Gregorio B. Honasan II
All throughout his life, Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Ballesteros Honasan II had been a consistent achiever. Born on Match 14, 1948 in Baguio City to Colonel Romeo Honasan and Alice Ballesteros, both of Sorsogon Province, Sen. Honasan already exhibited above average intellectual and leadership abilities even in his younger years.
During his elementary and secondary education both here and abroad, Honasan was an outstanding student who was accelerated into the higher grades at the San Beda College and Dominican School in Taipei, Taiwan and the Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong. At the Philippine Military Academy where he took his Bachelor of Science in 1971, he received the academy’s highest leadership award and became the Class Baron.
After joining the Philippine Army in the same year, he went into combat duty in Luzon and Mindanao. It was in Mindanao where he was wounded in action at the battles of Lebak, Mindanao and Jolo, Sulu.
Honasan’s distinguished performance in the military earned him three (3) Distinguished Stars of Counter Insurgency Operations Against Economic Saboteurs and Drug Traffickers. Aside from the three (3) Gold Cross Medals for Gallantry in Action in the Battles of Lebak, Jolo and Zamboanga in 1973 to 1974, he also received awards such as Military Merit Medals, Military Commendation Medals, Anti-Insurgency Medals, Anti-Secessionist Medals and Wounded Personnel Medals for wounds sustained in actual combat, among others.
Then Lt. Honasan served as Aide-de-Camp to the Secretary of National Defense in 1974 and later became the department’s Chief of Security. And, after leading three (3) successful operations against Insurgents, Economic Saboteurs and Drug Traffickers, Honasan became one of the youngest full colonels in Philippine history.
Because of his consistent excellence in the military, he was awarded one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men for Military Service by the Jaycees.
In 1986, he was awarded by then President Corazon Aquino with a Distinguished Conduct Star for the EDSA Revolution and the Presidential Government Medal in 1986. He then became the Commandant of Special Operations School at the Philippine Army Training Command in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija in 1986 to 1987.
When Honasan finally entered politics in 1995, he became the first independent candidate in Philippine history to win a Senate seat.
As a neophyte lawmaker in the 10th Congress, he filed 144 bills and 44 resolutions. In the 11th Congress, Honasan has so far filed 64 bills and 63 resolutions.
Among his noteworthy bills signed into law were:
Republic Act Number 8368 - a law that decriminalized squatting.
Republic Act Number 8437 - which extends the period of effectivity of the Rent Control Law, from January 1, 1998 until December 31, 2001
Republic Act Number 8501 - Condones penalties imposed by government agencies that are involved in the National Housing Program, all of which have detrimental effect on intended socialized housing program beneficiaries;
Republic Act Number 8532 - Increases the Agrarian Reform Fund to Fifty Billion Pesos that will be used to finance production, credits, infrastructure and other support services and is intended to speed up the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and will benefit 4,000,000 tillers of land and the agricultural sector;
Concurrent Resolution Number 5 - concurring with the Proclamation number 21 of the Republic of the Philippines, entitled: “Further Amending Proclamation Number 347 Granting Amnesty to Rebels, Insurgents And All Other Persons Who Have Or May Have Committed Crimes In Furtherance Of Political Ends, And Violations Of The Articles Of War, And Creating A National Amnesty Commission, As Amended ” ; and
Republic Act Number 8749, otherwise known as the Clean Air Act (An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Air Pollution Policy and For Other Purposes). This landmark legislation ensures the people’s right to breath clean air via clean fuels, emission regulation, and a ban on incinerators, among others. About 20 Million residents are its projected beneficiaries.
The legislative agenda of Senator Honasan for the 11th Congress revolves around Good Government and Efficient Bureaucracy; Reforms in AFP and PNP; Industrialization and Genuine Economic Development ; Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and Management; Good Education for all and Opportunities for the Marginalized Sectors.
His legislative priorities for the 12th Congress are:
The Land Use Act - an Act providing for the national land use policy and planning network and the implementing mechanism
Clean Water Act - an Act providing for a comprehensive water resource policy and water sector development, creating the water resources management commission and for other purposes;
An Act Declaring a National Peace Policy - creating the Commission on Peace and for other purposes falls under the Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation;
OTHER NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Author of the Mini-Marshall Plan for Mindanao, otherwise known as the Mindanao Aid Plan or the . The Plan was a comprehensive blueprint for Mindanao’s socio-economic development following the region’s devastation due to the full scale military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
To date, his sponsored over 200 Medical-Dental-Surgical Missions in depressed areas of the country, serving at least 20,000 indigent patients.
Prime mover of the National Security Strategy Framework which seeks to define the country’s national security and strategy in the light of internal and external security threats and the consequent National Peace Policy.
Sponsored the computer education scholarship of 3,000 students thru the Sulong Dunong sa Kaunlaran program.
Sponsored the college scholarship of 106 out-of-school youths.
Regularly distributes relief assistance to calamity-hit areas in the country through his Gregorio B. Honasan Peace and Development Foundation founded in 1995.
Served thousands of constituents requesting for claims for PVAO, SSS and AFP/PNP claims and refund of teachers’ loans through his Public Service Program aired over RMN-DZXL and DZRH-Radyo Natin and Gringo Honasan Reports aired over RPN-9 and PTV-4
Fellow, National Defense College of the Philippines.