MANILA, Philippines — If elected, presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo committed to be “on top of everything” in the government’s COVID-19 response, saying micromanagement is needed in a crisis like the pandemic when people’s lives are at stake.
“Ang sisiguraduhin ko lang I will be on top of everything. ‘Pag sinabi kong on top of everything, yung day to day na COVID response, ako yung mismo yung tututok,” Robredo said during the 2022 Presidential One-On-One Interviews with Boy Abunda.
(I will ensure that I will be on top of everything. When I say on top of everything, I will personally manage the day to day COVID-19 response.)
Robredo said she will ensure that all government agencies and local government units work “harmoniously.” This, as she stressed that “mixed” messaging adds up to the anxiety of the public.
“Sisiguraduhin ko na all the agencies, all the local government units are working harmoniously kasi yun yung tingin kong naging kakulangan ngayon, lahat naman may ginagawa pero kulang ng konduktor,” she said.
(I will ensure that all agencies, all local government units are working harmoniously because that is what I think is lacking today, everyone has a task but there is no conductor.)
“Kaya ang desisyon ng isang opisina, iba yung ginagawa nung iba. Parang sobrang mixed yung messaging. Sobrang mixed yung, nakita natin na magsasabi ng ganitong desisyon, the following day babawiin. E yun yung nakakadagdag sa pagka, yung anxiety ng tao,” she added.
(That’s why the decision of one office is different from another. The messaging is mixed, we saw flip flopping pronouncements. That’s what adds up to the anxiety of the people.)
Robredo was then asked about the possible criticism she may face for wanting to “micromanage” the pandemic response.
“Pag panahon ng crisis, kailangan mong mag-micromanage kasi buhay ng tao yung nakataya. Ako, since March of 2020, araw-araw, I am on top of all the COVID response operations of the office. At hindi ako namili talaga ng trabaho,” she said.
(When it’s a time of crisis, you need to micromanage because the lives of people are at stake. In my case, since March 2020, every day, I am on top of all COVID response operations of the office. I don’t choose which task I will do.)
‘Fill in the gaps’
Robredo said her office tried to “fill in the gaps” in the current administration’s response to the pandemic.
“Hindi naman namin ito mandato pero hindi pwedeng nanunood lang kami. So we shifted from one initiative to another (This is not our mandate but we can’t just watch and do nothing. So we shifted from one initiative to another),” she said.
Robredo, meanwhile, stressed the need for the government to have a “sense of urgency.”
“Every minute, every second counts..yun aming naramdaman dito sa pag-respond, hindi pwedeng gagalaw ka lang pag perpekto mo na yung plano, hindi e. Ang kailangan, nandiyan na, gumalaw ka na (You can’t just move when you have a perfect plan, when the problem is there, just move),” she said.
“Pag ako naging pangulo ie-expand ko yun…Meron na kasi akong benefit ng science. Meron na akong benefit ng lessons from other countries. Alam natin kung sinong mga bansa yung nag-perform better than the others so dapat matuto na tayo doon,” she added.
(If I become president, I will expand that…I already have the benefit of science. I have the benefit of knowing the lessons from other countries. We know which countries responded better than others, we should learn from them.)