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Robredo on Duterte Year 1: A mix of achievements and shortcomings

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo refused to grade President Rodrigo Duterte's first year in office, but said that his administration, like her office, had its shares of achievements and shortcomings. 

"Palagay ko unfair naman kay Pangulo kung ako iyong magge-grade sa kanya. Basta iyong sa akin, maraming magagandang ginawa, marami ding pagkukulang," Robredo said in a chance interview on Friday, June 30. 

(It's unfair for me to give the President a grade. For me, there are a lot of good things done but there are also shortcomings.) 

June 30 marks the first year since Duterte and Robredo took their oaths of office in separate events – a first in recent Philippine history. 

Asked about the government's shortcomings, Robredo simply said that current efforts would not suffice because of the range of the problems the country is facing.

"Marami namang pagkukulang parati iyong pamahalaan. Sa dami ng pangangailangan ng ating kababayan talagang kahit gaano kasipag siguro, kahit gaano kadami iyong itinutulong, parating kulang," she said. 

(The government will always have shortcomings. Given all the needs of our countrymen, even the most diligent of officials, even if they give all the help they can, all this will never be enough.) 

Relationship with the President

The Vice President, who has been subject to attacks by pro-Duterte and pro-Marcos groups since the current administration started, said her office will continue to extending help to other national agencies. 

Robredo cited her anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, as a complement to the resources and services of the line agencies.

The relationship between Duterte and Robredo has hit the rough road during their first year in office. The President earlier hesitated to give her a position in the Cabinet so as not to hurt the feelings of his friend, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, whom Robredo defeated in the elections. 

Months later, the President finally gave Robredo the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairmanship, but then asked her to stop attending Cabinet meetings 5 months after. Robredo resigned. Duterte has accused her of plotting against him with her party mates from the Liberal Party – something that Robredo denies.

The two highest officials also faced impeachment threats in their first 12 months in office.

More communities to visit

Asked to assess her performance, Robredo acknowledged she too had limitations during the first year, given her office's meager budget.

While her office has reached out to poor communities across the country, there are still many areas that have not been tapped. 

"Dahil wala namang pondo iyong opisina namin para sa pagpapagawa ng proyekto, bawat baba namin may partners kaming kasama," she said. 

(Because our office has no funds for projects, we rely on partners to help us whenever we go to communities.) 

"Sa susunod na taon ganoon pa rin iyong gagawin, lalo sigurong papaigtingin, mas lalong sisipagan sa paghanap ng partners," she added. (Next year, we will scale up our efforts to look for partners.) 

Robredo's Angat Buhay program works by linking up private companies with local government units in need of assistance. Currently, the program workswith 127 local government units and over 300 partners. This translates to 36,046 individuals and 22,275 families, with almost P52.72 million worth of resources. 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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