Roxas-Robredo administration: 'Consultative, participative'
MANILA, Philippines – The ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s presidential and vice presidential bets promised a “consultative” and “participative” decision-making process in government should they win in the 2016 national elections.
LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running-mate, Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, were asked about their “approach to decision-making" if elected next year, at CNN Philippines' Town Hall on Thursday, December 10.
“I'm more consultative, I've been trained to do that. My husband was also that way. It's giving a voice to so many people. I believe that the best solutions can be arrived at by listening to so many voices,” said Robredo, whose husband, the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, was known for involving civic society and peoples’ groups in governance when he was Naga City mayor.
Robredo had the same approach when she was elected representative of her district. (READ: For politicians, lessons from Jesse Robredo)
“I think that consensus building, or consultative or participative decision, making is the way to go, so you get the best ideas,” said Roxas.
The LP, one of the country’s oldest political parties, lists “participatory democracy” as among its core principles.
The current administration, led by LP chairman President Benigno Aquino III, also prides itself in supposedly listening to its "bosses," the Filipino people. Among the more concrete government programs which involve consultation is the bottom-up budgetting (BUB) program, wherein non-governmental organizations and peoples' groups have a say in which projects they want funded by the national government.
Roxas and Robredo want to increase the budget allocation for the BUB process should they win in 2016. (READ: Roxas wants P100B 'Walang Iwanan' fund for LGU, barangay projects)
While consultative governance is a priority, Roxas said making a decision rests on leaders. “At the end of the day, somebody has to make a decision, and I'm prepared to make those decisions. The easy ones won't even get to the presidency [because]...they're supposed to be attended to by the lower levels,” he said.
Roxas cited the country’s ongoing dispute against China in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) as an instance wherein the buck ultimately stops with the president.
Aquino, who is endorsing both Roxas and Robredo, pushed through with a case against China before a United Nations-back tribunal, despite the qualms of many in the country, including politicians.
Said Roxas of the case versus China: “We have to protect our territory. So the President made that decision and I would have made the same decision...of filing that case. So, you take in all the best inputs that you can, and at the end of the day, it's pass your papers time – ready or not – and you have to make that decision, and I will make those decisions.”
Roxas' critics have accused the LP standard-bearer of being an indecisive leader.
The Town Hall, the first forum where Roxas and Robredo were invited as a tandem, also featured lighter questions from audience members both online and offline.
“What are their plans if they don't win the presidency or vice presidency?” asked one Facebook user. Both Roxas and Robredo said they would return to private life.
“Nung kumandidato ako talaga, yung plano ko 3 years lang ako sa pulitika. Talagang nakalaan sa akin na magpapahinga sana after 2016 pero na-overtake ng events,” said Robredo, who is on her first term as a congresswoman.
(When I ran, the plan was to be in politics for only 3 years. The plan was really to rest after 2016 but that was overtaken by events.)
For his part, Roxas said: “Babalik din sa pribado pero parating may consciousness na kabahagi tayo. We are our brother's keeper, di ba? So hindi naman pwede na pumasok sa kuweba at magmukmok or maging malungkot na lang. Kung hindi tayo magwagi ay balik sa pribado, mas tahimik na buhay pero parating kabahagi; part of the bigger fabric."
(I’ll go back to private life but always with the consciousness of being part of something bigger. We are our brother’s keeper, right? You can’t just go inside a cave and sulk, or get depressed. If I don’t win, I’ll go back to the private sector, a more quiet life, but I’ll always be part of the bigger fabric).
What if Robredo wins, but Roxas loses?
“Sana hindi mangyari, kasi I think I will be a most effective vice president if Secretary Mar is the president (I hope that won’t happen because I think I will be a most effective vice president if Roxas is the president),” said Robredo, elicting applause from the audience, composed mostly of FEU students.
Robredo added: “When Secretary Mar was asking if I would consider being his running mate, inexplain niya sa akin kung bakit ako yung choice, kasi I was asking him bakit naman ako? Andami-daming pinagpipilian, bakit ako? Inexplain nya na ifi-fill ko yung kulang dun sa puzzle – and that is my long years of serving the grass roots saka yung local na experience.”
(When Secretary Mar was asking if I would consider being his running mate, he explained to me why I was his choice because I was asking him, why me when there are many others to choose from. He told me that I am the missing piece of the puzzle – my long years of serving the grassroots and my experience in local government.)
Although Robredo is a political neophyte, her experience in the public sector has been vast. While her husband was mayor of Naga, Robredo was part of a law firm that catered to the needs of the indigent, the poor, and farmers from the Bicol region.
It took several weeks before Robredo finally accepted Roxas' and the LP’s offer to run for vice president. In a speech during the announcement of her candidacy, Robredo said she was unable to “refuse the call to serve.”
Roxas and Robredo also have personal ties. Roxas, who was once Aquino’s transportation chief, is close friends with Robredo’s late husband, who was then interior secretary.
Roxas eventually took over the post after Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash.
The late interior secretary was also part of the Aquino-Roxas campaign in the 2010 elections, where Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay. – Rappler.com
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