosophy–kasi yung takbo ng utak ko at that time was more the humanities. So gusto kong i-combine yung arts, humanities saka sience. So yung LB panay science lang. Yung ganun.

Q: Yung takbo ng utak mo kasali din yung pagiging aktibista, di ba?

A: Oo, sa high school.

Q: Paano nangyari yun at anong nag-udyok sa yo na maging isang aktibista?

A: May dalawa akong dahilan na maging aktibista ako. Number one, yung nabanggit ko kanina, tungkol sa father ko. He was unjustly, what do you call this, charged with corruption na hindi naman totoo. Number two, may isang heswita na si Ed Garcia, na sa London office ngayon ng Amnesty International, teacher ko siya, inexpose kami sa problema ng mahihirap. So yung dalawang ang naging basis ng aking activism.

Q: But didn’t that get you into trouble?

A: Medyo kasi actually sa Xavier, nagkakaroon ng first quarter storm dito sa Manila, kami naman yung active dun sa, maybe the first student activist rally sa buong Mindanao, they actually shut down Xavier University for three weeks.

Q: Because of it? Was this during the Bataan Nuclear Power plant time?

A: No, this was before. This was 1971. So nagka-first quarter storm dito and then dun kami sa Xavier, nanghihingi kami ng isang edukasyon na mas relevant para sa taong bayan. Parang irrelevant yung kinukuha namin.

Q: Muntik ka na bang sumali sa NPA?

A: Muntik na. Marami akong kaibigan na naging komunista but because of my philosophical training, hindi ako nahatak kasi alam ko limited yung ideology ng communism. Maraming philosophical contradictions. So, kaya hindi ako sumama. Sympathetic ako sa nararamdaman nila tungkol sa mga kahirapan ng mga mahihirap, pero sabi ko sa kanila, may ibang klaseng solusyon diyan. Hindi lang laging armed revolt.

Q: Pagkatapos nito, nag-exile ka, nag-self exile ka sa America.

A: Hindi. Actually, forced exile.

Q: Forced exile.

A: Kasi nagfarming nga ako, nagsaka ako, and then nalaman ko merong graduate program ang UPLB ng ecology. And by that time, talagang grabe na yung interest ko sa ecology, actually gumagawa kami ng ecological experiments sa Iloilo. So pumunta ako ng UPLB, dun ko nalaman na yung Bataan Nuclear Plant pala, yung mga environmental impact statement na ginagawa ng mga scientists are actually fake. So nag worry ako, kasi pag nagkaroon ng meltdown sa Bataan Nuclear Plant, radiated yung Manila. Millions ang mamamatay. So, tinanong ko sa sarili ko whether gusto kong maging public itong issue na ‘to, gawing public. And so, naging active ako — first protest under martial law yung ginawa namin, yung Bataan Nuclear Plant.

Q: Hindi ka ba natakot?

A: Nung una natakot ako kasi tinanong ko sa sarili ko kung handa na ‘kong mamatay kasi martial law. Kasi may namamatay, may tino-torture na mga kaibigan ko. And sabi ko, kailangan ko sigurong harapin yung katotohanan na pag patayin ako ni Marcos, willing akong mamamatay, basta ma-expose lang ‘tong issue kasi yung kabuhayan ng millions ng Filipinos ay apektado. So, gumawa kami ng isang national conference na public under martial law, the first public conference. Ginawa namin sa Ateneo. Kasama namin yung suporta ng mga Heswita, mga nuns, and other people. Half of the audience were military, mga employees of government. Ang sinabi lang namin dun, mga 200, 300 people attended. “Pakisabi na lang kay Ginoong Marcos yung proyekto, yung Bataan Nuclear Plant, hindi makakabuti sa Pilipino at pati buhay ni Mr. Marcos ay apektado.”

Q: Anong nangyari sumunod?

A: Just at that time, worried na worried na yung parents ko. I didn’t know, pero they got me a card to actually go to the US. Tapos at the same time, nakakuha ako ng imbitasyon sa US Congress na mag-testify tungkol sa Bataan Nuclear Plant. Dahil ang US Congress ang nagbibigay ng six hundred forty-four million dollars of loans and guarantees sa Bataan Nuclear Plant. At that time, Cheche, itong amount na ‘to was twenty-five percent of our foreign debt. Ganun kalaki yung halaga nung Bataan Nuclear Plant. So pumunta ‘ko run, dala ko mga twenty thousand signatures, mga tao sa Bataan. And I found out, sinulatan ako, “Hindi ka na pwedeng bumalik sa Pilipinas dahil sa naka-blacklisted ka na sa airport. Huhulihin ka at totorture ka ng Marcos Regime.”

Q: Hindi ka ba natakot?

A: Hindi kasi at that point when nag public na ko, handa na akong mamatay, inadvise-an nila ako maging public ako sa US and so I spoke in many anti-nuclear rallies sa US para mas mahirapan akong patayin pagka mas famous ka.

Q: Ilang taon ka nasa America?

A: I was there 28 years old–

Q: Hanggang?

A: Hanggang 37.

Q: Sampung taon?

A: Sampung taon. Oo. Sampung taon sa US.

Q: Anong ginawa mo nung nandun ka?

A: Full time, for the first three years, wala kaming ginawa kundi mag-organize ng global protests sa Bataan Nuclear Plant which is considered, until today, the largest protest ever for an export ng Nuclear Plant. And, kami yung nagstall ng export ng Bataan Nuclear Plant sa Philippines tapos nangyari yung Three Mile Island, nag nuclear accident na malapit sa Washington, DC. Hininto ni Marcos yung construction. Nagkaroon ng Puno Commision hearings dito sa Bataan Nuclear Plant

Q: Pa’no ka nabuhay nung mga panahon na yun, nung sampung taon na yun?

