Profile of Ralph Gonzalez Recto
Senator Ralph Gonzalez Recto is a notable public servant – educated, dedicated, and diplomatic. His devotion to family and community, unrelenting desire to make a better life for others, consummate passion for his work, and interactive leadership style, serve as the firm foundation upon which he built a reputation as a young and committed leader whether as a legislator or a national executive.
His independence makes him an exemplary public official. He can never be boxed into a myopic position to the disdain of his critics. He is not one to shun the rough waters of public opinion when he tackles unpopular measures. He faces criticisms head on, but in ways that disarm the adversary. Whoever initially opposes him is soon converted into an ally.
Family and personal life
Senator Ralph Recto’s political lineage is traced to the late Senator Claro Mayo Recto, nationalist and statesman, and a descendant of the patriotic Mayo and Recto clans of Luzon. Senator Ralph Recto is the second child of three of lawyer Rafael Recto, an Assemblyman during the Regular Batasang Pambansa, and Carmen Gonzalez-Recto whose family hails from Pangasinan.
He is married to the Representative of 6th District of Batangas, Vilma Santos-Recto, father to Ryan Christian and stepfather to Luis Philippe Manzano.
Senator Recto has completed the coursework and is a candidate for both master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and in Strategic Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific. He also took up a Leadership Course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. He acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the De La Salle University-Manila. His elementary years were spent at the Ateneo de Manila University and La Salle Greenhills while his High school diploma was from La Salle Greenhills.
He was conferred a degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa by the Lipa City Public College in 2010 and by the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology in 2009.
At the National Economic and Development Authority
After the elections of 2007, Recto joined the board of the Union Bank of the Philippines as an Independent Director. On July 23, 2008, he was named as the new Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority.
As NEDA chief, Ralph helped craft and monitor the government’s Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP), which served as the Philippines’ pump-priming program. The ERP implementation involved the frontloading of government spending during the first half of 2009 and increased spending for social services and infrastructure. Moreover, he proposed a new economic plan for the next year initially dubbed as REAP (Reloading Economic Acceleration Plan) to protect the gains made from the ERP and prepare the country for the anticipated economic rebound. He also set in place a more institutionalized monitoring of global and local events as they affect the Philippine economy.
Ralph advocated various development issues such as a transparent oil pricing scheme to protect consumers as well as a greater transparency in government project implementation. He also backed innovations in the green industry and technology in the Philippines and signed a climate change program with the United Nations and the Spanish Government. In addition, Ralph pushed for deeper engagements with China and other growth regions such as the Middle East.
During his term as NEDA Director-General, Ralph instituted the adoption of value engineering in infrastructure projects to help cut costs, minimize delays and strengthen the ICC process. He introduced an employment odometer for all government projects/initiatives to estimate the number of jobs that can be created.
Ralph also advocated the enhancement of the performance review of the Philippine government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) portfolio to help improve the country’s absorptive capacity, speed up the implementation of development programs and projects, and manage for development results.
At the House of Representatives
He holds the distinction of being the youngest elected member of the House of Representatives during the 9th Congress. He also holds an unprecedented record in the congressional election history of Batangas for winning in all precincts, barangays, municipalities, together with Lipa City in the 1995 and 1998 elections. He garnered 98% of the votes cast in those two elections in the 4th District of Batangas.
During his three terms (from 1992 to 2001) as Member of the House of Representatives, his legislative measures enacted into law mostly dealt with economic reforms and poverty alleviation. Among which are the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act; the Philippine Economic Zone Law; Amendment to the Special Economic Zone Law; the Retail Trade Liberalization Law; Regional Headquarters Law and the Comprehensive Tax Reform Law.
At the Philippine Senate
Senator Recto holds the distinction of being the youngest Senator of the 12th Congress at the age of 37. Likewise, he was the youngest member of the House of Representatives of the 9th Congress.
In the 16th Congress, Senator Recto was elected President Pro-Tempore and chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology and continued to be a member of the Commission on Appointments. In the 12th, 13th and 15th Congresses, Recto was Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.
HEARTS which is the acronym for Health, Education, Agriculture, Roads, Technology and Social Security is the core of Senator Recto’s legislative agenda and advocacy. He believes that reforms in these sectors would have a meaningful impact on the efforts to alleviate the plight of the Filipino people.
His recent legislative accomplishments include authorship of laws on institutionalization of Kindergarten, implementation of K to 12, extension of the corporate life of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), increasing the tax-exempt ceiling on 13th month pay, Christmas bonus and other benefits, mandatory PHILHEALTH coverage for senior citizens, additional benefits for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), PAGASA modernization, extension of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization, creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and Centenarians Act.
He has come out in defence of Juan de la Cruz in consumer issues like oil prices, power, transportation fare, license plates, as well as the investigations on NAIA laglag bala and taxes on balikbayan boxes. On the other hand, he initiated increased budget support for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), public hospitals, Philippine Science High School, PAGASA modernization, free WI-Fi in public places, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), among others.
A deep sense of equity and fairness defined his balanced handling and scrutiny of legislative measures. In all cases, he assigned great value on the people’s needs. With inclusive growth, it is expected that the poor will share the responsibility and fruits of development.
When the 17th Congress opened on July 25, 2016, Recto assumed the position of the Senate Minority Leader.
12 Point Agenda for LGUs