Alpha Phi Omega, the country's largest collegiate service fraternity, has scored Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) chief Butch Belgica for labeling it as one of the 'most destructive gangs in Metro Manila."
Magleo V. Adriano, national president of the Alpha Phi Omega, said the media attack of Belgica is "malicious," describing the PAOCC commissioner's tagging as "based on ignorance."
Alpha Phi Omega has no community chapter and only accepts members
from colleges and universities, contrary to the mistaken belief of Belgica, he added.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the press release and subsequent statements in radio of PAOCC Commissioner Butch Belgica categorizing the Alpha Phi Omega as one of the destructive gangs in Metro Manila that should be monitored by the mayors and the police," Adriano said in a statement.
"Coming from a government official charged with the investigative powers, Commissioner Belgica is apparently ignorant of the true nature of Alpha Phi Omega, which counts among its numbers no less than the former US President William Jefferson Clinton and the present Defense Secretary, Robert Gates," he added.
"Alpha Phi Omega was founded on December 16, 1925 at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, as a service-oriented fraternity and presently exists in more than 600 campuses in the United States as the only collegiate service fraternity. Following the same principles of leadership, friendship and service, the Alpha Phi Omega was organized in the Philippines on March 2, 1950 and has chapters in more than 300 campuses in the Philippines. It has been duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-stock, non-proft service organization since 1990," Adriano stressed.
"Alpha Phi Omega does not and has never made it official policy to recruit members who are not college students at the time of their entry into the organization. It has more than 100 alumni associations organized along collegiate chapter, professional and territorial lines. However, these alumni associations are not and cannot accept members as only college students may become members. A cursory check with the SEC would have amply shown this Belgica. Moreover, its leadership strictly adheres to a 'no hazing' policy," he explained.
"Alpha Phi Omega takes pride that through the years, it has already institutionalized its numerous service projects such as building houses for the poor with Gawad Kalinga, Trees for Peace and Coastal Bay Clean-ups with the Department of Enviornment and Natural Resources (DENR) and various local government units (LGUs) and other agencies, and blood-letting programs with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC). In fact, APO has been recognized by the PNRC as its No. 2 donor, next only to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Aside from these institutionalized service projects, we conduct on a regular basis surgical, medical, ophthalmic and dental services for many communities that need them. In furtherance of the peace effort, APO has espoused the 'Yes for Peace' project which has been endorsed by Archbishop Lagdameo, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)," Adriano asserted.
"As such, Alpha Phi Omega International (Phils.), Inc. considers the statement of PAOCC Commissioner Butch Belgica highly malicious and irresponsible, which merely manifests his utter ignorance and incompetence in undertaking investigative work, which ought to be the primary competence of a public official charged with the function of differentiating between a service organization amd 'gangs' or organized crime syndicates. Commissioner Belgica's qualification as a reformed convict does not and should not give him license to issue statements which not only maligns legitimate and law-abiding organizations but merely deflects government attention from more pressing problems like weeding out widespread corruption in its ranks and the criminal syndicates which feed on such menace. Commissioner Belgica's call for a witchhunt merely discredits the institution that he serves and maligns not only Alpha Phi Omega but also its countless members who have toiled through the years to insure that they will be a credit to the organization whose ideals and principles they have imbibed in college and continue to pursue in their professions," the APO statement concluded.