A: Hand-to-mouth existence ako. So, kung minsan, may twenty dollars na lang akong naiwan sa pocket ko, tapos bibigyan lang ako ng maybe another fifty dollars ng naawa dun sa kin. So, I was hand-to-mouth for several months kasi wala nga akong kilala dun sa US.

Q: San ka tumira?

A: Sa Washington DC.

Q: Nakitira ka?

A: Nakatira ako, lipat ako ng lipat ng different houses until finally, may former US diplomat na nakita yung protest namin, naawa siya sa kalagayan ko. Pinatira niya ‘ko sa bahay nila for nine months dun sa Washington DC. Former kuwan siya, former White House employee na mabait na Amerikano. So dun ako nakatira, sumama rin siya protest namin, tapos tinulungan niya kami na ma-inside-out ang US government.

Q: Pano ka nabuhay pagkatapos nung protest movement na yun?

A: Pagtapos nun, tapos inexport yung Bataan Nuclear Plant, naging consultant ako. Agricultural consultant ako sa iba’t-ibang klaseng institutions including sa mga agri-business associates, mga Harvard professors. So naging consultant ako sa food systems, sa agriculture, sa environment, sa US. In the meantime, patuloy yung aking advocacy sa environment.

Q: Bumalik ka sa Pilipinas pagkatapos ng sampung taon?

A: Oo. Part nung nagkaroon ng People Power 1, it turned out, yung new cabinet members ni Cory, some of them were my colleagues in the struggle against the Bataan Nuclear Plant. Si Joker Arroyo, sila Senator Tanada, and so on. Inimbita nila akong maging, tulungan sila para ma-mothball yung Bataan Nuclear Plant. So, inimbita nila kong maging technical consultant sa presidential committee on the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant. So that’s how I came back, yung power plant ang nag-exile sakin, yung power plant yung bumalik, nagpabalik sa kin sa Pilipinas.

Q: Sinabi mo in one of your statements na “I have worked to alter official government policies from the outside,” at saka naging consultant ka nga. Ano yung naging karanasan mo sa gobyerno? Kasi yung tatay mo, sabi mo, left government a disappointed man. Bakit ka sumabak ulit sa gobyerno kung yung karanasan ng tatay mo ay tumatak sa iyo?

A: Actually, forty years na nga na nagtatrabaho ako outside government and ina-alter namin sa labas yung government policies and still succeeded, dahil Cheche may konsensya pa yung mga tao sa loob ng government, and nakikinig pa rin sa reason. Ang aking karanasan sa present government ay wala na yun. Wala nang konsensya, hindi na nakikinig sa reason, kapangyarihan na lang ang umiiral at saka pera. So sabi ko, pag ganito yung system of government, unti-unting masisira yung tinatawag natin na civil society ng Pilipinas. Ito yung mga active engagement ng mga different groups and pag nasira yung civil society, ang ibig sabihin nito, Cheche, masisira rin ang kultura natin, ang kaluluwa ng Pilipino dahil ang civil society is nothing but the expression of Filipino spirit, ng kaluluwa ng isang bansa.

Q: Masasabi natin na lahat naman ng mga kandidato ngayon, yan din ang sinasabi na itong gobyerno’ng ‘to, hindi nakikinig. Governmnet is inefficient, it’s not reaching the people, ano hong naiiba sa iyo na hindi kapareho nung mga ibang tumatakbo rin?

A: Siguro ang number one, yung track record. Kasi ang number one platform ko Cheche is anti-poverty. Poverty reduction or eradication. In my case, marami na akong ginawa na talagang directly involving poverty. So hindi lang siya salita, talagang ginawa na walang campaign promise, ginagawa. So, right now, I have to start, yung isang microfinance program na tumutulong na sa 250, 000 na mga mahihirap plus yung agriculture program.

Q: Pero kung sabihin naman ng mga tao at tanungin ka ng derecho, “Kung bigyan mo kami ng tatlong nagawa mo using government within the government na namumukod tangi, ano yung tatlong yun?”

A: Yung tatlo ang masa-cite ko, actually, there’s more, yung Bataan Nuclear Plant. May policy yung Marcos government na magtayo ng 12 nuclear power plants maski isa hindi natapos, nag-alter yung energy policy ng Pilipinas. May corruption din dun involved. That’s first, no? Yung second, pag ban ng mga pesticides. Ang sabi raw mahirap yun kasi power ng transnational corporation, masyadong malakas. In fact, billions ang affected nung sales nila nung na-ban namin. So talagang nag-alter yung direction–

Q: So na-ban, na-ban yung pesticides.

A: Na ban yung pesticides. Number three, actually, yung pag shift ng Philippine position sa APEC, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. Hindi rin namin kailangan na kuwan na, iconvince si President Ramos about shifting the position towards sustainable development. Through him, we convinced 18 –17 heads of state. Sila Clinton, president ng Japan–Prime Minister ng Japan, President ng China. Nagawa namin yun outside–

Q: Kumbinsihin sila na ano?

A: Na pumasok to a more sustainable development framework sa trading procedures ng Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Q: Anong masasabi mo kung sabihin nila, “Okay, nagawa mo yung tatlong yun, pero pa’no, ako ordinaryong mamamayan, pa’no naman nakakaapekto yan sa akin?“

A: Yung Bataan Nuclear Plant, ang impact nun, pag pinaandar yun ta saka defective yung plant, pag nagkaroon ng nuclear meltdown, patay ang millions of Filipinos. Sira yung lupa ng central luzon, manila, and surrounding areas, hindi masasaka yan for decades kasi radioactive. Patay ang waters, so yun ang concrete effect nun. Sa pesticides naman, nalalason yung buo–ah, 18 million ang estimate namin yung gastos ng farmers for medical expenses, pag gamit ng gamit sila ng mga banned pesticides na hazardous.

