ILOILO CITY - The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Iloilo) has elected its new set of officers and board of trustees in its recent 12th Chapter Congress held last August 14, 2010 at the Nes N’ Tats Restaurant in Iloilo City.

Members of the campaigns and advocacy organization unanimously elected Ted Aldwin E. Ong as its new chairperson which paves the way for a smooth turn-over of leadership from Atty. Romeo P. Gerochi, who was elected and re-elected to the position since 2003.

He is the third chairperson of FDC since the group's re-organization in Iloilo in the late 1990’s. The position was previously held by Ian M. Seruelo, Atty. Romeo P. Gerochi, and then Ong.

In the last 10-years, Ong held various positions in the organization and acted as its secretary-general until the recent election.

From 2004 to 2006, Ong served as coordinator of the Iloilo Coalition of Non-Government Organizations and People’s Organizations (ICON).

At one time or another, Ong has had involvement with various volunteer non-government organizations in Iloilo like the Volunteer Organizations, Information, Coordination, and Exchange (Voice), Alliance of Social Workers, Welfare and Development Advocates for Integrated Services and Nationalism (Asin), Halad Media Collective, and Social Watch.  

He is also a member of the Iloilo Mount Baloy Lions Club, Iloilo River Boat Club, Katulong ng Bayan, the Global Legal Action on Climate Change, and the Labor Party of the Philippines.

Ong, likewise, occupies board of director position in Partners Foundation and the Iloilo Caucus of Development NGO’s.

The newly-elected chairperson of FDC-Iloilo is also recognized for his mass media involvement being an opinion writer in numerous local newspapers like the Visayas Daily Headlines, Visayan Tribune, the defunct Daily Informer, and Sun.Star-Iloilo until the closure of the paper’s print version in 2008.

His column Misreadings has re-emerged in the opinion page of the News Today as one of its new columnist. He is also the program coordinator of the daily morning radio program Kalingawan, Balita, kag Lapdusanay sa Impormasyun kag Isyu aired over Z-100 FM and co-anchor of the Sunday morning program “Katulong ng Bayan sa Radyo Budyong”.   

In a message, lawyer Romeo P. Gerochi expressed appreciation on the unwavering support extended by the chapter officers and members on his leadership and vowed to continue his crusade against the abuses of power utilities like Panay Electric Company in his capacity as FDC’s legal counsel in the Iloilo Chapter, the Visayas, and the National Capital Region.

Gerochi wittingly re-assured the group by emphasizing that “my legal intervention initiatives has no retirement age.”

“My involvement with FDC is definitely among the most productive and the best years of my life and I have confidence with the new set of officers as we aim to continue upholding the principles we stood for which has united us all these years in our advocacy work,” said Gerochi.  

Among the newly-elected officers are: Mary Jane Homena, vice-chairperson (Akbayan People’s Party); Vophi Pendon, secretary-general (former youth leader of the Iloilo Students’ Alliance for Nature and Development); Linda De Los Reyes, treasurer, (Alliance of Hibao-an Mandurriao Jeepney Owners Association, Inc.); and, Helen Mationg (Partners Foundation).

Elected members of the board of trustees represent the different sectors of society, such as: urban poor, labor, farmers & fisherfolks, political bloc, women, youth, transport, cooperatives, non-government organizations, and individuals. -30-

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