Manuel "Mar" Araneta Roxas II

Manuel "Mar" Araneta Roxas II is a Philippine senator and is popularly known as "Mr. Palengke". He is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Industry and Committee on Education. He is also the husband of popular ABSCBN head correspondent Korina Sanchez. He was put into office in the 2004 Philippine elections, garnering the highest number of votes at 19,237,888 -- the highest ever by a national candidate in any Philippine election. Roxas was born in Manila on May 13 2957. He is the son of former Senator Gerry Roxas and he had two other siblings: Maria Lourdes, and the late Congressman Gerardo Roxas, Jr. He is also the grandson of President Manuel Roxas. He studied and graduated elementary and high school from the Ateneo de Manila in 1970 and 1974, respectively. He then earned a degree in Economics from the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. After graduating from college in 1979, he first worked as an investment banker in New York, and then at Allen & Company, where he became assistant vice president of the New York-based company. He left the United States in December 26, 1985 to join Corazon Aquino's presidential campaign in the Philippines after a snap election was called by Ferdinand Marcos. To show further support for the Aquinos, Roxas was also one of the organizers of a series of investment round-table discussions with the American business community when Cory Aquino went to the States in September 1986.

Roxas first ran for public office in 1992 when his brother, Gerardo Roxas Jr., then congressman of the First District of Capiz, died of cancer. Mar decided to run in the special elections to replace his brother, and won. Before he entered public service, he already began working for his advocacies and agenda on quality education, livelihood opportunities (through small and medium enterprise), health care, and transparency and accountability in the government. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993, where he lobbied for the Filipino rights to quality affordable medicine and consumer protection. He then became Majority Floor Leader during his term. Some of the laws he promoted and authored during his term as congressman were the following: Republic Act No. 8759 - establishing in all municipalities a Public Employment Service Office which serves as employment facilitation and information center, and links all job opportunities within the region;  Republic Act No. 8748 - amending the Special Economic Zone Act by directly allocating to the municipality or city 2% (out of the 5%) gross tax to be collected from the establishments operating in the ecozone and providing for disturbance compensation for persons to be displaced or evicted by publicly-owned ecozones;  Republic Act No. 8756 - incentivizing the establishment of regional headquarters to encourage investment and operation of multinational companies in the country and to generate more jobs.  Republic Act No. 7880 (Roxas Law) - fair distribution of the education capital budget among all the provinces. This started his advocacy for fair and equitable access to education, free from regional bias and political patronage considerations

After almost seven years in the Congress, he was appointed as Secretary to the Department of Trade and Industry during the Estrada Administration in 2000. During his four-year term, he promoted the development of SMEs (small and medium enterprises), particularly of thepalengke, and he considers them the basic unit of economy and root of progress. Because of this advocacy, he was called Mr. Palengke. He still continued on working for consumer protection through the Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya program which benefited millions of Filipinos in need quality and affordable medicines. While working as the Department of Trade and Industry secretary, he also worked on his commitment to quality education. He initiated thePersonal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS) Program, to which 2,000 public schools were gifted 30,000 computers all over the country. PCPS also provided information communication and technology tools and skills to almost 500,000 high school students. In 2004, he was elected into the Senate and earned the most number of votes obtained by a candidate in Philippine election. He still continued on his advocacy for cheap

medicine and consumer rights, and authored Republic Act No. 9502, or the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 which was signed in June 2008.


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March 16, 2011

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