Q: Pero hindi ba patuloy pa rin ang paggamit ng pesticides ngayon?

A: Yes, oo. At least yung mga banned yung pinakadangerous, hazardous, natanggal na. Now for a while, malakas yung programa ng DA on alternative efforts, may bumabalik ngayon na mga pesticides. So I have not checked kung ano yung quality nun and so on. Pero during that time and for many years, talagang mas safe yung kabuhayan ng magsasaka. And then yung APEC naman, millions sana ang affected na rice farmers pag pinayagan yung zero tariff for rice. Walang trade barrier sa rice so ang ibig sabihin nun, mag-iimport ng rice. Massive amounts. Sa Vietnam, sa Thailand, sa China. Hindi namin pinayagan na mangyari yun kasi hindi handa yung Filipino farmers. So immediately we saved the lives of millions of farmers.

Q: Bakit? Ano ngayon kung mag-import ka nga, kung mag-angkat ka nga, di ba mas mura, di mas makabubuti yan sa atin?

A: Oo, mas makakabuti sa consumers sa urban centers, pero sira yung agrikultura ng Pilipinas. Now, when it happens, pag sinira natin yung sakahan ng mga millions of Filipino rice farmers, tapos hindi na tayo makakaimport. Kaya nag panic sila dun last time. So kasi sinira natin yung agriculture base natin. When we need it, wala na siya.

Q: Nakuha mo yung UN Global 500 Honor Roll, no?

A: Yes.

Q: Roll of Honor, yung growing food without pesticides, no?

A: Yes, oo.

Q: Ilan na yung nakinabang dun sa inyong parangal na yun?

A: Mahirap nang i-estimate siya but, we’re estimating it in the thousands, tens of thousands actually. Kasi part of the impact was the new policy sa Department of Agriculture. Seven hundred fifty million yung ginastos nila to educate farmers to get rid or drastically reduce the pesticide according to DA’s own figures, they reached out to over a hundred thousand farmers, dun lang. Tapos a private efforts namin, we’ve provided technical assistance in over twenty five provinces. And many of these farmers are still continuing until today.

Q: Sinabi mo sa isang statement that you come from the outside, you don’t owe any political debts. Dito sa ating sistema ngayon na umiiral, hindi ba disadvantage yung outsider coming in to a system na, and fully entrenched and fully operational?

A: Hindi kasi there are two things. The first thing is that I understand how the system works dahil I’ve been inside the system. So, I’ve advised two presidents in various capacities through presidential bodies. I’ve advised senators, I’ve advised congress people, cabinet secretaries. So alam ko yung sistema, but I’m not from inside. So, dahil since galing ako sa labas, then I don’t owe any political debts. So, mas madali siyang itransform. So example, if I were a politician, I’d owe some debts to a military general and gusto kong hintuin yung pollution ng buses sa Metro Manila and some of which are owned by military people or powerful people. Kaya hindi magalaw-galaw. You see some of the smoke-belching buses. Kaya sinasabi ko sa platform ko, if I get elected in 100 days, tanggal yung smoke-belching buses sa Metro Manila because I don’t know anybody, wala akong utang na loob.

Q: Hindi ba temporary yun kasi as you run your campaign, you will owe debts?

A: Hindi. Ang aking style, Cheche, is that if people want to support me, sinasabi ko sa kanila, meron kaming platform, and then laid out the platform, mga twenty-four pages yung platform. This is the one we submitted sa Comelec. And it’s in our website. Ang basis ng support ninyo, whether financial or otherwise is on the basis of the platform. Hindi niyo po binibigay sa kin yung suporta; binibigay niyo suporta ninyo sa vision ng isang bagong Pilipinas na ganitong klaseng mga programa. So pag nanalo po ako, wala akong utang na loob sa inyo, in fact, Cheche, I just mentioned this yesterday to a very rich businessman na nagexplore ng ways kung pano siya makatulong. And I emphasized that point na, “Wala akong utang na loob sa yo po dahil sa ang sinusuportahan mo, yung vision ng bagong Pilipinas.”

Q: Mas madali bang sabihin niyo na wala kang political debts kesa sa yung katotohanan na pag merong nag contribute sa yo, nagbigay say o ng pera, ay tinatanaw din natin, bilang Pilipino, na utang na loob, di ba?

A: Oo. Actually, mas madaling sabihin na wala kang utang na loob dahil sa binabago natin yung kultura ng pulitika. Kasi pag may utang na loob ka talaga, mahirap ka ring gumalaw. And sinasabi ko na sa kanila, actually, excited yung businessman kasi sabi ko, “Hindi ba, mga negosyante, gusto nila’ng predictable environment para sa negosyo nila, hindi yung 30-40 percent commission tapos may utang na loob ka pa na ganun.” Sabi ko sa kanila, “Ito yung programa, ito yung implement, pag may gusto kang programang iimplement, hindi personal benefit but industry-wide, ito mangyayari. Mas predictable siya, nakikita niyo kung saan patungo ang gobyerno, then you can align your investments properly dun sa direction.”

Q: Is that realistic dito sa ating lipunan ngayon? Realistic ba ‘tong view na ‘to o suntok ba ‘to sa buwan?

A: Hindi, realistic siya sa aking karanasan. Unti-unting naiintindihan. Yung mga iba na nasasaktan, although hindi sinasabi, nakikita mo disappointed. Pero kasama ito sa pagbago ng ating kultura kasi dapat nagko-contribute tayo sa isang vision. Hindi na meron tayong makukuhang special favors sa bagong pamahalaan.

