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The founder of Ako Bisdak Party-List has urged the people of Central Visayas to vote all party-lists in Region 7 to bring influence in Congress in passing laws to fast tract economic recovery and promote health.

Retired Rear Admiral Ernesto “Eboy” Enriquez of the Philippine Navy (PN) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that it is now time for the Central Visayas people to unite and vote all Visayan-based party-lists to maximize representations in the House of Representatives.

Enriquez, Ako Bisdak secretary general and number one nominee, said that in Cebu alone, there are at least three party-lists, namely: Ako Bisdak Party-List, TUCP Party-List of Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza and Ako Bisaya of Rep. Sonny Lagon. There is a coming fourth which he did not mention.

The second nominee of Ako Bisdak is Virgilio “Dodong” Mendez, former director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), former state auditor of the Commission on Audit (COA) and incumbent mayor of San Miguel, Bohol.

“He (Mendez) is a dedicated public servant and has an untainted record in public service,” Enriquez said.

The third nominee is Architect Rommel Gavieta of Guimbal, Iloilo and an official of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).

In the 2019 elections, Ako Bisdak got only 51,000 votes, while TUCP and Ako Bisaya got only one congressional seat each. It’s because Cebu voters voted party-lists based in Luzon and Mindanao which they didn’t know, and who did not bother to help them at this time of economic crisis as a result of the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Since Cebu has about three million voters as per records at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and only 200,000 votes are needed for one seat in Congress, the Cebuanos can send nine to twelve congressmen to the House of Representatives, three each for Ako Bisdak, TUCP and Ako Bisaya, and another party-list which he did not divulge because it is still being fimalized. If that is added to the eleven district congressmen in Cebu, the Cebuanos will have a total of 20 to 23 congressmen who will represent them in Congress in the next term, 2022 to 2025,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez was born inside Camp Lapu-Lapu in Lahug given that his father was an officer of the Philippine Army (PA). But he, his parents and siblings lived in Punta Princesa, Cebu City since 1964. He was baptized at Lourdes Shrine. His mother was a teacher in Labangon Elementary School. His parents hail from Carcar City, and the towns of Barili and Sibonga in Cebu. He finished elementary education at Punta Princesa Elementary School and completed high school at Abellana National High School Batch ’78.

He graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Batch ’84 and has served in the Philippine Navy, AFP for 38 years. He retired from the service with a rank of rear admiral.

During his stint in the AFP, Enriquez finished a Master’s Degree at Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in 1992;  a Master’s Degree at Kings College in London, United Kingdom in 2006; and with special trainings and programs in the United States, Australia and England.

After he retired from the service in 2018, he, together with his batch mates at Abellana National High School formed Ako Bisdak to represent several sectors in Congress.

The Ako Bisdak’s platforms include Cultural Re-Integration, Infrastructure Connectivity, Economic Connectivity, and Tax Reform.

In cultural re-integration, Enriquez said all voters in the Visayas (Regions 6,7 and 8), numbering approximately 10.1 million, shall vote as one and only for party-lists located in the Visayas.

“It’s nice to hear a strong and united Visayan block in Congress that can initiate public debates in issues that will promote the welfare of the people,” Enriquez said.

In infrastructure connectivity, the government must construct bridges that will connect all provinces in the Visayas like the Cordova, Cebu-Getafe, Bohol Bridge and Santander, Cebu-Amlan, Negros Oriental Bridge. This will reduce time, money and effort in transporting goods and people.

In economic connectivity, the government must be a trade facilitator among provinces, especially in tourism and agriculture to improve the living condition of the people.

In tax reform, Enriquez said the Tax Code of the Philippines shall be amended so that business firms must pay taxes to the localities where they are making business.