2022 PH presidential race

Robredo’s infra plan to focus on farmers, fisherfolk, not just building edifices

Mara Cepeda

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Robredo’s infra plan to focus on farmers, fisherfolk, not just building edifices

Presidential bet and Vice President Leni Robredo discusses her 2022 platform in a press conference held at the Sorsogon City Gymnasium in Sorsogon province on October 29, 2021.

Charlie Villegas/OVP

'Dapat iyong infrastructure natin magsu-spur siya ng rural development kasi masyadong concentrated sa Metro Manila iyong development,' says presidential aspirant VP Leni Robredo

If Leni Robredo becomes the next Philippine president, she wants her infrastructure program to focus on rural development so it would have a “direct impact” on helping uplift the lives of farmers and fisherfolk in rural areas. 

The Vice President and opposition leader told reporters in Sorsogon City on Friday, October 29, that her infrastructure program would be designed in a way that it would spur rural development instead of just benefitting the so-called “Imperial Manila.”

“Dapat iyong infrastructure natin magsu-spur siya ng rural development kasi masyadong concentrated sa Metro Manila iyong development. Kailangan ilabas siya. Pero hindi siya mailalabas kung hindi natin hinanda iyong mga different provinces across the country,” said Robredo. 

(Our infrastructure should spur rural development because right now, development is so much concentrated in Metro Manila. We have to go beyond. But we wouldn’t be able to do that if we do not prepare the different provinces across the country.)

The Vice President said she would continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, but she would rather make more investments that would make it much easier for farmers and fisherfolk to cultivate and sell their goods at a higher price. 

These include building and setting up farm-to-market roads, cold storage facilities, solar dryers, and even “simple” projects like fish cages.

“So para sa akin, ipagpapatuloy natin iyong ‘Build, Build, Build,’ pero sisiguruhin natin, sisiguraduhin natin na iyong pupuntahan ng pera para sa infrastructure, mayroon itong direct impact, mayroon siyang direct impact sa pag-angat noong mga nasa laylayan,” Robredo said. 

(So for me, we would continue the “Build, Build, Build” program, but we would make sure that the money going into infrastructure projects would have a direct impact on uplifting the lives of those on the margins of society.)

The Vice President also said that beyond building or fixing roads and bridges, she also wants to address the country’s perennial mass transportation problem. 

“Okay naman iyong magdagdag tayo ng mga kalsada, pero kung hindi natin naaasikaso iyong mass transport system, iyong mga taong umaasa, iyong mga taong nagko-commute, patuloy na nahihirapan,” said Robredo. 

(It’s okay for us to add more roads, but if we are not going to fix the mass transport system, the people who are still hoping for solutions, the people who continue to commute, they would continue suffering.)

The Vice President earlier criticized the Duterte government for belittling the traffic crisis in the Philippines. 

Robredo also hit the President for his misplaced priorities in the proposed P5.024-trillion budget in 2022, as the government would rather give more funds for its big-ticket infrastructure projects instead of financing the health sector during the coronavirus pandemic. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.