LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – A new breed of regional political party formed in Bicol by businessmen and former government officials as an alternative political party seeks new and young leaders in the region.
With the slogan “Bicolanong Buronyog, Rehiyong Makusog” (United Bicolanos, Strong Region), Kusog Bicolandia was formed on July 16 by former mediaman-turned-businessman Noel De Luna of Wellconstruct, Inc.
De Luna, chairman of Kusog Bicolandia, said the organization aims to champion genuine social equality, where every Bicolano shall be given access to the same basic needs: quality health services, education, livelihood, emergency assistance, pension and shelter (HELPS).
Earlier, De Luna declared his intension to run for a vice gubernatorial post in Albay in the 2019 midterm local elections but backed out and abandoned his plan to run in the local elections after the Duterte administration pushed the federalism form of government..
Lawyer Jorge V. Sarmiento, president of Kusog Bicolandia, officially introduced the group to the public in the 1st Bicol All Media Convergence held at Casablanca Convention Center in Legazpi City.
Though its chairman Noel De Luna was not present in the event, the officers across the 6 provinces of Bicol attended the event to formally present themselves to the public.
“We are a new political organization but we’re experienced and accomplished men in private and government service pushing for political reform but open for alliances,” Sarmiento said in an interview here.
Sarmiento, who served the government in several administrations, said Kusog Bicolandia will scout young members from provinces and cities, and as far as the barangay level.
When asked why Kusog Bicolandia is unique as a regional political party, Sarmiento said that the party is new and formed by experienced, accomplished, and hardworking people in various fields of discipline who are pushing for genuine political reform in the region.
The party adheres to protecting nature, and believes the patriotic sense of the party is an indispensable requirement for them to serve the common good and the interest of Bicol by endeavouring to be self-reliant.
The party also espouses development values, participative governance, and local government autonomy without sacrificing nationalism.
"We shall also endeavour to institutionalize political reforms by developing and training potential regional and sectoral leaders, with emphasis on youth, who will nurture Filipino and Bicolano traits, values and morality in public office,” the Kusog Bicolandia president said
Making up the party
The organization is a regional political party of Bicolanos whose roots come from the 6 provinces of Bicol, namely Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate, as well as those who may have settled in other places where Bicolano communities flourish.
Majority of its members are professionals and businessmen who are looking to radically change the political landscape of the Bicol region.
They will be posting local candidates from 6 provinces of the Bicol region in the 2019 polls.
De Luna is from Albay and Camarines Sur while his groupmates, lawyers Jorge Sarmiento and Robert Rafael Lucila, are from Catanduanes and Albay, respectively.
Sarmiento was a former head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), a former Postmaster-General, and a former Undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).
Lucila was former deputy executive secretary in Malacanang and is currently the head of the legal department of GMA Network. – Rappler.com