[by: Chloe De Guzman]
“Lutang”, “Bobo”, “Lugaw”, “Dilawan”, “Babae Lang”. These are the words that some netizens have thrown at Vice President Leni Robredo the moment she announced her candidacy for the 2022 Presidential Elections. In today’s patriarchal society of macho politics, strongman leaders, and fake news, seeing a female public figure be discredited by the very people she served despite all that she had achieved is not new. However, what those people might not have been aware of, is the list of credentials and accomplishments that made Leni Robredo a candidate worth voting for. So settle in, and let us get to know #LeniLugaw.
Of all the words that can be used to describe Mrs. Robredo, “bobo” is truly not one of them. She graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1986, one of the most challenging quota-courses in the renowned university. Moreover, she studied Law in the University of Nueva Caceres and graduated in 1992, then passed the Philippine Bar in 1997. Some people might have called her “bobo” for not passing the Philippine Bar in her first attempt, yet her honorary degrees tell us otherwise. Such honorary degrees include Doctor of Public Administration (Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 2015), Doctor of Humanities (University of Saint Anthony, 2017), and Doctor of Laws (University of the Cordilleras, 2017).
Her passion in serving the Filipinos, especially the marginalized sector, began way before her days as a government official. Among her other work experiences, Mrs. Robredo was a branch coordinator and lawyer of the “Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal” or SALIGAN, a non-government organization that focuses on developmental legal work for the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors in the Philippines. She was also a public attorney in the Public Attorney’s Office, a professor in the Universidad de Sta. Isabel, an Economist in the Bicol River Basin Development Program Office, and more.
As the 3rd District Representative of Camarines Sur from 2013 to 2016, Mrs. Robredo was able to author and co-author 160 bills and resolutions only in the span of 3 years. Some of her programs under this position include Batang M On the Go, a feeding program for the malnourished children in remoter areas, NegoAsenso Livelihood Program, which focuses on providing the necessary training, funds, and support to women who wish to work, start a business, or establish their products in the market, Salud Mo, Kusog Ko, a senior citizen wellness program that focuses on providing maintenance medicine to senior citizens through a series of medical missions, scholarships given to deserving high school and college students, and more.
As the 14th Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, despite all limitations, Mrs. Robredo did not disappoint. The Office of the Vice President received an “unqualified opinion” from the Commission on Audit for three consecutive years. This is the highest rating that can be given to a government office or agency whose financial records and statements are free of misinterpretations and comply with the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards. Furthermore, the OVP also received the ISO 9001:2015 recertification for its quality management system and services.
The programs of the OVP advocates for Food Security and Nutrition, Universal Health, Public Education, Women Empowerment, Youth Empowerment, Rural Development, Housing and Resettlement, Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation, and Sustainable Livelihood and Training. Among her numerous programs, the most notable is the Angat Buhay program, which focuses on addressing the needs of the farthest and poorest communities in the country by partnering with both public and private sectors in reaching out to these areas and providing holistic solutions in fighting poverty. As of December 2021, Angat Buhay has partnered with 372 organizations, utilizing 520 million pesos worth of resources for 321,001 families and 305,223 individuals in 223 communities in the Philippines.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vice president did not let us down. The OVP established programs and initiatives that not only aimed to battle the virus but also to help the Filipinos in need. Firstly, 45.86 million pesos worth of resources were allocated for 35,656 extraction and detection kits, and 5.32 million pesos were allocated for 12,750 extraction kits given to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. In addition to this, the OVP also launched the Swab Cab which provided testing support for hotspot areas where high cases were detected, the Vaccine Express which aimed to strengthen the vaccine programs in local communities by administering 49,896 vaccine shots to individuals in 13 provinces, and the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, a free telemedicine program that aimed to provide medical consultations for indigent and vulnerable families, and to decongest the hospitals. The office was also able to provide cash grants and relief goods to marginalized Filipinos during the pandemic.
With all of this, it can be established that Vice President Leni Robredo is far from “lutang”, “bobo”, or “babae lang”. She is a competent and strong female leader and government official with a heart for helping and serving the Filipinos, especially those who are in the marginalized and vulnerable sectors. She has always focused on providing holistic and effective programs with long-term solutions in order to help Filipinos drowning in poverty. Despite all constraints and doubts, she was able to accomplish and help so much. Imagine what can accomplish as the 17th president of our country.
We all deserve a leader and a government who would put our needs first, listen to our voices, and be there for us when we need them most. And as seen in past rallies, never has a presidential candidate sparked so much volunteerism, unity, and nationalism within her supporters. So I hope this article has helped you get to know #LeniLugaw, her credentials, her attainments, and her potential. And remember, “Sa Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay ang Lahat!”. For more information and details about Mrs. Robredo, her programs, and her platform, please refer to this infographic: