Fil-Ams for Mar-Leni at the New York launch on Jan. 15.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Marilyn Abalos)

Special to the Filipino Reporter

Filipino-Americans for Mar-Leni kicked off its campaign in New York City on Jan. 15.

It is headed by Loida Nicolas Lewis, Chair of Mar-Leni 2016 Global and Chair of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) with the New York-North East Team.

Various Fil-Am community leaders and organizations attended the launch, including a number of Fil-Ams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, as well as New York and New Jersey.  

Manuel “Mar” Roxas II will run with Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo in the 2016 Philippine presidential campaign.

President Benigno Aquino III has endorsed Roxas as the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.

Lewis gave an hour presentation detailing the state of affairs in the Philippines and why it is important and of the upmost need to elect Roxas and Robredo in the May 2016 presidential elections.

She highlighted the track record of good governance under President Aquino and underscored the governmental reputation and commitment of Mar-Leni to carry on the legacy of governance.

She appealed to the Fil-Am community that it was “time to rise” and engage in a proactive campaign with family, friends and colleagues in the Philippines and U.S. to support the Mar-Leni team.

For information about the United States and international Mar-Leni campaign drives, visit

There is also a Facebook Page: and a Twitter Account:

Lewis made reference how bad it was in the Philippines — 21 years of darkness — so much so that in 2006, the Philippines was tagged as “the most corrupt nation in the world.”

She talked about the “good things” President Aquino has initiated during his time in office, including instituting innovations to benefit the people and reforms and best practices to mandate and change the culture and complacency about corruption.

Under the leadership of President Aquino, as early as 2010, the Philippines has made significant gains in its standing and perception of the international community.

Some include from 134 to 85 in the Corruption Perceptions Index, 144 to 95 in Doing Business Index, 85 to 52 in the Global Competitiveness Index.


Loida Nicolas Lewis speaking at the Fil-Ams for Mar-Leni launch in New York on Jan. 15.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Marilyn Abalos)

Most significantly, Standard & Poor’s raised the Philippines investment grade credit rating.

“We are no longer the poor man of Asia,” said Lewis.

She pointed out that President Aquino’s efforts addressed the people’s and country’s needs.

Some of his support provided more classrooms in the schools, education reform, cash for households, medical reimbursements.

He made significant progress with infrastructure investment and significant commitment to accountability, transparency and integrity.  

She emphasized the importance to keep the legacy of President Aquino.

She said that these good works should not be disassembled after the end of his term.

She explained that Roxas and Robredo, committed to good governance, are the best choice in the 2016 Philippine presidential elections.

“That’s why am doing this!” Lewis said.

“Six years not enough. The Philippines needs 18 years of good government.”

(Referring to the term of President Aquino, as well as Roxas and Robredo.)

She then spoke about Roxas’ and Robredo’s background, experience and commitment to good governance.  

Manuel (Mar) Roxas II is the grandson of Manuel Roxas, the first president of a fully independent Philippine Republic (1946-48).

He is the son Gerardo (Gerry) Manuel Roxas, Congressman (1957-1961) from Capiz and later Senator (1963-1972).

He is married to Korina Sanchez and has one son, Paolo, from a previous relationship.

He is a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila.

He has a BS degree from the Wharton School of Economics of University of Pennsylvania.

After graduation he worked as an investment banker in New York.

In 1985, he joined the presidential campaign of Cory Aquino.

In 1993, he represented Capiz in the Philippine House of Representatives and in later years served as House Majority Leader.

He served as Cabinet Member in the Estrada administration, Philippine Senator and Cabinet Member under Benigno Aquino III (2010-15).

He was Aquino’s Secretary of Transportation and Communications and later the former Interior and Local Government Secretary.

Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo was born in Naga, Camarines Sur, Philippines.

She is the widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and has three children Jillian Therese, Jessica Marie and Janine Patricia.

She holds an economics degree at the University of the Philippines and law degree at the University of Nuevas Cacares.  

A human rights lawyer, she emerged in the public eye with the loss of her husband, former Naga Mayor and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2012.

She represents Camarines Sur in the Philippine House of Representatives.  

“Then the Philippines can be a head nation! We will truly be the ‘Pearl of the Orient,’” Lewis said.

“Transparency and economic development for the people. We are a noble race — we have the blood of Rizal. We are a royal priesthood — God’s people. Ro-Ro for the Philippines!”

Lewis will be traveling not only in the U.S. for the Roxas-Robredo campaign (at her own personal expense) but also to London, Madrid, Rome, Florence, Dubai, as well as Bicol, Philippines to continue her talk about good government, and how a vote for Mar-Leni would ensure its continuity.  

“Tell 100 people about Mar Roxas!” she said.

Dr. Angie Cruz of the Fil-Ams for Mar-Leni served as emcee at the launch.

She invited people to also support the campaign welcoming volunteers, as well as donations.

Encouraging Fil-Am (and friends) participation, she said the team can talk more about “what can we do — how can we help.”

To volunteer with Fil-Ams for Mar-Leni, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To donate to the campaign, checks should be made out to “Loida Lewis for MarLeni” and mailed to Loida Nicolas Lewis, 115 East 57th Street, Suite 1430, New York, NY 10022.

For information about the United States and international Mar-Leni campaign drives, visit

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