Robredo won't let drug war duties stop visits to far-flung areas
RIZAL, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo will not allow her new post overseeing the anti-drug campaign to stop her from helping far-flung areas in the country.
On Thursday, November 7, Robredo said she may have to lessen her ceremonial and social functions as Vice President now that she is co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
But her 2016 campaign promise to help those in the "laylayan" or margins of society will still be a priority. (READ: Robredo wants faith, human rights groups in anti-drug panel)
"If at all, baka iyong i-adjust namin iyong ceremonial functions, iyong mga meetings na hindi konektado sa Angat Buhay, iyong social functions na connected with the office, iyon siguro iyong babawasan," said Robredo.
(If at all, what I will be lessening would be the ceremonial functions, the meetings not connected to Angat Buhay, and the social functions connected with the office.)
"Pero iyong mga provincial visits kagaya nito, hindi ko iyon babawasan, kasi commitment ko iyon since 2016. Maraming mga communities na umaasa sa amin. Marami din na mga partners na umaasa sa amin. So kung kailangan magtrabaho 8 days a week, gagawin natin," she added.
(But the provincial visits like this one, I cannot lessen them, because this is my commitment since 2016. A lot of communities are relying on us. A lot of partners are relying on us as well. So if I need to work 8 days a week, I will.)
The Vice President was talking to reporters after visiting the small mountain village of Sitio Macantog in Tanay, Rizal, on Thursday afternoon. Only 60 families live here, but the Vice President endured a two-hour drive, then an hour-long trek up a steep, muddy trail just to reach Sitio Macantog.
The village is the latest beneficiary of Robredo's flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay, whose partner One Meralco Foundation provided solar kits to every household and a school in Sitio Macantog.
Refusing to let the vice presidency be a mere spare tire, Robredo kicked off Angat Buhay in October 2016 to extend help to communities in need.
Given the low budget of the Office of the Vice President, Angat Buhay links non-governmental organizations and private companies with local government units and communities in need of social services.
Beneficiaries include war-torn Marawi City, where Angat Buhay has funded the construction of school buildings and temporary housing units for refugees.
The Vice President said she apologized to her Angat Buhay staff after she accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to be ICAD co-chief.
"Humingi ako sa kanila ng paumanhin, kasi alam ko siguro sa pagtanggap ko, nasaktan iyong mga staff, kasi alam nila na kinukulang na nga kami ng oras para sa ginagawa namin tapos tumanggap pa ako ng assignment," said Robredo.
(I apologized to them, because I know that in my acceptance of the post, some of my staff were hurt because they know we already don't have enough time as it is to do our work, then I would take on another assignment.)
The Vice President said she did not even consider the implications of her acceptance on the 2022 elections. Her primary consideration was to help put a stop to the killings under Duterte's deadly drug war. – Rappler.com