Q: Meron kang, a framework of working which you call the “Lemniscate process?”

A: Lemniscate.

Q: Ano yun?

A: Ang lemniscate is the sign of infinity, yung ganito okay. Ito ay isang proseso na nabuo ko after mga last ten years, and ang proseso basically ay pa’no natin iniintegrate yung kalooban natin sa societal transformation. Kasi Cheche, ang nangyari is that, may problema tayo, let’s say, poverty. Karamihan nang yun, nakikita na yung involvement ng structures so, institutional sources ng problema natin sa poverty, pero I mean, increasingly, nakikita natin yung mindset that runs the structures. So pa’no natin tutuhugin yung dalawa? For example among the journalists sa newspapers, nagdedebate sila: “Ano ba, moral renewal? Sapat na ba yun? O systemic renewal lang? Sapat na ba yun?” Ang sinasabi ko sa lemniscate process, kailangan yung dalawa. Kasi, ultimately, lahat naman ng mga institutions sa isang pamahalaan or ng lipunan ay may tao. So ultimately, we’re speaking about behavior ng tao. So pag may certain mindset siya, hindi mababago yung gusto niyang gawin, pagka hindi nagbago yung mindset. So kailangan ng pagbabago sa loob para mabago rin natin ang labas. Simultaneous process.

Q: Pero sabi mo rin sa mga ibang kasulatan na you don’t believe in the trickle-down effect?

A: Hindi. Ang trickle-down effect, ito yung main paradigm na ito’y sumisira ngayon sa global economy natin. Ito yung so-called “pure market forces” na fictional. Ang dami kasing mga hadlang for this market to function. Marami masyadong assumptions na wala dun. For example, ang theory ng pure market to function, kailangan there are thousands of small enterprises who are able to compete equally. Ang umiiral ngayon sa mundo, including sa Pilipinas, sa isang sector lang–there are three or four corporations na nagko-control ng sixty to eighty percent ng value ng isang industry. So, halimbawa, telecommunications, three or four lang dun. Airlines, three or four, yung mga ganun. So, the market cannot function. So, that’s why kailangan talaga ng partnership between the market ng state saka ng civil society para maging conscious yung direksyon ng, takbo ng mga programa ng pamahalaan.

Q: Ang ating political system ngayon ay nakabase sa mga surveys, sa mga sino’ng nangunguna. Wala ang pangalan mo dun. Anong masasabi mo?

A: Ako, I don’t place specific value sa surveys na yun kasi it’s just a kind of snapshot. Actually, na include yung pangalan ko sa isang survey sa SWS the last SWS national survey and zero yung lumabas dun, ‘no? Hindi ako dun apektado kasi first of all, hindi naman kami nag oranize to appear in a survey. Second, recently, we have access to a survey done by a group na reputable, hindi papalabasin yung survey, we’re already showing 2.5 percent, or one to two million people who are actually supporting us. Ang survey sa akin mahalaga siguro towards the end. Hindi towards the beginning.

Q: Pero hindi ba indikasyon yun ng name recall, ng popularity, ng awareness?

A: Right. Pero sa new politics, Cheche, ang sinasabi namin, sana ang mga Pilipino, tingnan nila yung background ng isang kandidato, hindi lang kung sinong merong recall kasi let’s say, just to give a perfect example. Itong typhoon Ondoy. Somebody can be really honest dito, walang corruption, talagang moral. Pero this requires a totally different skill to handle emergency disaster. May ganun bang klaseng background yung candidate na yun? May capacity ba siyang mag-unawa ng isang sistema saka ng interrelationships? And sa aming tingin, sa tingin ng karamihan, failure, halimbawa, yung government response. Imagine, thirteen rubber boats lang for the whole of Metro Manila? And until now, they’re still rescuing. So, importante yung, very important yung moral character, integrity, but at the same time, importante rin ano yung executive capabilities, leadership capabilities ng isang ihahalal natin sa 2010. So, surveys for me, do not indicate that dahil the discourse is not about substance. The discourse is about name recall and gimmicks and advertising.

Q: The discourse now is about name recall. Pa’no mo lalabanan yun? Ilang buwan na lang ang nalalabi?

A: Yes.

Q: Malaking pagbabago yun. Talagang napakalaking pagbabago. Pa’no mo lalabanan yun?

A: Merong four ways that can be countered and we’re starting to move on all four directions. Number one, yung internet presence. So the Internet presence is estimated at anywhere from twenty four million to thirty million among sa Filipinos ngayon, and ang Philippines actually is the capital, at least sa Asia, if not the world, ng Friendster, social networking.

Q: But our internet penetration is still low?

A: I think in twenty four million, mataas na yun.

Q: Twenty-four million voting, unique individuals ba ito?

A: Yes, twenty-four million unique individuals, voting siguro, hindi. Less. Dahil may mga 15-year-old dyan, may mga 14-year-old dyan students that are using the Internet. But may influence sila sa parents nila, sa magulang nila and so on. So, yun ang isang source ng social networking sites in the Internet. So, web–yun, number one. Number two, yung pag-uusap, quiet work with national leaders, regional leaders of large networks. So for example, like recently, may nakausap kaming malaking network siya. He’s the president of an association with five hundred thousand members sa Mindanao. So he’s going to support and he’s going to mobilize that membership sa isang tao na nagmo-mobilize, hindi ito nakikita sa surveys nor sa TV, and then the third, of course, is tri-media. I think mahalaga yung role ng tri-media to expose the country to real choices about yung characters ng different people. I think mahalaga yung role na yun. Parang educated yung voting.

