Manuel "Mar" Araneta Roxas II
(born May 13, 1957) is a Senator of the Philippines. He is the
son of former Senator Gerry Roxas, and the grandson of former
President Manuel Roxas. A graduate of the Wharton School of
Economics, Roxas worked as an investment banker, mobilizing
venture capital funds for small and medium enterprises. He
served as the Representative of the 1st District of Capiz from
1993 to 2000. His stint as Congressman was cut short after he
was appointed by President Joseph Estrada as Secretary of Trade
and Industry. He resigned from the position at the height of the
EDSA Revolution of 2001 and was later re-appointed by President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her new Cabinet. He resigned again to
run for a Senate seat in the 2004 Philippine election. He was
elected as Senator with 19 million votes, the highest ever
garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election.
was born on May 13, 1957 in Manila, Philippines to Judy Araneta
(born July 31, 1931 in Negros Occidental) and Gerardo Roxas.
Roxas' father was a former Senator (1924-1982), and the only son
of Manuel Roxas, the first
President of the Third Philippine Republic, and Trinidad de
Leon. The couple married on 1955. He has two siblings namely
Maria Lourdes or Ria, married to Augusto Ojeda and mother of
three and the late Congressman
Gerardo Roxas, Jr. (1960-1993). Roxas attended Ateneo de
Manila University for his elementary and high school graduation,
then went to the United States to attend the Wharton School of
Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in
economics in 1979.
After graduation, he worked for seven years as an investment
banker in New York, and became an assistant vice president of
the New York-based Allen & Company. Following the 1985
announcement by President Ferdinand Marcos of a snap election,
he took a leave of absence to join the presidential campaign of
In September 1986, President Corazon Aquino went to the United
States. He was one of those who organized a series of investment
round-table discussions with the American business community.
From 1986 onwards, he visited the Philippines more frequently.
He then proposed to his company to have set up shop in Asia
specifically in the Philippines, and later, his superiors
agreed. In 1991, he was stationed in the country under North
Star Capitals, Inc. which took Jollibee public. In the United
States, he participated in the first financing of Discovery
Channel and Tri-Star Pictures.
Roxas' brother, Dinggoy, a Congressman representing the 1st
District of Capiz died of cancer. At the age of 35, he decided
to run in the special election to replace his brother and won.
Roxas joined the government in 1993 as a Congressman
representing the 1st District of Capiz. He later became Majority
Leader of the House of Representatives.
As congressman, he espoused consumer protection, underscoring
the right of every Filipino to affordable medicines, as his
personal advocacy. His landmark laws include, among others:
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
His tenure in the House was most noted for his principal
authorship of Republic Act No. 7880 (Roxas Law), which ensures
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
Roxas resigned from the House of Representatives following his
appointment as Trade and Industry Secretary under the Estrada
administration in 2000.
DTI Secretary, 2000-2003
was appointed Secretary of Trade and Industry by President
Joseph Estrada in January 2000, replacing Jose Pardo who as
appointed Secretary of Finance. He resigned the position in
November, as Estrada was under fire due to allegations of
corruption. In January 2001, days after Estrada was overthrown,
Roxas was re-appointed to the same office by newly installed
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was also temporarily
designated by Arroyo to head the Department of Energy.
During his four-year stint as DTI Secretary, he pushed for the
development of the "palengke"
(market) as the basic unit of the economy and the root of
progress, advocating not only consumer welfare and protection
but also sound trade and investment policies, particularly SME
He intensified his commitment to quality education through the
Personal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS) Program, which
distributed over 30,000 computers to 2,000 public high schools
all over the Philippines. PCPS computers provided 500,000 high
school students with the necessary ICT tools and skills.
His work regarding trade policy was highlighted during the 2003
WTO Meeting in Cancún, Mexico, where he fought for increased
market access for Philippine exports, particularly agricultural
products and a rationalized Philippine trade regime so that
domestic industries would not be harmed.
