SIlently, efficiently, effectively.
AP Party-list showed how the party-list system—openly criticized by some to be abolished in recent years for being prone to abuse—can be a driving force for true nation-building.
The pandemic highlighted various problems the Philippines was in dire need to address swiftly.
Ako’y Pilipino Party-list, or AP Partylist for short, worked harder in hard times and saw these crippling problems Filipinos faced especially in the transport and jobs creation sector when the pandemic hit.
“Nagtrabaho ang team namin during the pandemic, hindi kame nag-stay at home,” said Ronnie Ong, AP Party-list 1st nominee during a virtual interview with Manila Standard.
Recognized this year as one of PeopleAsia’s “Men Who Matter,” Ong has always worked above and beyond his call of duty. While a newcomer, he’s been known inside and outside of Congress not only to push for legislation, but to also mirror these proposed laws with tangible programs and projects.
A sudden pandemic brought upon the country needed out-of-the-box solutions and so, since the very first ECQ, Rep. Ronnie and his team were out on the streets to bring hygiene and care packs to various communities. After that came one project after another for their #COVID19Bayanihan projects namely: “Libreng Gulay,” “Libreng Sakay,” “Libreng Bisikleta,” “Libreng E-Tablets,” and “E-skwela Hub E-learning Centers.”
“And unlike sa ibang party-list na lumalabas lang ngayon dahil campaign period, tayo from day 1 na nagstart ang lockdown nasa labas tayo everyday, and thats our track record,” he added.
Ong, 51, who also served as a representative for another party list in the 18th Congress, chose to lead AP Party-list in a bid to help more Filipinos recover from the effects of the pandemic as well as address gut issues immediately.
During the MS Loop interview, Ong shared how AP Party-list wants to represent everyday commuters, workers in the transportation industry, senior citizens, PWDs, farmers, fisherfolk, and other marginalized sectors.
Ong also mentioned that he wants to improve the PWD system (Person with Disabilities) as several people have abused this right. He also cited House Bill 5362 for the senior citizens who would like to continue working and give incentives to the companies who accept senior citizens as employees. He also noted the help of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as they have given several jobs for senior citizens in airports, universities and hospitals.
Moreover, AP Party-list wants to push for a one-stop-shop Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) center for every region in the Philippines to eradicate the trouble every OFW have to go through, hopping from one place to another just to settle important documents for their pre-employment requirements.
Ong, also a staunch animal welfare advocate and loving fur parent, iterated that the Animal Welfare Act needs to have more teeth to punish individuals who are cruel to animals especially those caught mistreating stray cats and dogs.
Alongside Yassi Pressman, Ong vowed to support the initiatives of PAWSsion Project to adopt stray animals and provide their needs especially food.
“We wanted to focus on transportation and job creation. Namulat mata namin dito sa pandemic na ang dami pa natin kailangan gawin,” he said.
Backed by a star-studded list of A-list celebrities which includes Pressman, Julia Montes, and Coco Martin, Ong said that the latter even echoed the party-list’s mission in serving the Filipino on a recent trip with the Actor in Cebu.
“Sabi nga ni Coco sa’ken, ‘Ron, hindi na tayo pang-probinsya lang, pang buong Pilipinas na ang kailangan natin tulungan. Dahil buong Pilipinas apektado, kahit sino ka man, ano man pinanggalingna mo, lahat may pinagdaanan na problema ngayong pandemya,’” Ong shared.
Asked where he draws inspiration to serve beyond the call of duty, Ong said AP Party-list is grateful to the everyday Filipino they meet and interact with, noting that this is the true meaning of public service.
“I draw inspiration from the people we meet every day. They give us strength and purpose to help more, minsan nakaka-frustrate that you want to help more but you don’t have enough time and resources to help them, tiyaga lang talaga, work lang nang work.”
For a final pitch to earn their vote, Ong reiterated their track record of service during the pandemic, long before any campaign period, doing so without any fuss and anything in return.
“Why AP? Very simple, nagtrabaho kame at nagtatrabaho kame. Hindi pa panahon ng kampanya nagtatrabaho na kame,” Ong said.
“Alam namin ang importance ng boto ng Pilipino sa amin, and we have to really earn it. Hopefully we were able to earn it in the past three years kase wala kaming tigil sa pagtrabaho at pagtulong sa tao.”