MANILA, Philippines – When Leni Robredo says she would lead an honest government should she become the next Philippine president, she says she isn’t just making a candidate’s empty promise.
She says she already has the receipts or proof as incumbent Vice President now running anti-poverty and pandemic response programs that the private sector trusts to be free from corruption.
“Kaya po ‘pag sinabi kong ang ino-offer ko ay gobyernong tapat, may resibo na po ako noon. Hindi po ito, hindi po ito pangako, pero ito ay commitment na ipagpapatuloy ‘yung dati nang nasimulan,” Robredo said in a virtual sortie attended by over 650 supporters hailing from Metro Manila on Wednesday, January 19.
(That’s why when I say I’m offering an honest government, I already have the receipts. This isn’t a promise but this is a commitment to continue what I have already started.)
With the elections just four months away, the Vice President has recalibrated her campaign tagline to “Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay Lahat (Honest Government, a Better Life for All).”
It’s one of the campaign strategy changes the Robredo team has done to help narrow the gap between her and current presidential race frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Robredo said her experience running the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) relief drives is living proof that effective government response is rooted in the honesty and integrity of its leaders.
The OVP’s measly annual budget has not stopped Robredo from launching initiatives like free COVID-19 testing in high risk areas and providing care kits to positive cases who seek help from the OVP’s free teleconsultation service.
Robredo said they were also able to set up these programs because private companies trusted she would not steal the funds. In Robredo’s Angat Buhay programs, the OVP also links the private sector with communities in need.
“Nagagamit namin nang tama ‘yung kakarampot naming pera. Gustong sabihin, kaya po tayo nakakapagbigay ng maayos na COVID care kits kasi wala sa aming pera napupunta sa korupsyon. ‘Yung bawat sentimo ng budget namin, sinisiguro namin na mapupunta ‘yun para sa serbisyo ng taongbayan,” Robredo said.
(We are able to use our measly funds wisely. Meaning to say, the reason why we are able to provide proper COVID care kits is because no money goes to corruption. Every centavo is accounted for and we make sure they all go to our services to our countrymen.)
“Pangalawa, ‘pag matapat yung pamamahala, ‘yung private sector, mas inspired, mas ganadong tumulong (Secondly, one governance is honest, the private sector becomes more inspired and excited to help),” she added.
In the past years, legislators crossed party lines in realigning more funds to the OVP owing to its track record of running commendable programs despite a paltry annual budget.
Look for consistency
Robredo then went on to urge Filipinos to look beyond candidates’ promises, saying they should look at their track records instead.
She also posed a question to her opponents.
“Alam ‘nyo po, ‘pag panahon ng kampanya, gaya nung nag-Typhoon Odette, ang daming ginagawa ng iba’t ibang mga kandidato. Pero ‘yung tanong ko: Yung mga nakalipas bang bagyo, asan kayo? Yung mga nakalipas bang sakuna, asan kayo?” Robredo asked.
(You know, during the campaign season, like during Typhoon Odette, candidates do so many things to help. But my question is this: Where were you during the past typhoons? Where you during past calamities?)
The Vice President said the public should look for the “consistency” in public service of those wooing their votes.
“‘Pag sinabing consistency, anuman ang panahon, kandidato ka man hindi, may eleksyon man o wala, pareho yung pinapakita mo ng klase ng paninilbihan, dahil yun ang nasa puso po (When I talk about consistency, it means regardless of the times, whether you’re a candidate or not, whether there’s an elections or none, you’re showing the same kind of service, because that is what’s truly in your heart),” she added.
Robredo has improved her voter preference rating in the December 2021 Pulse Asia survey, rising to 20% from her 6% to 8% rating in mid-2021. But she was a distant second to Marcos, the pacesetter among all presidential bets at 53%. – Rappler.com
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