Robredo speaks at DOST forum, says she’s open to work with gov’t

Robredo speaks at DOST forum, says she’s open to working with gov’t

/ 05:38 AM April 12, 2024

Robredo speaks at DOST forum, says she’s open to working with gov’t

Former Vice President Leni Robredo. Noy Morcoso / FILE PHOTO

For the first time since she stepped down as vice president in 2022, Leni Robredo spoke on Thursday at an event organized by a government agency under the Marcos administration and expressed openness to a collaboration to raise awareness on mental health issues.

As the keynote speaker at the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) first national mental health research symposium, Robredo referred to officials of the agency’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and mental health experts as people “who, like me, want what’s best for the country.”


READ: Lessons from Leni Robredo


“It is an honor to be invited in this very important conversation and to take part in the collective efforts to change the landscape of mental health in our country,” said Robredo, now president of the nongovernment organization (NGO) Angat Pinas Inc.

The NGO, which seeks to harness the energies of partners, volunteers and supporters to empower Filipino communities, especially the marginalized, was formed after she ran and lost to then former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the 2022 presidential elections.

Jaime Montoya, DOST-PCHRD executive director, explained why they invited Robredo to be the keynote speaker in their symposium with the theme, “Paglilinaw sa mga Alingawngaw (Clarifying the Noise): Breaking Stigmas in Mental Health through Research and Development.”

READ: Robredo: Rare force and flair of ‘a people’s campaign’

“A simple answer to that question is, even before she became the vice president, she was already very much involved in programs related to mental health and, especially, the services to the community,” Montoya told reporters.

DOST Undersecretary for Research Leah Buendia, for her part, stressed that “science is beyond politics.”


“If you want to help someone through science and technology, it has to be beyond politics. Regardless of who you are, as long as you can help through science and technology, it’s a big help,” she said.

Bayanihan e-Konsulta

In her speech, Robredo recalled that one of her projects as vice president was the free “teleconsultations” or “Bayanihan e-Konsulta,” which assisted individuals infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic.

At the time, she said they also received requests for mental health assistance amid the pandemic and extended lockdown.

According to Robredo, her office was “fortunate” to receive help from mental health professionals who offered their services “free of charge” to 1,235 people who requested assistance.

Despite this, she acknowledged the difficulties they faced in providing mental health services since these required longer and more focused interventions.

“This persistent need and the intricacies of the interventions it requires has inspired us to focus Bayanihan e-Konsulta on bringing mental health services to as many communities as possible,” she said, hoping to launch the project before the end of the second quarter.

Robredo said that Angat Pinas was willing to collaborate with the government, particularly with the DOST’s PCHRD, to bring mental health care to as many Filipinos as possible.

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“Because if we do this separately, it can result in many duplications and it will leave a lot of gaps which are not filled,” she explained.

TAGS: DOST, robredo

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