"It's Samartime" for An Waray representative
By Ninfa B Quirante
Catbalogan City (13 September) -- Partylist An Waray representative along with two other nominees faced the Samar media in an interaction ala 'Samartime'.
The presscon at Tony's Kitchen gathered some twenty media members who asked the three nominees questions from the number of votes to their projects physical, structural and even legislative.
Representative Florencio "Bembem" Noel with Atty. Michelle Mendiola and Benedict Montejo answered the no-holds barred interview from Samar media.
Noel recounted their ordeal until the party was awarded one seat in congress and his oath-taking on September 4, 2007, some three months after others have taken oath.
He added that they were banking on the Waray-waray populace scattered all over the country, it turned out that the party only got 321,600 votes. The number of votes qualified them for only one seat.
Noel said that he was the 238th congressman who took oath. The chamber needs some 250 representatives.
Noel attributed the low votes to the low awareness of the voting populace about the party-list system. He said that although there is an increase in the awareness level, still a higher level of awareness has to be achieved. Many voters still neglect to fill the partylist blank in the ballots.
The representative vowed to help COMELEC in the information dissemination on the PartyList systsm if needed.
With the P70M pork barrel entitled to every congressman, the two other P70M which should have gone to "An Waray' had it won two more seats would have benefited more Waray-waray said the trio.
Noel said that his party will focus more on the coconut and fishery sector to help Samarenos focus on their livelihood.
His office is also keen on studying the Fisheries Act which he thinks needs assessment and amendments.
Montejo on the other hand said they will hire a consultant who can best study the situation in Eastern Visayas and recommend programs for implementation.
Noel also took pride in being recognized as Best Performing PartyList in the last congress. (PIA-Samar) [top]