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Groups hold Albay ‘1Sambayan’ launch

By Mar S. Arguelles

Bicolano convenors launched on Monday, July 12 in Albay 1Sambayan, a pro-democracy coalition aimed to endorse a unified opposition slate for the May 2022 national election.

Lawyer Howard Calleja, a member of the national 1Sambayan convenors in a virtual launching ceremony, said the coalition organizer will consult with the Bicolanos and hold aggressive information and education campaign on good governance.

Calleja said the education campaign will likewise gather the public sentiments, views and feelings on the potential political leaders they would want to support in next year upcoming presidential and national election.

He said the Bicol region has been tagged ever since as an opposition bailiwick because of this 1Sambayan will offer the Bicolanos a better choice of leaders with unquestionable integrity and honesty in governance.

Calleja said, “let us put an end to this kind of governance where government funds are squandered.”

Heidi Mendoza, former Commission on Audit (COA) commissioner who shared her thoughts at the virtual launch, has urged the public to join the coalition saying “magkaisa at magsamasama tayo at sugpuin ang pagkalat ng dilim na lumalamon sa ating bansa dulot ng corruption at maling pagpatakbo ng ating bansa ng kasalukuyang administration.”

1Sambayan has already organized 43 local chapters in the country in coalition with Bayan Muna, Makabayan Bloc, Magdalo, and other sectors, Calleja said.

Lawyer TaiKee Calleja, Albay 1Sambayan convenor head, in an interview said the launching in Albay was the first of its series of activities in Bicol, “we will launch similar activities in other Bicol provinces by the end of the month.”

1Sambayan coalition in Bicol includes the support of the Bicol Ecumenical Council, Bicol University Student Council, Bicol Lawyers Group, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, and groups from the business, academe, and youth sectors.

Mila Ombao, cultural and human rights defender of Gabriela Bicol, said “we will fully support the coalition as a united front against a common enemy --- the Duterte administration candidates.”

Lawyer Keith Ajero of the Albay lawyers group has pledged their support saying, “we are on standby and willing and ready to render our legal services.”

Calleja, the Albay convenor head, said that as an initial activity they would hold town hall meetings to formulate a systematic process in selecting potential national candidates with vision and political platforms with a centerpiece program on good governance, integrity, honesty, and transparency.

He said to boost its campaign, 1Sambayan Albay will use as a communication channel, social media, online conferencing, webinars, and direct people’s consultation to solicit a unified opposition slate for the May 2022 elections.

Calleja said the national convenors have an initial of 27 names of probable candidates for the national elections that would undergo selection process and that they are still open for other nominees.

The list includes VP Leni Robredo, Eddie Villanueva, former Senator Antonio Trillanes, Sen. Grace Poe, Chel Diokno, and Vilma Santos-Recto. The other nominees are interested to run for sdeats in the Senate.

Calleja said the national convenor hopes to complete its selection process before October this year in time for the filing of candidacy.

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