Q: From a very, very, purely realistic point of view, Nicky, when you talk about support, yung mga businessmen na may kakayahang magbigay ng pera, mga segurista yan.

A: Hindi ako masyadong nag-aasa sa mga negosyante ngayon. They will come late in the day–

Q: You don’t believe money is the operative word?

A: Hindi. We believe more that goodwill of volunteers, real passion for a different country will result in money flow. If a system, political system ay gumagana lang kasi may influence yung big business, that system is politically dead kasi ibig sabihin nito is that sinong may pera, sila yung may kapangyarihan, siya yung magpapatakbo ng Pilipinas. We’re gonna get stuck in the old politics. That’s why importante, Cheche, yung tri-media kasi getting the education process, non-partisan process on-going nakapili talaga yung mga tao. People don’t have to buy, spend one billion, wala pang election.

Q: Can you explain to me, ano itong “economy for the poor,” ano yun?

A: Ang economy for the poor, actually ang ibig sabihin niyan, Cheche, yung total economy ng Pilipinas, about fifty percent is informal economy. Hindi ‘to naka-capture sa statistics ng government. Kasi pag sinabi nating GNP, gross national product o gross domestic product, yun ang official statistics. Fifty percent lang yun ng total economy of the Philippines. Wala kasing statistics dun sa mga sari-sari store, sa mga tricycle drivers. Ito yung informal sector. So, pag tinutukan mo yan, which I will do, as part of the poverty reduction and eradication program, make it more strategic. Magkakaroon ng impact yan sa formal economy.

Q: Pa’no niyo gagawin yun?

A: First of all, i-encourage namin yung formation of clusters of industries. For example, tulungan ang mga sari-sari store owners mag-organize sila among themselves. Co-ops and individual sari-sari store owners. Nagulat ako, Cheche, yung statistics, retail sales ng Philippines–ang shoemart, 10 to 15 percent, lahat ng shoemart is only 10, 15 percent of retail sales ng Pilipinas. Seventy percent is sari-sari stores. Ganun kalakas pala yung purchasing power ng sari-sari stores pag nagkaisa sila, and tinulungan mong magkaisa yun, at tulungan mong i-source larger volumes, grabe yung impact nun on themselves, on poverty and on the national economy.

Q: You’ll just make another shoemart?

A: Hindi. Ibang klase. Ang mangyayari will be ine-network mo sila, magka-cluster sila, they’ll start their own internal trading with each other’s–magko-collective sourcing sila with suppliers, who may be large scale suppliers in the system on–or outside the country. Meron kasi silang volumes of scale. You can go to the economies of scale if, pag na-organize sya. That will change the game. So, yun ang ibig sabihin ng–

Q: Economy of the poor?

A: Yes.

Q: Let’s go to yung pagdeklara mo, ‘no? Anong naging reaksyon ng pamilya mo, ng iyong mga kaibigan nung sinabi mong tatakbo ka bilang presidente?

A: Actually, before I declared my intention, with emphasis on the word “intention” to run, kasi yung formal filing will be in November. Nag balloon na ‘ko twelve days before that, I wrote a letter to close friends and family and some networks just to test the reaction. It was overwhelmingly supportive and positive. Ang daming nagbigay ng kuwan, ng support to actually do it kasi a lot of them are saying, “Matagal na kaming hindi nagboboto, ngayon, because you’re announcing, we have a choice.” That really encouraged me to announce my intention.

Q: Wala bang nagsabi, “Are you crazy?”

A: May dalawa, pero they belong to the government and, pero the interesting thing that they said, “Yes, you’re qualified,” kasi may website, “Yes, you’re qualified, pero you’re out of your mind to think that you can even win.”

Q: Are you?

A: Hindi. I call this, Cheche, “winnability virus.” Many Filipinos are infected with the winnability virus. Ang choices nila is not about the conscience, about their principles, but sinong mananalo? When they do that, papairalin ulit nila yung traditional politics kasi we’ve done this for decades and look where we’re at. Hindi natin tinitingnan yung core values, principles, achievements nung tao. Lagi na lang kung mananalo siya. Kasi in the end, pag naniwala kayo dun sa taong iyon, it catches fire. Then that person will win.

Q: Who’s the man to beat?

A: Who’s the man to beat is from my perspective, si Villar and also Noynoy. Kasi sila yung one and two ngayon.

Q: So you believe in surveys–

A: Hindi. Isang indication. So pag nabibilib ako sa survey, inevitable na yun number and number two sila. This is a snapshot, in time, si Villar bumuhos ng hundreds of millions sa informercials, si Noynoy has the name-recall of his parents, kakamatay lang ni Cory. But it doesn’t mean to say, they have the necessary qualifications to run this country. Ito yung case, that’s why malayo pa yun, the surveys can change. For a long time, si Villar was in the top, ngayon sa certain parts of the country, na-dislodge na siya. It’s going to be fluctuating. And I think, it’s good na, I understand na ABSCBN will be holding presidential debates, I heard, yes, and that would be essential. Makita talaga yung quality of leadership sa presidential debates, I look forward to it.