Mar Roxas launched 'Make
IT Philippines' and organized the first IT-enabled services (ITES)
to the US which led to the biggest global industry names to
invest in the Philippines. He pioneered the establishment of
high-technology industry centers and the promotion of the
business process outsourcing (BPO) market in the Philippines,
particularly call center operations. From a mere 2000 jobs at
the onset, the BPO industry now provides hundreds of thousands
of jobs, thereby putting the Philippines on the map as a major
He worked for the reopening of the National Steel Corporation
which provided thousands of jobs, income and livelihood to
Iligan City, Northern Mindanao and adjacent regions. He later
launched the Garment Export Industry Transformation Plan and
Assistance Package to enhance the competitiveness of the
industry and ensure its viability and vibrancy beyond 2004. He
also initiated the Motor/Vehicle Development Program to promote
exports, create a viable market base for our car manufacturers
and secure jobs for our workers.
He pushed for MSME development through the SULONG (SMEs Unified
Lending Opportunities for National Growth) Program, which
granted almost P26.7 billion on low-interest loans to 281,229
SMEs on its first year.
He promoted the Tamang Timbang, Tamang Presyo (Right Scale,
Right Price) program for consumers; the Presyong Tama, Gamot
Pampamilya (Right Price, Family Medicine) to make affordable and
quality medicines accessible to Filipinos, and Pinoy Pandesal,
Palengke ng Bayan, among others. These programs promoted supply
chain efficiencies leading to growth and productivity, and a
wide range of opportunities and long-term gains.
As a proponent of the philosophy of 'palengkenomics', which
considers the "palengke" (market) as a microcosm of the economy,
Roxas conducts weekly monitoring of the prices of prime
commodities and maintains strong linkages with suppliers,
traders, and vendors in the different wet markets.
On December 10, 2003, Roxas resigned from his post to prepare
for his senatorial bid under the banner of the Liberal Party in
the 2004 elections. Roxas said that he needs to separate his
work in DTI from his work as a candidate, and added that his
resignation did not surprise the President. He was succeeded by
Cesar A. V. Purisima, former chairman of the accounting firm
Sycip, Gorres & Velayo (SGV).
Roxas was proclaimed by the Comelec as Senator-elect on May 24,
2004 and officially assumed the office at noon of June 30, 2004.
He was elected under the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa
Kinabukasan (K-4) of President Arroyo.
Mar Roxas currently holds
assignments on the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and
Senate Oversight Committee on Optical Media Board serving
alongside with Ramon Revilla, Jr..
Roxas authored 43 bills and 46 resolutions brought before the
13th Congress in July 2004 and 2007. He has filed bills on
fighting smuggling, supporting labor, education, economy, and
On February 26, 2006, the Philippines was under a state
emergency after the government claimed that it foiled an alleged
coup d'état attempt against the administration of Philippine
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier that same day. Two
days later, Roxas called on the government to immediately revoke
Proclamation No. 1017, saying it betrays its own vision of a
strong republic and directly attack Philippine democracy.
He voted in favor of the Revised Value-Added Tax Law when it was
deliberated in the Senate . The law was co-authored by other
Liberal Party members, Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan.
He also voted in favor of the abolition of the death penalty in
He voted against the Human Security Act together with Senator
Jamby Madrigal saying that "the fight against terror requires
urgent operational reforms over measures that could impair civil
liberties". He even warned that the said law poses a danger to
the security and rights of every Filipino if there will be no
set of implementing rules and regulations laid down.
Roxas' legislative agenda for the 14th Congress are as follows:
He has filed Senate Bill No. 101 (Law on Patents, Tradenames
and Trademarks) to amend Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known
as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, to lower
the prices of medicines through increased competition among drug
companies and by providing the government with better policy
tools to significantly influence the supply and demand of
EVAT Funds for Education and Healthcare
He has filed Senate Bill No. 102 (People's Fund Act) to ease
the effect of the 12% E-VAT. The People's Fund would consist of
thirty percent (30%) of all proceeds from the VAT collected
under Title IV of the National Internal Revenue Code. This
portion estimates the share of incremental revenues from
Republic Act No. 9337, the Expanded Value-Added Tax law, which
increased to 12% the VAT and removed the exemption.
Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners
He has filed Senate Bill No. 103 (Individual Tax Exemption
for Minimum Wage Earners Bill) to exempt minimum wage earners in
the private sector and government workers in Salary Grades 1 to
3, amending certain provisions of Republic Act No. 8424,
otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997,
As per estimates by the National Wages and Productivity Board,
there are 7 million workers earning the minimum wage and even
below. For him, it is unfair and unjust that the government,
under the law, is taking away a portion of their already
Amendments to the Roxas Law
He has filed Senate Bill No. 104 to amend Republic Act No.
7880, also known as the Fair and Equitable Access to Education
Act, to eliminate the problem of classroom shortages in the
Philippines, as well as enhancing the process of construction,
rehabilitation, replacement, completion, and repair of needed
school buildings and classrooms.
Regulating the Pre-Need Industry
He has filed Senate Bill No. 105 (Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007)
to address the absence of a statute that regulates the pre-need
industry by establishing the Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007 to
govern the operations of firms which issue or sell pre-need
plans or similar contracts and investments.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 106 (Anti-Smuggling Act of
2007) to amend certain provisions of Presidential Decree No.
1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the
Philippines, as amended. Under the proposed bill, an Audit and
Transparency Group under the Bureau of Customs, headed by a
Deputy Commissioner, would regularly inspect and report on the
bureau's operational processes, collection and financial
reporting, fiscal and personnel performance, system efficiency,
internal control, information and communication flow, fraudulent
and illegal practices and other related areas. On the basis of
these inspections and reports, the Audit and Transparency Deputy
Commissioner can initiate investigations of fraud and other
graft and corrupt practices in the bureau, and shall recommend
to the Office of the Ombudsman the filing of any cases against
personnel and officers involved.
He has filed Senate Bill No. 107 (Lemon Law of 2007) to have
a one (1) year period in which buyers of brand-new vehicles can
avail of the provisions of this Lemon Law, which allows up to
four repairs on the same defect before a replacement or refund
of the vehicle can be claimed. For him, it would ensure that the
investment on a vehicle is money well-spent.
SME Magna Carta
He has filed Senate Bill No. 108 (Magna Carta for Micro,
Small and Medium Enterprises) to strengthen Republic Act No.
6977, the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises. The focus of the
amendments of this bill focuses on three points: guidelines,
institutional support and organizational support. Guidelines
refer to the specific asset size definition, appropriating a
definite and regular amount for the Small and Medium Enterprise
Development (SMED) Council and increase in the mandatory
allocation to lending activities. Institutional support
comprises additional government agencies to coordinate SME
efforts and formalization of the SME Development Plan. Lastly,
organizational support to intensify the powers and increase
capitalization of the Small Business and Guarantee Finance
Corporation to complement the growing demands for financing.
Other features of the bill include formalizing the celebration
of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Week and
recognition of outstanding MSMEs.
Free Information Act
He has filed Senate Bill No. 109 (Free Information Act) to
implement the Constitutional guarantee to free access by the
people to official information, except when the disclosure of
such information would jeopardize other prerogatives of the
government, namely, the protection of the privacy of
individuals, trade secrets, national security, public order and
safety, and foreign diplomatic relations.
The bill also proposes the adoption by all government bodies a
mechanism wherein all written requests for information shall be
responded to within two days, unless proper justification is
given by the government body, subject only to the payment of
reasonable fees for the viewing or reproduction of such
information. To compel disclosure of information, in case a
government body refuses access to such information on whatever
grounds, the Office of the Ombudsman would be tapped to hear any
citizens' complaints of not being properly assisted by the
pertinent government body. Penalties will be levied to officials
or employees who knowingly and unjustly refuse to provide access
to information, or who consciously release false or misleading
He has filed Senate Bill No. 110 (Penalty of Imprisonment in
Libel Cases Abolition Bill) to decriminalize libel and limit the
venue of filing libel suits. He believes that the approval of
the said measure would be a small way by which Congress may help
in alleviating the plight of journalists.
