Leni Robredo

‘We need Leni’– Visayas business leader

Inday Espina-Varona
‘We need Leni’– Visayas business leader

RELIEF. The Negros Youth for Leni convinced peers across the island to volunteer for repacking and distribution operations in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

Negros Youth for Leni

Business leader says the next President should be hard-working, with a quick learning curve, and experience as an executive working with all kinds of local government units

The challenges facing the Philippines for the rest of the decade will need a chief executive like Vice President Leni Robredo, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for the Visayas told Rappler on Monday, January 24. 

In a phone interview, Frank Carbon said, “We really need Leni.”

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and two years of lockdowns have slashed many companies’ incomes by half and forced smaller firms to close shop, Carbon said.

“In September last year, Bacolod’s economic activity was down to 30% and almost half of the labor force lost their jobs,” he pointed out. 

With the Philippines just on the cusp of recovery, Carbon said the next President should be hard-working, with a quick learning curve, and experience as an executive working with all kinds of local government units.

“In the next three, four, five, or six years, we need an efficient, hands-on President,’ he told Rappler. “We really need Leni there. She is the best (of the pack).”

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for the Visayas Frank Carbon, from a zoom interview in August 2021.

Carbon said entrepreneurs also want a leader with a good track record of dealing with business and someone with a reputation for honesty and integrity.

Asked about the December 2021 Pulse Asia survey results showing Ferdinand Marcos Jr. well ahead of Robredo nationwide, including the Visayas, and the leading choice of more than half of the ABC classes, Carbon said his views  come from consultations with small and big business owners across the Visayas and Bacolod.

In Negros Occidental, where Robredo trounced Marcos in the 2016 vice presidential race, there has been a surge of attention on the namesake of the tyrant who ruled the Philippines for two decades.

It is largely fueled by pro-Marcos social media groups and pages that continuously harp on three themes.

The first, that the martial law era was a golden time for the Philippines; the second, that junior inherited the brilliance of his father — although his past claims of academic achievement have been debunked and even the senior Marcos’ allies are skeptical of his executive abilities; and third, mythical sources of the Marcos clan’s wealth.

Most Negros Occidental mayors came out openly for Marcos, Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in December 2021.

But at least two, who asked not to be named for now, said they are wavering on Marcos because of pressure from constituents and family members.

“I get it daily from the wife and children,” said the mayor of a southern town in Negros Occidental. “And from the women of my town.”

The AB economic sector in the province is split, with the two leading sugar planter federations supporting different candidates. The leadership of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNIFED) is batting for Marcos while many in the Confederation Of Sugar Producers Cooperative are for Robredo. – Rappler.com