MANILA – Police and military retirees, including from other uniformed services, are upbeat after their party-list group, the Philippine National Police Retirees Association Inc. (PRAI), landed at no. 19 in the ballot for the May 9, 2021 elections.
This makes the new PRAI party-list led by retired Gen. Reynaldo Velasco at a big vantage point in the party-list race, compared to the many old party-list groups participating in the election with their special concerns and missions which landed in the thick of the list consisting of 173 groups.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has printed the party-list ballots as they have to be shipped to Philippine embassies, consulates and other authorized foreign posts because some 1.7 million registered overseas Filipino voters are also to vote for the party-list group of their choice, in addition to the President, Vice President and 12 Senators.
Besides, the overseas Filipino voters will be voting earlier than those their counterparts in the Philippines, the Comelec said.
Gen. Velasco, a retired ranking officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and fellow retirees Gens. Leo Napenas and Van Luspo who lead the PRAI nominees, said that they are optimistic that with its vantage point in the ballot, the voters will choose the PRAI in the elections.
General Velasco, a war hero who is also a farmer and experienced corporate manager with a doctorate degree, declared that with the Comelec listing, the PRAI’s campaign is immensely boosted.
“With our place in the ballot at no. 19, voters in the Philippines and those abroad, PRAI will have a noticeable and pivotal position for our voters to see and select,” said Generals Velasco, Napenas and Luspo.
The bemedalled generals said the PRAI is a newcomer in the party-list election but given its advocacies for thousands of retired policemen, soldiers and others in uniformed service as well as their families, PRAI is hopeful for a well deserved performance, so that it can articulate their needs and concerns directly in the halls of Congress.
The campaign period started on February 8 for national candidates and March 25 for local bets. The last day will be on May 7, the PRAI leaders said.
Overseas Filipino voters will start voting for the party list, along with the President, Vice President and 12 Senators on April 10 until the actual election day, May 9, 2022.
Generals Velasco, Napenas and Luspo said PRAI advocates the welfare of thousands of retirees, including their families, to ensure that they get their rightful pension and other benefits, after devoting the best years of their lives maintaining peace and order and protecting the people from criminals, rebels, insurgents, separatists, kidnappers, among others.
General Velasco, who is spearheading the PRAI, is a war hero and bemedalled police and military officer who had served some years in Mindanao fighting communist insurgents, terrorists and rebels. A product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), he occupied vital positions in the PNP, including chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO). He rose to the rank of PNP Deputy Director General and served as PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and PNP Deputy Chief for Operations prior to his retirement.
Aside from police service, General Velasco’s managerial expertise include serving as Vice President of the Manila Hotel and, of late, as Chairman of the Board and Administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) during which he oversaw various projects to ensure water supply security for millions of consumers in Metro Manila and neighboring Rizal, Bulacan, Quezon, Cavite and Laguna.
With master’s degree in business administration and doctorate in security and peace administration, Gen. Velasco is expected to be a welcome addition to the House of Representatives, together with Generals Napenas and Luspo. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)