Ako Bicol lists feats

NAGA CITY—"Ako Bicol will continue its advocacies and programs that resonate with the Bicolano community,” Rep. Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr. told the members of the media here as he announced his bid for Partylist Representative as the Senior Nominee of Ako Bicol at a press conference at a hotel here last week.

A lawyer by profession, Garbin was born and raised in Naga City, but studied his undergraduate and law degrees at Bicol University and Aquinas University in Legazpi City.

He has been cited for his exemplary contributions to local legislation involving disaster management, resettlement, tourism promotion, income generation, youth development, public welfare, legal aid, manpower training, transport service, information and communication and environmental protection and development.

Apart from Garbin, the other nominees are Atty. Justin Batocabe (the eldest son of Rep. Rodel Batocabe) and Atty. Bobby Ang. Batocabe and Ang will replace Rep. Batocabe and Rep. Christopher Co, who are now on their third term.

“Of our many advocacies, our top priorities are education, irrigation, the National ID system, the Anti-Hazing Act, and mandatory PhilHealth coverage for Persons with Disabilities (PWD),” Garbin noted.

In education, for instance, Garbin said Ako Bicol is now on its eighth year of selecting a list of Ten Outstanding Students of Bicol, in the hope of giving recognition to the hard work and contribution of Bicolano students to local and national development efforts.

This, he said, is in line with the vision of the partylist, which encourages leadership, scholarship, and service.

Meantime, the other advocacies (health, community development, and inclusivity) are likewise in keeping with the partylist’s objectives, he said.

Asked what difference Ako Bicol offers in contrast with the other partylists, Garbin explained that Ako Bicol’s emphasis is not on the nominees, but on the party itself and its goals.

“We speak of advocacy, not of representation. Thus, our programs and projects reach out not only to Bicolanos but also to other Filipinos,” he said.

Since the 15th Congress, Ako Bicol aimed to unite Bicolanos to work in the development of the Bicol Region. This is through programs and projects that will combat poverty, provide adequate social services, promote full employment, guarantee social justice and full respect for human rights, recognize the sanctity of human life, improve delivery of health services, democratize access to education and training, protect the environment, enhance disaster preparedness and advance the participation of youth, women, gays and lesbians and physically-challenged individuals as well as senior citizens in nation-building.

“Again, we are hopeful and confident of the support of Bicolanos,” Garbin said.