MANILA, May 30 Ako Bicol Party (AKB) clarified on Sunday that the group was not only formed to run as party list in the last May 10 elections but existed since 2006 aimed to help the Bicolanos.
Joshue Martinez Jr., spokesman and deputy secretary-general for media relations of AKB, said that the group was not a front of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as alleged by its critics and there was no basis for the disqualifications of their nominees after getting number 1 in the party list elections.
Martinez said in the group's website, www.akobicol.com, that AKB had no connection with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as its critics alleged.
AKB has no connection with her whatsoever since she has nothing to do with Bicol anymore but will only be attending to the parochial concerns of her district. What is certain however, is that AKB will be supporting the next President since he is the one given the mandate by our people. We want the next President to succeed since his failure is the failure of the Filipino nation, Martinez added.
He also said, AKB started as a self-help organization which catered to the relief and rehabilitation needs of typhoon Reming until their members realized that through unity and mutual aid of Bicolanos, they could give hope to victims of disaster by giving livelihood until AKB expanded in giving assistance to victims of disasters in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Masbate and even in Metro Manila and Calabarzon areas.
Martinez also said, AKB was headed by businessman Elizaldy Co as chairman and Atty. Rodol Batocabe as president.
He also said that the AKB decided by accident to join the May 10 elections through the party list system since they wanted to strengthen further their programs and projects to help the marginalized Bicolanos.
Martinez insisted this will prove that AKB was never created as front of President Arroyo in order for her to become the speaker in the Lower House.
Among the programs and projects that the AKB once seated as party list group in the Lower House will focus are the basic issues confronting the Bicolanos.
The nominees of the AKB were businessman Christopher Co, Atty. Rodel Batocabe and Atty. Alfredo Garbin Jr. The 4th nominee is Atty. Ronald Ang.
Martinez also pointed out that the AKB as an organization has already helped the marginalized Bicolanos by alleviating poverty and arrest unemployment; initiated scholarships for poor but deserving students; has the largest privately-funded carabao dispersal and large animal de-worming in region 5;
Conducted regular clean-up drives and help protect the environment through their AKB-bantay kalamidad; has conducted regular medical and dental missions including bloodletting in various areas in the region;
Had been very active in working for the competitiveness of Bicol region in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry; and
AKB is cognizant of the power problem in the region and supports the production of alternative, renewable and cheap sources of energy; and is constantly helping the local and national government in promoting the Bicol region as tourist hub and destination, he said.
He also said that the programs and projects were all done by AKB and the Bicolanos without any government assistance and support but AKB could done more with the governments help.
And that is precisely the reason why AKB decided to enter the political arena to brad wonder opportunity afforded by the party list system of representation. With governments help. We hope to further strengthen our programs and projects for the benefit of marginalized Bicolanos, Martinez said.
On Monday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will proclaim the first 10 winners of the party list which was topped by Ako Bicol, garnering a votes of 1,522,986.
Others to be proclaimed at the 2 p.m. on Monday at the Comelec head office were Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens of the Philippines (1,292,182), Buhay Hayaan Yumabong Partylist (1,249,555), Akbayan Citizens Action Party (1,058,,691), Gabriela Womens Party (1,001,421), Cooperative Natcco Network Party (943,529), 1st Consumer Alliance for Rural Energy (768,829), Abono (766,615), Bayan Muna (746,019) and An Waray (711,631).(PNA)