Speaker SFD Spotlight: Rep.Teddy A. Casiño

Social reformist and dynamic leader

Bayan Muna party-list congressman Teddy Casiño is a genuine social reformist and one of the most dynamic young leaders in the country today. He was first swept into the politics of change when, as a high school student in La Salle Green Hills, he volunteered for the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and took part in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. The experience changed him so that since then, his life has been characterized by a conscious choice for the road less travelled.

The EDSA experience moved Teddy to become an activist in his freshman year at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB). He became editor-in-chief of the student paper, The UPLB Perspective, from 1989-1991 even as he consistently made it to the honor roll. In 1991, Teddy was elected national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), an alliance of over 700 student publications nationwide. He graduated from UPLB with a bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1993.

After his stint in the student movement, Teddy joined the labor movement as part of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), where he deepened his commitment to serve the people, especially the working class. Teddy was elected secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), the largest alliance of progressive people’s organizations in the country in 1999 and was catapulted to national prominence in 2001 as one of the youngest leaders of EDSA 2. He was appointed commissioner of the EDSA People Power Commission and was accorded the UPLB Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002. Teddy also served as a commissioner in the District Justice and Peace Commission of the De La Salle Schools in 2005-2006.

Teddy is an accomplished writer and journalist. After being a regular contributor to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Youngblood column, he became a regular columnist for BusinessWorld from 1995-2004. He also wrote columns for the tabloids and People’s Bagong Taliba, Frontpage, the OFW weekly Pinoy Gazette and the online magazine Bulatlat.com. In 2002, he had a short stint in ABS-CBN’s Hoy Gising and The Correspondents.

Techie legislator and advocate of new politics

As a Bayan Muna congressman since 2004, Teddy is proof that integrity, righteousness, competence, patriotism and compassion for the poor and oppressed still has a place in the political mainstream.

Teddy has proven his mettle as a progressive legislator, spearheading the fight against corruption and government abuse, pushing for fundamental reforms in the areas of good governance and people empowerment, justice and human rights, educational reform, economic nationalism, the protection of the national patrimony and the environment, and the appropriate use of information and communications technology.
An avid texter and harnesser of innovations in communications technology, Teddy is an advocate of ICT in government and business.
He is the prime mover, since the last Congress, of efforts to enact the Freedom of Information Bill into law. In the current 15th Congress, he is the main author of House Bill 133 (AN ACT TO ENSURE PUBLIC ACCESS TO OFFICIAL RECORDS, DOCUMENTS AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION OF PUBLIC CONCERN) that will widen public participation in the fight against graft and corruption in all levels of governance.

Teddy is the lead legislator in Congress of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) as main author of House Bill 1011 (FREE/OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE ACT OF 2010) that will eventually save the government millions of pesos that are devoted to proprietary software if pass into law.  The proposed law mandates the use of FOSS and Open Standards in local government agencies and encourages the use of FOSS in both public and private sectors.
And s author of House Resolution 800, Teddy wants Congress to look into the dismal speed of broadband connections in the country and the proposed policy of setting broadband speeds and maximum data volumes (broadband caps) that may further hamper internet services to the people.
Teddy is also an advocate of e-Governance at all levels in the national and international arena. He has been active in e-government conferences, including the most recent one in Hongkong, the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum; the Open e-Governance Forum held in Palawan, and part of the Philippine contingent to e-Parliament conferences in Bali, Indonesia and Taipei, Taiwan.

For Teddy, public service is a public trust. In all his years in Congress, he has never figured in any scandal or anomaly. He has maintained his simple lifestyle and has never used his position to enrich himself, his relatives or his friends.  He is, in fact, on record as being the second poorest member of the House, but among the most active and dedicated.  Watch him as he talk on Software Freedom Day on September 17, 2011 topic FOSS Legislation.