This month as Filipinos in Canada are celebrating the rites of spring and new beginnings, Filipino voters are faced with a crucial task of electing their next president along with hundreds of other government officials in a national election on May 9th.
While there are 10 candidates for president, the contest has finally come down to just between two major contestants, the current vice president Leni Robredo and former senator, Marcos Jr. The other candidates’ chance of winning is negligible so any vote for them would be a total waste. Those votes are better put to good use by supporting Robredo for president and preventing another Marcos regime of thieving and corruption.
Why Leni Robredo Should and Would be the Next Philippine President
Robredo is CLEAN and INCORRUPTIBLE. Her years in government service are unblemished. Unlike most Filipino politicians, she has not enriched herself in public office. She lives simply with her three daughters in a small condo unit owned by her in-laws. She has never aspired to have a big house. The Commission on Audit has given her Office of VP an unqualified opinion—considered the highest rating from state auditors—for its financial reports in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
She is COMPETENT and holds a University of the Philippines degree in economics, a law degree from the University of Nueva Caceres, a private university in her hometown, Naga, Camarines Sur, and a master’s degree in law from San Beda University. She understands the economy and how to manage it and the law particularly the rights of the less fortunate under the law.
She is CAPABLE. At 56, she is young, healthy and energetic as shown by her stamina in months of campaigning all over the country while continuing to do her other duties at home and at work.
She is COMPASSIONATE. She knows how it is to be poor. And how poor people live. She has taken buses to go to work as she used to juggle her responsibilities as a mother, teacher and student while reviewing for the bar exams. With her desire to help the marginalized, Robredo joined the Public Attorney’s Office in Naga right after she passed the bar. Besides representing the disempowered in court at this job, she also translated laws into the Bicol language to help locals understand them better.
She is CONFIDENT that she will be productive as Philippine president because she knows what she has to do and is focused on accomplishing them. She is running on a platform centered on good governance, (rule-based governance) which she believes would uplift the lives of Filipinos as reflected in her campaign slogan, "Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay Lahat, Hanapbuhay para sa lahat."
Robredo’s platform issues for her corruption-free Gobyernong Tapat which is marked by transparency, accountability and rule-based governance include:
Robredo has laid down a comprehensive plan to "free" the country from the clutches of the pandemic, which she believes is the key to reopening the economy and putting people back to work.
This includes doubling the government’s spending on the country’s healthcare system, increasing hospital beds, hiring more healthcare workers, procuring more equipment and reorganizing the shifts of doctors and nurses.
She also wants major changes on how the country responds to the pandemic, including cutting down the number of members in the government’s pandemic task force so it can be more pro-active while assuring that experts are consulted to ensure that policies are based on science.
The presidential candidate also vows to make coronavirus testing accessible to Filipinos and to unify contact tracing systems.
Robredo also promised that healthcare workers will get hazard pay, paid COVID-19 leaves on top of existing sick leaves, medical insurance and allowance for food and transportation.
The vice president has said that her administration will pursue an anti-drug campaign with the same intensity as the Duterte administration, but will move away from the current administration’s approach that has been heavy on law enforcement and draconian punishment.
Instead of a heavy-handed crackdown on illegal drugs, Robredo said her campaign against these substances will focus on prevention and rehabilitation, drawing from experiences from other countries that have pursued a more “holistic” approach towards drugs.
Robredo also said she will allow investigators from the International Criminal Court to probe Duterte's brutal campaign against drugs should she become his successor in Malacañang and that she will also push for the country to rejoin the international tribunal.
She also wants to abolish Duterte's notorious anti-communist task force that has red-tagged several personalities but will not abandon the local development programs and the whole-of-nation approach in combatting insurgency. She also says, however, that she supports the task force's functions.
Education and youth
Robredo promises to earmark P68 billion for educational aid amounting to P300 every month that there are classes to each student for mobile credits and printing of modules.
She is also batting for the safe reopening of schools based on a risk assessment map which would show which areas have low or high prevalence of COVID-19.
For students in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, Robredo said they will each receive a gadget loaded with worksheets, modules and other study materials that can be used even without an internet connection.
Robredo added that she wants to partner with internet service providers and telecommunications companies so more students will be able to access educational websites and online resources for free.
Jobs creation and retention
Much like her plan to free the country from COVID-19, Robredo also has a comprehensive P192-billion plan to strengthen key industries and generate jobs for Filipinos.
Robredo’s program for job generation is summed up in five points: Recovering trust in the government, (eliminating corruption) awakening the strength of industries, ending discrimination at work, supporting small businesses and providing safety nets for those who lose their jobs.
Public services and social safety nets
Robredo plans to earmark P216 billion from the national budget for aid which she wants to be distributed quickly using the national ID system.
She is also pushing for a stimulus package of at least P100 billion for small businesses which would be required to keep their workers employed.
She also wants to create a National Unemployment Insurance Program that will give workers who are laid off 80% of their salary for three months.
Why Robredo will be the next Philippine President come May 2022
Believing in the power of collaboration, and a faith in the people, VP Leni vows to keep working to help her fellow Filipinos, especially those who are marginalized and less fortunate in the fringes of society.
In the last month of the campaign, the momentum of her run for the presidency has become a social movement, resulting from the spontaneous coming together of people who share a common outlook on society and Robredo's place in Malacanang. There have been all kinds of volunteer groups supporting her campaign from Katipuneras of Marylnoll college graduates to Filipinos in Vancouver for Leni to hundreds of thousands attending her provincial rallies. Filipinos all over the country and abroad are working together individually or as groups to make her the next president of the Philippines starting on May 9, 2022.
Eleanor R. Laquian
For the CFNet Editorial Board