Robredo to make rural dev’t a priority; assures continuity in admin’s infra projects
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo is intending to make development of the countryside among her priorities should she win the presidential race in 2022.
During a forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Makati on Tuesday, Robredo said the current administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program is worth pursuing but that it should be adjusted to benefit rural areas more.
Robredo also agreed that it is wrong to just completely disregard programs of past administrations only because the successor belongs to a different political party.
“One of the policies that I feel should be pursued in the next administration is the Build, Build, Build program. But we will be tweaking it, in such a way that there will be more emphasis on infrastructure that will spur rural development,” she told the panelists from the Rotary Club of Makati.
She also said that programs to strengthen the country’s justice system should be continued.
“There’s been a lot of effort on strengthening the justice system, and I feel that it is one of the things that we really need to continue,” she added.
However, Robredo said programs such as that on “drug war” should be changed.
Recalling her report in January 2020, after her short-lived stint as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD), she noted that the drug war was only able to intercept one percent of the volume of “shabu” circulating in the country.
“So clearly a primary orientation on street-level enforcement was not working, and this was after so many deaths already,” she said. “We will change the approach and go for the big fish — this entails shifting the focus of law enforcement agencies to really constricting supply, where the big players are.”
She then raised the importance of fast-tracking the country’s digital infrastructure.
“Second, we really need to speed up our infrastructure on tech and digital in as much as the pandemic only made it clear how much we are lagging behind,” Robredo said.
In the same forum, Robredo reiterated before Rotary Club of Makati officers and members her stance on the country’s foreign policy, saying that she is willing to continue relations with China but that it must be anchored on mutual respect — which means acknowledging international laws and rulings.
“Foreign policy, we will have to tweak it in such a way that you know, there is a lot to strengthen, there is a lot to put in order […] It is all about balance and inclusiveness, always bearing in mind that interest of the country and the people are foremost,” she explained.
“We will continue to nurture our important relationship with China, but it must be premised on mutual respect and in accordance with international law, which includes the UNCLOS and the decision of the international tribunal for the law of the sea,” she added.
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