Q: Let’s look at specific issues. Anong posisyon mo sa population control?
A: Isang aspeto sa platform namin, tinatawag naming “sustainable population,” there are two aspects: one is the macro and one is the micro. Yung pangkalawakan at saka yung sa personal level. Sa lipunan, sa kabuuan ng lipunan, sinasabi namin ang experience ng history saka ng mga iba’t-ibang bansa. Ang population problems connected to poverty and to development. If the per capita income increases, like in the industrious countries, yung population, fertility rates, bumabagsak. Kasi umiiba yung lifestyle, umiiba yung expectations, and that will be the long-term solution sa population. Ang problema lang natin ngayon dito sa bansa natin, Cheche, we may be growing sa economy natin pero yung ating inequality of distribution of that wealth, of that economic wealth is the highest in Asia. So, one, isa yun. Sa second, yung sa Reproductive Health Bill, ako I would personally revise that bill to balance right to life and right to choice. Ang ibig sabihin nun is that, there should–aside from rights, we should also increase the discussion of responsibilities but both of which can only come if there’s proper education. Right to life, I don’t agree with abortion. Pero–

Q: –Well, the reproductive health bill does not have abortion, it is against abortion.

A: If that’s clear, then that’s good. Kasi parang may mga phrases dun sa nabasa ko na parang ambiguous siya kasi abortion is against our constitution.

Q: In fact, it states, categorically, it’s against abortion.

A: Siguro I’ve seen an earlier draft. So that’s good to know. Pero I really want focus on the help, the state help sa mga tao–

Q: So will you vote for it, I mean, if you become president, sasabihin mo bang, “Go through with that RH Bill?”
A: I’d like to see the kuwan–the version that is actually passed.

Q: Takot ka ba sa simbahan?

A: Hindi. Actually, I was in the CEAP, I was one of the few who attended your Catholic Education Association of the Philippines. Mga bishops, mga pari, mga madre, naimbitahan, all the presidential candidates, ako lang, si JC at saka si Dick Gordon ang sumipot. The rest did not show up kasi alam nila tatanungin yung RH bill.

Q: Anong sinagot mo?

A: Ang sinagot ko was a position in between, I started it against abortion, but I’m also in favor of allowing people to get more information. Ang ginreet sakin dun, Cheche was silence. Pero nag-iisip sila. But they gave a standing, a huge applause kay JC for saying, “I’m against the RH Bill.” Ako sinabi ko, may mga provisions pa dun na kailangan further dialogue between parties kasi may miscommunication.

Q: Yung peace process, pa’no mo ihahandle yun?

A: Part of our platform is to restart the negotiation of the peace process, kasi dun sa may failed MOAD–memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain. I-re-restart yun but sa ibang, sa ibang basis kasi on the Muslim side, kailangan ma-consolidate rin nila yung position of the different Muslim factions. So, yung MI, MN and ARMM, magkaiba yung position. I’m going to restart peace negotiations with the proviso, hindi siya secret, in a sense, of both sides, dapat may proper consultations on both the Christian side and on the Muslim side. Number two, dapat maklaro yung relationship between the Bangsamoro juridical entity na gustong itayo, and the central government kasi I will not go for a state, a totally different nation-state, that will break up the Philippines. Yung MOAd na yun was not doing that anyway, and it’s clear sa MILF na that’s not what they wanted. Klaro din yun sa existing draft. They want autonomy. There’s a provision–

Q: They want to secede.

A: Secede no, siguro, they want self-governance. Secede and self-governance magkaiba.

Q: But hasn’t that been tried, self-governance with ARMM?

A: Yes. May failures nga yung ARMM, this is one of the things we’re saying. We should also, among the Muslim colleagues, sinasabi ko, you should also reduce the corruption within your own government. But that corruption sa ARMM is also being reinforcement corruption in the national government. Nagkakaroon sila ng mutualistic beneficial corruptive networks among themselves na dapat matanggal.

Q: Pa’no niyo ireresolba yan? I mean, magtatatlumpung-taon na na hindi matapus-tapos ang hidwaan sa Mindanao?
A: I think, dalawa lang yung klaro. Kasi I’ve been back to Mindanao several times, having conversations, ‘no, Cheche, sa mga nagparticipate sa negotiations. And two things are clear. First, kailangan there’s a real social justice component sa programa ng government. Kung titingnan natin yung ARMM, ARMM is the worst in terms of poverty situation, roads, health, education, halos lahat, it’s the worst. So dapat, kailangan maayos yun while you’re negotiating. Number two, dapat tingnan talaga ano yung possibility na magkaroon ng autonomous self-rule na tunay in their ancestral domains, which doesn’t mean to say kakainin yung Christian areas. Yun ang misunderstanding dun eh. So, it’s possible and kung both sides, nakausap ko, I think, it’s a doable thing.

Q: Yung ating utang?

A: Naku, foreign debt natin. Siguro yung mga foreign debt na, that were tainted with obvious corruption, will be subject for renegotiation to the lenders. Ito siguro yung isang hindi ginawa ng mga previous gorvernments. You know, yung pagbalik ko sa Pilipinas after sa exile sa US, I worked part time dun sa PCGG, sa Presidential Commission on Good Government, and seventy billion of our debt at that time, were crony debts. So feeling ko, government could have negotiated more strongly on those crony debts. Kasi martial law. Alam ng mga foreign borrowers, they were lending to a dictator under terms that were unjust or problematic sa Philippines.

Q: So pag naging presidente ka, Nicky, anong gagawin mo dun sa mg utang na yun?

A: Ika-classify ko yung mga utang sa mga legitimate, sa mga questionable, sa mga crony, and have different approaches for those. All legitimate loans, it’s not going to be a one-side, unilateral.

Q: Pork barrel?
A: Sa platform namin, we say, I’m going to campaign against pork barrel. Tatanggalin ko ang pork barrel, although it’s not my jurisdiction, kasi nasa kongreso, legislative, but I will make a case against it kasi sa karanasan ko, this is one of the most powerful ways na traditional politics is being sustained.

Q: Chacha?

A: Chacha, definitely, no chacha or con-ass na ganito. There will be charter change after the elections, not simultaneous with the elections. Para maka-focus yung tao.

