Gutierrez: Admin execs got higher ratings than Robredo due to communication machinery
MANILA, Philippines — The trust and approval ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo are lower than other government officials because she does not have the administration’s communication infrastructure, her spokesperson admitted on Tuesday.
According to lawyer Barry Gutierrez, their camp was hitting a “disinformation wall,” and aside from not having the machinery to spread what Robredo was working on, the Vice President was also being targeted by trolls on social media.
He stressed during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel that Robredo has been working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, but her efforts are often left unseen by many — in contrast to government projects, like the provision of social aid, which will always be attributed to the administration as a whole.
“I think the problem is more with respect to people finding out, or getting informed about what the Vice President is doing. Unlike the administration—the President, for example—where clearly, you know, millions of Filipinos will be able to receive financial assistance from their local governments, and it will be attributed to the administration as a whole,” Gutierrez said.
“The VP does not have that particular luxury. And since we don’t really have access to the same level of communications infrastructure as Malacañang, and we are under constant attack by trolls and other people who persist in spreading fake news online about the VP, we’re really hitting a disinformation wall and we have to deal with that every day that we are striving to work for the Filipino public,” he added.
As he was thanking Filipinos after President Rodrigo Duterte got the high trust and approval ratings in a Pulse Asia survey — 91 percent approval and trust rating — presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also noted that Robredo’s ratings were farther down.
In the same survey, Robredo only managed a 57-percent approval rating and a 50-percent trust rating, good for fourth among the heads of government branches — below Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Roque speculated that maybe, Filipinos do not want officials engaging in politicking or working for self-serving political gains during the pandemic. Administration officials in the past have accused Robredo of criticizing the government and giving out suggestions on how to manage the health crisis, just to score political points.
However, Gutierrez noted on Monday that Robredo’s lack of a political motive is basically why people are still supportive of the Vice President.
Gutierrez said that Robredo’s current scores were not bad, considering that her ratings did not fall off from previous surveys even before the pandemic. However, he stressed that these issues do not concern the Vice President.
“But as I said, this is not really a concern that the Vice President prioritizes. She does not really spend any money at all to promote herself on social media,” Gutierrez explained.
“What is important for her is that she does the work, she is able to help actual people on the ground, and, you know, so long as there are actually people who benefit from the interventions that the OVP has pushed for—whether it’s shuttle services, whether it’s personal protective equipment for hospitals or any of the other initiatives that we have pushed for—then she’s happy,” he added.
Despite the low ratings, many people in social media and even those in government have lauded Robredo and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for spearheading various programs during the pandemic, while operating on a small budget.
OVP launched several initiatives like raising donations for the purchase of health workers’ personal protective equipment (PPEs), COVID-19 testing kits, offered free shuttles and dormitories for frontliners, aside from giving hot meals to various locally stranded individuals.
Meanwhile, the administration’s response has been tagged by some sectors as lacking, especially as the country now is inside the top 20 countries with most coronavirus infections. [ac]
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