Karapatan Bicol lashes out at ‘pre-election sorties’ in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—Karapatan Bicol on Monday lashed out at President Aquino’s cabinet men including Vice President Jejomar Binay and Rodolfo Duterte for using government funds for their “early political campaign sorties in Bicol.”

Left: Binay, Right: Roxas in separate recent events in Bicol
Paul Vincent Casilihan, the advocacy group’s spokesperson, said millions of government funds in disguise of projects are being used by PNoy’s men to take advantage of their position in their pre- election campaign as they seek either the presidential post or a Senate seat in the coming 2016 national elections.

Casilihan in a phone interview said he lamented that millions of people’s money from various agency projects are currently bankrolled to boost their pre-election campaign.

He was strongly annoyed, for instance, by what he called the “political gimmicks” of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and cabinet secretaries Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Jericho Petilla of the Department of Energy (DOE), Joel Villanueva of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Francis Tolentino of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Said politicians in recent months paid visits to Bicol, bringing news of new projects and programs.

“The question is,” Casilihan said, “why are these projects being introduced and implemented now that the election is inching closer?”

“This is pure deception and political gimmick,” he remarked, “The poor people indeed need help but these politicians are taking advantage of their position at the expense of the government,” an exasperated Casilihan said.

“We are strongly calling for them to resign, as they are deceiving the people of their self-proclaimed achievements to advance the political ambitions,” he declared.

Casilihan cited Binay who made his rounds last month in the island province of Catanduanes, speaking in forums, and consulting local government executives.

Roxas, the presumptive Liberal Party candidate, Casilihan said, has already visited Albay twice. He inaugurated DILG’s Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) projects such as the P5-M Legazpi City Food Court and inspected the Salin-Tubig project in Camalig, Albay and Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon.

As Interior Secretary and chairperson of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), he distributed 29 police patrol jeeps in Bicol, 15 of were given to Albay, and the rest to Sorsogon.

Tolentino, for his part, was a guest at the Search for the Mutya ng Daragang Magayon. During his visit, he handed over traffic light equipment and a traffic management plan to Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal.

Petilla, in coordination with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) held a Power Caravan and organized a group called Youth Environment Advocates.

Villanueva, meanwhile, visited Albay and Camarines Sur during TESDA-sponsored graduation ceremonies. He gave away sewing machines and welding tool kits to the graduates and announced the granting of 500,000 TESDA scholarships in Bicol.

Casilihan said that aside from their provincial visits, the incumbent politicians also schedule radio interviews and cause the placements of pre-election jingles and testimonials in various local stations.—by Mar S. Arguelles


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