Q: You think that we need to change the charter?

A: There’s some provisions that we need, especially the power ng presidency, has to be curved a little bit, give more autonomy, a stronger decentralization, pero dapat ibalance din yung potential abuse sa local tsaka vis-a-vis central government. Pero siguro somewhere in the middle

Q: As president, will you use foreign trips as an instrument for globalization or as a tool in your presidency?

A: Selective. It totally depends on the context and the situation. Sometimes, mas effective yung personal meetings but siguro not to the extent that the present administration is doing it.

Q: What is that extent and where will you clip it?

A: Masyadong marami and masyadong malaki ang expenses, masyadong madaming sumama–

Q: Well, that’s relative, ‘no?

A: Hindi naman dito

Q: What will you do kung ikaw ang presidente?
A: Kung ako ang presidente, for example, there are really major, for example, one of the things na gagawin ko, I’ll explore strongly south-to-south trading arrangements.

Q: More than north-south?

A: Oo. Nandun pa rin yung north-south as a staple, but explore south to south arrangements, like with Brazil, with India, I mean, yung mga Indonesia, mga emerging economies. So, if that requires a foreign trip to meet with the leader, I’ll do it. So depende sa context.

Q: Ilang tao ang dadalhin mo?

A: Ilang tao? Siyempre, a small retinue of critical people.

Q: What is small? Thirty?

A: Probably less. Less than thirty

Q: Yung Executive Order 464, yung executive privilege, anong gagawin niyo dyan? Will you use it?

A: I’ll remove it.

Q: Bakit?
A: I want the Congress to be able to investigate members of Cabinet–

Q: Hindi mo hahadlangan?
A: Hindi. If it’s not the kind of facetious or exercise or binabalewala lang ng executive branch, in other words, walang respeto, then I might do something. Pero if it’s an honest investigation of what executive branch does, kasama yun sa pag patatag ng balance of power.

Q: But that’s what President Arroyo is saying. It’s facetious, it’s unnecessary.

A: Hindi siguro. In other words, yung ZTE was not a facetious–Neri knows a lot, so dapat pinayagan siyang bumalik dun to explain kasi he was part of the negotiations. Yung 464, that context is totally uncalled for.

Q: Kakasuhan mo ba si GMA?

A: If there’s prima facie evidence, yes.

Q: Sinong magiging miyembro ng cabinete mo?
A: Siguro at this point, I’m not even entertaining that kind of question kasi I will do that starting–during the campaign period.

Q: First 100 days, anong gagawin niyo?

A: There’s a few things, first one hundred days, some key announcements siguro in specific areas. Sa kuwan, sa area of corruption, hindi siguro 100 days, but I will announce a clean government in one year. (CLL: I’m sorry, that sounds like a dream balloon. What does that mean?) Hindi, ang ibig sabihin nun, pag nilinisan mo yung gobyerno in one year, that means to say, you’re going to put all kinds of initiatives to make that happen. So the first thing would be a 24/7 hotline to the office of the president extending yung possibility of citizen, government employees and business complaints against corruption para malaman, talagang bubuksan. Number two, bubuksan ang lahat ng agencies of government to the involvement of civil society and business for transparency and accountability. Number three, we will try to partner with media, major programs highlighting not only corruption but examples of fighting against corruption. There’s going to be a cultural component which is changing the perception of what’s possible. There will be in-house cleansing. The appointment of the cabinet will be key. Dapat these are all people na with track record against corruption or cannot be corrupted. Pero I don’t think it’s a dream na malilinis yung government kasi first of all, habulin yung mga big sources of leakages, like the BIR, the Customs, the DPWH, DepEd, all of these.

Q: But hindi ba masasabi na ginagawa naman yan, every administration does that?

A: Yun ang sinasabi nila. But I don’t think, ito yung problema ng political debts na sinasabi ko. If you’re paying off a political debt, you put a person to a position, hindi mo naman siguro hahabulin yun. That’s my advantage. I’m an outsider, I’m going to go in there under a platform and I’ve demonstrated political will, even threats to my death, to carry out a specific intention. Sa kin feeling ko doable yun.

Q: Bakit ka namin dapat iboto?

A: I think ang number one na titingnan is my qualifications, my track record, and sa one-pag handout na binibigay namin, sinasabi dun, here’s a person na may vision, strategic agenda and a forty-year track record of actually shifting major government policies.

Q: But you’ve never held a government job?

A: Wala. I just advised high government officials, pero I think it’s an advantage kasi comparable yung position ng leadership, national leadership sa civil society and sa government.

Q: What do you want to prove with your candidacy? Anong gusto mong ipakita?

A: I think the most important thing to prove is that we, as a FIlipino nation, can be much better than we really are. Magaling po tayo, Cheche, ang mga Pilipino, if we’re given the proper support, the proper context. Kasi tanungin na natin, Cheche, bakit nagkakaroon ng Outstanding Filipinos outside the Philippines, dahil sa kin, klaro yung rules, may regulations, sapat yung pag-implement ng rules, pagka hindi sumusunod, merong justice. So ganun din ang gagawin dito. And dito lalabas yung Filipino talent. Meron tayong globally-excellent talents na nako-contribute sa mundo, marami yan, all fields. Matalino ang Pilipino, matiyaga, masipag pag may proper motivation and leadership. Gusto kong baguhin ang Pilipinas in a way that we will become respected once more as a nation.

Q: Isn’t this a pipe dream?
A: Hindi ‘to pipe dream. All visions, ang nangyari, if, pag wala kang vision, then you’re going to repeat the past. So, dreams and visions na strategic, na may implementing procedures and powers, that dream will become the new reality.

