Asked where she’d focus if she were president, Robredo says trust, accountability
MANILA, Philippines — Anyone including Vice President Leni Robredo would find it difficult to explain, in a limited time, the things she would have done if she were this country’s president.
But according to Robredo, a presidency with her on the helm may focus on the same things that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has done — earning public trust, evaluating and gauging their projects, and ensuring accountability.
In an online forum hosted by the University of the Philippines’s National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) on Friday, Robredo was asked by former senator Joey Lina how would she have handled the country’s corruption and social inequality — especially since she is “a step away” from the presidency.
And since there was not much time, Robredo opted to talk in “symbols.”
“But you know, Senator Joey, because we don’t have enough time, I feel like symbols are very important […] I will give you very specific examples of what we’re doing at the Office of the Vice President. Because as I was saying earlier, trust is our currency,” Robredo told the online crowd.
“We don’t have a lot of mandate, we don’t have a lot of resources, so we will have to depend on private partnerships for us to be able to do many of the things that we wanted to do. But because trust is our only currency, we work very hard towards that trust,” she added.
Robredo relayed some of the initiatives that OVP has done — from doing ISO Certification and getting consistent high remarks from the Commission on Audit, to engaging private sector partners to mitigate their small budget.
She also mentioned Angat Buhay projects, OVP’s anti-poverty program, to educate people about gender equality and women empowerment, and other programs including those which were crafted to form part of the COVID-19 response.
“But you know, because of the limited mandate and resources that we have, we depend on networks and we depend on private partnerships too much. And you know, the symbols that we have been showing them, how trustworthy we are, you know: transparency, accountability, and participation not just of our partners but of civil assoc—civil organizations we work with,” she explained.
“And you know, this is not just for the presidency, but this is for anyone. We have a lot of local—LGU officials here. These are for all leaders, all leaders who are listening to us this morning: that symbols are as important as the work we do. You know, the Office of the Vice President has been able to do so much because of this,” she added.
Robredo, seen as the figure head of the opposition, has been rumored to be the Liberal Party’s standard bearer for the 2022 presidential elections. However, she has shied away from such discussions as she believes thinking of the next polls may affect the brand of service she brings.
In the last 2019 senatorial elections, talks of a possible showdown between Robredo and President Rodrigo Dutere’s daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, heightened as both led respective senatorial slates.
The Vice President led the Otso Diretso while Duterte-Carpio spreaheaded the Hugpong ng Pagbabago in the recent elections. While nine of 13 Hugpong candidates got Senate seats, none of the Otso Diretso stalwarts won.
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