MANILA, Philippines – The sun was just starting to rise but the eldest daughter of Vice President Leni Robredo was already up and about to help boost her mother’s bid for the presidency in 2022.
Garbed in a pink polo shirt with an embroidered “L” in blue on her right chest, Aika Robredo spent her Wednesday morning, December 1, serving hot bowls of lugaw or rice porridge to hundreds of indigent residents of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City.
This was how Aika spent her “Kakampink” Wednesday, that time of the week when the Vice President’s supporters wear pink and do various relief drives to promote her candidacy in 2022.
Hundreds of kilometers away, Robredo was barnstorming in parts of Catanduanes.
As residents scooped up lugaw from their bowls, Aika said there is only one thing she can promise on behalf of her mom: that Robredo would listen to them. This is based on her experience as her daughter and her observation of Robredo’s interaction with various sectors.
“Ako po wala sa posisyon para magbigay ng kung anuman ‘yung ipapangako ng nanay ko kung siya ay mahalal. Siguro po ‘yung isang bagay lang na puwede kong ma-promise sa inyo is parati siyang makikinig sa inyo,” said Aika.
(I’m not in any position to give anything that my mother would promise if she were elected. The only thing I can promise you is that she would always listen to you.)
Aika then seemed to allude to recent criticisms hurled at her mother – from Robredo’s snub of the leftist Neri Colmenares in her Senate slate, to her more tempered position towards the mandate of the government’s notorious red-tagging anti-communist task force.
“Meron tayong iba-ibang hindi pagkakaintindihan or hindi napagkakasunduan. Pero yung 100% na pangako ko po is parati kayong kasama kapag ginagawa ‘yung plano. Kasi sa inyo po ito at hindi ito sa kanya lang,” said Aika.
(We may have different positions or disagreements. But what I can promise you 100% is that you would always be included when plans are being drafted. Because this campaign is about you and not just for her.)
Aika also assured the crowd, many of whom are mothers themselves, that Robredo would take care of them much like how they would look after their own children.
“Natutuwa po akong makita na napakaraming nanay ‘yung nandito. Kasi minsan sinasabi nila, ‘di ba, na ang babae daw, mahina? Ang nanay daw, nasa bahay lang. Pero ako po, bilang anak, ‘di ba pag may problema tayo, ‘yung unang tinatakbuhan natin parati ‘yung nanay?” said Aika.
(I am so happy to see so many mothers here today. Because sometimes people say women are weak, right? That a mother should just be at home. But for me, speaking as a daughter, don’t we always run to our mothers whenever we have problems?)
“At sa tingin ko po, marami tayong problema ngayon – may COVID at napakarami pang iba – tingin ko ‘yung may pinakamaayos na unang tatakbuhan din natin para sa ating solusyon, ay nanay din,” she added.
(And I think that, now that we have a lot of problems – we have COVID and so much more – I think the best person for us to turn to for solutions is a mother as well.)
Immersed in community work
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the feeding program, Aika said her mother’s edge over other presidential bets is her immersion in communities, where Robredo has worked for years as a pro-bono human rights lawyer before her first foray into politics in 2013.
“Kung mayroong lamang iyong nanay ko sa ibang katunggali niya, na kahit matagal na siya bago pa nasa pulitika, talagang babad na siya sa ground. Sanay siyang makinig, sanay siyang kasama iyong lahat ng katrabaho niya sa plano. Kumbaga, talagang involved lahat ng sektor na gusto niyang tulungan,” Aika said.
If my mother has an edge over her opponents, it’ss that long before she entered politics, she had already been immersed on the ground. She is used to listening, she is used to having all the people she’s working with in making her plans. The sectors she wants to help are always involved in the process.)
Aika’s words echo the campaign message of the Vice President, who has repeatedly said that her bid for Malacañang isn’t for herself, but for all Filipinos aching for change in 2022.
The past weeks have also seen the rise of the bottom-up, volunteer-led movement backing Robredo’s presidential bid, with people from all walks of life spending their own money to help amplify the Vice President’s message in 2022.
Aika and her siblings Tricia and Jillian, a student at New York University, are expected to represent Robredo in various events to help cover more ground during the 2022 campaign period. – Rappler.com