Robredo urges Filipinos to emulate late husband amid pandemic: He never gave up
MANILA, Philippines — If the life of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has a message for Filipinos living through the current pandemic, it is to never lose hope and never stop fighting.
That was the reminder given by Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, August 18, which coincides with the eighth death anniversary of her husband, Jesse.
According to the Vice President, the fight against the COVID-19 crisis could be a long game, but one that the country’s officials and citizens should never give up.
“This can be a long and lonely struggle, lalo na ngayon. Lagi kong pinapaalala sa mga kasama ko sa opisina pag nawawalan ng saysay ‘yung ginagawa: long game ito,” Robredo said in an online speech for the launching of Jesse Robredo Institute for Leadership and Good Governance.
“‘Yung mga set backs ay temporary. Kaya dapat, laban lang nang laban. Ganoon si Jesse. Kapit lang nang kapit,” she stressed.
Jesse died in 2012 in a plane crash, when a Piper Seneca plane carrying him from Cebu City to his hometown Naga suffered engine failure near Masbate. Eventually, it was discovered that pilot error led to the crash off Masbate’s shorelines.
Jesse, touted as one of the country’s officials exhibiting exemplary leadership, was a longtime mayor of Naga City. During his stint as mayor, he and the city got several recognitions for increased accountability and transparency, so much that the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism ran a story that focuses on his body of work.
And Robredo believes that her husband’s ability is not a monopoly, best exemplified in how some local government chiefs are shining for their approach towards the ongoing health crisis.
“Karaniwan naman sa local officials iyong talagang nagtatrabaho nang maayos for their constituents, gaya ng pamimigay ng food packs and other assistance sa mga mahihirap. Pero nakikita natin ngayon, ‘yung mga nag-shine talaga na local officials, ‘yung mga willing to take risks. Those who innovated, those who were willing not to go with the flow,” Robredo said.
“Those who were hands-on and were immersed in the day-to-day operations. Those who acted with speed. Pero ito, magagawa mo lang, kung talagang babad ka talaga sa ibaba. If you are willing to get your hands dirty. Hindi kasi ito kayang… hindi ito kayang ma-delegate,” she added.
Robredo has been vocal about the government’s shortcomings when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, solving some of the problems like free transportation and dormitories for frontliners, the lack of personal protective equipment for health workers, and donation drives to sustain distance learning.
Notably, the Vice President has also garnered support from various circles, as her office’s efforts came through partnerships with the private sector and other private individuals.
“These extraordinary times ask too much of us, but now more than ever, the world needs extraordinary people to take on the task. As leaders who face challenges almost every day, parang second nature na sa atin ang maghanap ng paraan para malagpasan ang mga ito,” she noted.
“Kaya ang paalala ko lagi: Humugot ng lakas sa isa’t isa. Look outward, seek out problems that need fixing, so that we can move our nation forward. Gaya [ng sinasabi] ni Jesse noong buhay pa siya, every difficulty is actually an opportunity to do more good,” she added.[ac]
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