Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gringo Honasan, as a Father, a Husband, and a Filipino

We met with Senator Gringo Honasan a few days ago for a Bloggers' Press Conference at the New Horizon Hotel in Mandaluyong City. It was an intimate gathering and the objective was to know the lighter side of his character beyond the Gringo Honasan we generally perceive him to be as a public political figure. 
Senator Gringo Honasan
Vice-Presidential Candidate & Senator Gringo Honasan

It is no secret that he is currently running as a Vice-Presidential candidate in the upcoming national elections in the Philippines in May of this year. And it's no secret too that he was referred to as a power-grabber during the EDSA Revolution 1986 days.

But beyond the cliche that is Gringo, who is Gringo Honasan in the other aspects of life?

...As a Son and Student

Gregorio B. Honasan was horn on March 14, 1948 in Baguio City to Colonel Romero Honasan and Alice Ballesteros, a teacher from Sorsogon.

His elementary years were spent at San Beda College in Manila where he was a consistent honor student and accelerated from grade 4 to grade 6, and the Dominican School in Taipei, Taiwan. He graduated with honors at Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong and took up Economics at the University or the Philippines.

He actually admitted to being bullied during his younger years.
"...mahiyain, ako yung ginugulpi noon eh. Ako yung binabakalan, di ba may baon akong 15 centavos - 10 centavos pambili ng softdrinks, ung 5 centaovs pambilii ng hopia . . . eh hihingin pa sayo yung 10 centavos, eh di hopia ka nalang at tubig."
Honasan 2016
Honasan 2016 Press Conference
... As a Husband, Father, & Soldier

He then went on to the Philippine Military Academy, where he graduated as “Class Baron,” the recipient of the institution's highest leadership award. In 1981, he took up his Masters Degree in Business Management at the Asian institute of Management (AIM), where he graduated with distinction, in his masteral thesis.

As a solider, he saw action in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and earned a number of medals, awards, decorations and commendations for gallantly in action including three Distinguished Conduct Stars, Gold Cross medals and Wounded Personnel Medals sustained in combat.

In 1985 he was recognized as one or the Ten Outstanding Young Men given by the Philippine Jaycees. In 1986, he was one of the principal plavers of the EDSA revolution as one of the leaders of the RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) that broke away from the martial law government. He was awarded the Presidential Commendation Medal for Government Service by then President Corazon C. Aquino.
". . . light sleeper ako at 2 in the morning to 4 [am]. Why? By force of habit. Yan yung time na lumulusob yng kalaban, at yun ang time na lumulusob kami."
He is married to Jane Umali of Pagsanjan, Laguna, a medical technologist by vocation and an interior designer by training.

As a husband, he admitted to being an average man who is attracted to good-looking women as well, but remained faithful to his wife. He is proud of not having extra-marital affairs and is loyal to his family.

Honasan considers his five children his treasure. Although he was not around most of the time, specially during his tumultous years as a rebel soldier in the 1980s and early 1990s, he considers himself fortunate for having a caring wife who took care of his children in his absence.
". . . God, kung kukunin mo kami. . . [sana] sabay kami. . . kaming dalawa....pero bihira naman pinagbibigyan ng ganoon. So., kung may kukunin ka, sana unahin Mo ako."
Today, he has a total of 5 grand children whom he loves.
Gringo Honasan
Senator Gringo Honasan
... As a Senator

He became Senator in 1995, the first truly independent candidate in Fhilippine political history to win in national elections. He was re-elected in 2001, and again in 2007.

He is principal author and co-author of, among others, the Clean Air Act of 1999, Clean Water Act, the National Country Policy, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2009, the Solid Waste Management Act or 2000 and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law (CARPER).

Today, he is shepherding the Freedom of Information Act which he now refers to as the POGI Bill - People's Ownership of Government lnformation Act, the National Mapping and Resource Authority Law and the Land Use Act.

Moreover, Senator Honasan has also 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.
Vice President Gringo Honasan
Jonel Uy with Vice-Presidentiable Gringo Honasan
Honasan Today & Honasan 2016

Senator Honasan is currently the Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Agrarian Reform, Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and Public Information and Mass Media.

He likewise chairs three oversight committees, specifically the Congressional Oversight Committees on Agrarian Reform and Dangerous Drugs, as well as the Joint Oversight Committee on the Human Security Act. He is Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Local Government, Civll Service and Government Reorganization, Health and Demography, National Defense and Security, Public Works, Rules, and Amateur Sports Competitiveness and a member or 19 major permanent committees and ten oversight committees.
Senator Gringo Honasan
Honasan as a Father, Husband, and Soldier
In the interview, Senator Gringo Honasan reiterated his stance of being for God, Country, and Family. He mentioned that he cannot seperate the three as core principles of citizenship coupled with values of Faith, Hope and Love.
"...pero yang God, Country, and Family, wag mong gagalawin yan, dahil pag ginalaw mo yan, away tayo." - Senator Gringo Honasan.

We hope that these short article through a personal interview, was able to show the other side of Gringo Honasan as a senator, a soldier, a father, a husband, and a Filipino.