After he garnered the highest votes in the Philippine
election history when he ran as Senator, many people had already
made him a potential presidential candidate by 2010. While he
has been coy on his plans for 2010, the
Mar Roxas for president in
2010 movement has been gathering steam with the Liberal Party
revival targeting the youth (considering that the bulk of the
voting population is aged below 30 years old). Other signs
include the sprouting of Mar
Roxas for president spots in cyberspace; and his colleagues
endorsing him as the party's standard bearer—Senator Benigno "Noynoy"
Aquino III declaring him Liberal Party's candidate for 2010,
Liberal Party's chair emeritus Jovito Salonga introducing him as
"the next president of the Philippine republic" and former
Liberal Party Chairman Franklin Drilon saying that Roxas is the
party's standard bearer in the 2010 elections.
However, on September 1, 2009 at the historic Club Filipino, in
the hopes of being the epitome of his belief of "Country above
self. Bayan bago ang sarili," he delivered a speech at a press
conference saying that: for the 2010 elections, he is shelving
his presidential aspiration and is giving way to Senator Benigno
"Noynoy" Aquino III.
Liberal Party president
On November 26, 2007, LP National Executive Council officials
resolved to appoint him as president of the Liberal Party
(Philippines). Roxas is to unite the two LP factions, and set
the stage for his presidential campaign in the 2010 election.
Lito Atienza, however, forthwith questioned Roxas' appointment,
attacking the composition of Liberal Party’s National Executive
Council (NECO) and alleged that the Supreme Court of the
Philippines' June 5 resolution ordered the LP leadership's
status quo maintenance. Atienza stated: "I have no invitation.
They kicked me out of the meeting; How can you (Roxas) unite the
party when you take the wrong step?"
Political positions of Mar Roxas
Senator Mar Roxas has taken positions on many national
issues since his election as senator during the 2004 Philippine
About the ZTE deal, Roxas introduced a resolution urging
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cancel the Philippine
government's National Broadband Network (NBN) project with
China's Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE)
Roxas said that the $329.4-million deal "was driven by supply
and not by demand" and will not benefit Filipinos. He believes
that the cancellation of the deal would not affect the
relationship of the Philippines with China.
In order to finally put a just closure to national divisiveness,
Roxas filed Senate Resolution No. 135 calling on President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue a pardon to former President
Joseph Ejercito Estrada (popularly known as "Erap") at the
"The grant of pardon to Erap on humanitarian grounds should not
in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as
diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan,
but serves solely as an embodiment of the people's will for
closure on one of the most divisive chapters of our national
life," he added.
"In trade negotiations, no deal is always better than a bad
deal." This is what Roxas said on JPEPA.
He issued a warning after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
pressed on the Senate to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic
Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) amid concerns aired by Tokyo for
the early approval.
Roxas was optimistic that the pact would be given serious
consideration by the Senate if the government revised the deal
to get a better trade-off.
He is father of Paolo. He is currently in a relationship with
Korina Sanchez, one of the
Philippines' most popular and critically acclaimed broadcast
journalists from ABS-CBN. In the April 25, 2009 episode of ABS-CBN
noontime show Wowowee where Sanchez appeared as a guest co-host
alongside Willie Revillame,
Sanchez and Roxas revealed that they are already engaged.
Sanchez and Roxas remain mum about the details of their wedding.
However, the Philippine Star reported that Sanchez is said to be
in talks with designer Pepito Albert for her wedding gown and
will take a leave from her work at ABS-CBN starting May 2009.
As of 2007, he has a declared net worth of P140.3 million.
Awards, honors and recognitions
In 1996, Roxas was recognized by the World Economic Forum as
"one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who are expected to shape
In 1999, Roxas was named by the Asiaweek Magazine as "Political
Leader of the New Millennium."
The Singapore Government has awarded him as the 16th Lee Kuan
On February 16, 2007, the E-Services Philippines awarded Roxas
with the E-Champion Award recognizing his pioneering efforts and
leadership in making the Philippines a popular outsourcing
destination of choice.
On September 18, 2007, Roxas was conferred with the Palanca
Awards Gawad Dangal ng Lahi by CP Group Chairman Carlos Palanca
III, Palanca Foundation Director General Sylvia Palanca-Quirino
and Deputy Director General Christine Quirino-Pacheco for
serving as an exemplary leader and role model to the Filipino.