Q: Yung criticism mo na parang lumilipad ka sa langit, you don’t have your feet on the ground?

A: Hindi totoo yun. In fact, people are calling me a practical visionary kasi kung totoo yun, hindi ko na-ban yung nuclear plant, hindi ko na-ban yung pesticides, hindi ko napalitan yung policy ng APEC, hindi ko nagawa, and so on. I’ve done so many things which people said were impossible. Alam mo Cheche, sabi nila, how can two hundred forty tons of steel fly? Yun ang Jumbo 747 ngayon. So, marami, you know, Cheche. Two hundred forty tons of steel fly, but that’s exactly what the jet planes are today.

Q: And you’re the jet plane?

A: Yes. Ang kuwan nito Cheche is that, three years ago, I warned about something like this happening; Ondoy happening in Manila. People called me a fear-monger. Now, today, you see the reality.

Q: When did you say this?
A: I wrote an article after Milenyo, and last year, I’ve been giving lectures all over the country, sabi ko we should really be prepared. Global warming is happening. We should be prepared, not in mitigation, but disaster management. No one was listening. So, for some that was a dream, suntok sa buwan, but is now reality. That’s how the future is created. People have to have a vision of something new and different.

Q: Do you have a running mate?

A: At this point, there are some possibilities, but we’re in discussions, both on the vice-presidential and senatorial.

Q: So you’re running with a full slate.

A: That’s the objective, but if doesn’t happen, that’s not gonna stop me from running.

Q: Do you have grassroots’ support or–

A: Yes. We have ten regional headquarters in Region–I mean, in the Philippines. And then, we’re now in the middle of establishing our provincial and municipal coordinators. And as I was mentioning earlier, may mga national leaders na nagsusuporta sa amin. We’re estimating their followers in about five million. But the work of getting the support from the leadership establishing the grassroots-base, is an actual hard work to do. And that’s what we’re doing.

Q: Bakit Pangmasa ang pangalan ng partido niyo?
A: Pangmasa ang acronym, Cheche. Pinag-isipan namin, ano yung actual pangalan na maka-capture yung gusto naming gawin. So ginawa naming Partido ng Marangal na Sambayanan. So, sambayanan kasi tayong lahat ang magbabago ng Pilipinas. Marangal, mababago lang natin ang Pilipinas pag tayong lahat ay marangal. So isang partido na gagawin ‘to. And then, pagtingin namin, lumabas, Pangmasa yung acronym. So tamang-tama kasi number one namin na pillar is harapin at tulungan yung mga mahihirap at walain yung kahirapan.

Q: What will be your source of funding?

A: Mostly from volunteers and from myself. Internal.

Q: Millions, billions, is that what you’re saying?

A: Right now, yung gastos namin ay only in the hundreds of thousands. So, I personally will not spend beyond a certain point, maybe one or two million, beyond that point, hindi na ‘ko gagastos. Kasi the whole point of new politics, hindi ang isang taong tumatakbo, but ang isang programang tumatakbo na suportado ng karamihan. So if that financial support, hindi dumating sa iba’t-ibang klaseng mga tao, then, tinatayo ko lang sarili kong bangko.

Q: Ano?
A: Tinatayo ko lang ang sarili kong bangko. So tumatayo lang ako sa sariling bangko. So, hindi ko na papatuluyin yung aking candidacy pag walang support.

Q: Is there a chance you will back out?

A: Pag walang financial support na nanggagaling sa karamihan. Yun lang, kasi that means to say, hindi handa yung Pilipino sa new politics. Pero I don’t expect that to happen. I expect a support to come in, in fact, it’s starting to come in.

Q: You have a son right?

A: Yes.

Q: A family? Just a son?
A: Ang aking marital status is I’m legally married, pero I’m actually separated. Pero friendly separation, supportive both my former wife and my son.

Q: Do you think that’s a disadvantage?
A: Hindi. I think mauunawan naman ng tao kung bakit after twenty-three years of marriage, na hindi mapapatuloy. Actually mas importante na magkaibigan pa rin, na maayos pa rin at supportive of each other pa rin. Yung ultimately ang importante.

Q: Yung anak mo ba suportado ka?

A: Yes, araw-araw kaming nagkikita, very supportive siya. And yun, malaking bagay sa kin yun kasi pag sariling anak ko, hindi ako suportado, it will say something, a lot against–

Q: –What about your wife?

A: Yeah, she’s totally supportive.

Q: Can you assess your own chances of winning in 2010?
A: I think it’s strong. I think it’s strong despite the fact na surveys are showing na ganun. Kasi sabi ko nga, I don’t believe in surveys. Mas naniniwala ako sa actual support na personal na dumadating. Even at the height of the Noynoy thing before the typhoon, significant support was coming in.

Q: If you make a mark on the surveys, will you believe in surveys?

A: Towards the end. Kasi, ang feeling ko, kasi kailangan–that’s why ang sinasabi ko, winnability virus, dapat yung mga surveys, hindi siya determinative sa umpisa. Kasi ang ginagawa nun, tine-trending mo, iniifluence mo yung thinking ng tao. Sa new politics, dapat yung tao mismo mag-isip ng sarili nila, kung anong gusto nila.

Q: Kaya ba ng pinoy yan?

A: Ang feeling ko, kaya ng pinoy kasi sawang-sawa na sila sa walang tunay na pagbabago sa Pilipinas. And ito ang hinahanap nila. And kung gagawin nila ulit na boboto lang sila kasi, dahil popular yung isang tao, wala namang track record, sinasabi lang nila sa sarili nila, “O yan, boboto na naman natin ang panahon ng mga trapo.” Walang pagbabago.


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