Robredo: Filipinos losing 'confidence' in gov't amid coronavirus crisis

Vice President Leni Robredo said Filipinos are losing their "confidence" in President Rodrigo Duterte's government as it scrambles to save the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, August 24, Robredo said confidence is crucial in helping the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis. But she warned Filipinos are already losing their trust in the administration as several officials continue to face corruption scandals.

She cited the alleged overpricing of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets, the politicking in the distribution of the emergency cash aid, and the latest scams hounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the subject of congressional probes.

"Kaya nga, lalo pa ngayong humaharap tayo sa pandemya, hindi nakakatulong ang mga gawaing lalong nagpapababa ng kumpiyansa. Paano ba naman magkakaroon ng kumpiyansa kung patuloy ang mga alegasyon ng korapsyon – sa mga overpriced na PPE set at ayuda, sa PhilHealth na inaasahan nating magbibigay sa atin ng sense of security sakaling magkasakit tayo?" Robredo asked.

(This is why, especially now that we are grappling with a pandemic, the last thing that we need is even more instances that erode confidence. How can confidence be built amid continued allegations of corruption – from overpriced PPE [sets] and other assistance, to PhilHealth, an agency that is supposed to give us a sense of security in case we get sick?)

"Paanong magkakaroon ng kumpiyansa kung ni hindi natin masiguro kung saan napupunta ang mga pondo? Paanong magkakakumpiyansa, kung sa tuwing magpe-press con ang liderato, wala tayong linaw na mahinuha? Malinaw na handang sumagwan ang lahat; ang kulang na lang, 'yong magtututok sa atin sa dapat nating kapuntahan, 'yong magtitimon," she added.

(How can there be confidence when we are unsure of where funds are going? How can there be confidence when every time the leadership holds a press conference, clarity is in short supply? Clearly, the people are willing to man the oars; what we need is someone to point us towards the proper direction, someone to steer the ship of [the] state.)

The Vice President made the statement in a 20-minute video she posted on Facebook, where she discussed her 11 concrete suggestions to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis. (READ: Robredo to Duterte gov't: Give poorest Filipino families P5,000 a month)

Robredo, however, reserved her biggest punches towards the end of her address, as she slammed the Duterte government for its failure to lead the nation at a time when Filipinos are grasping for aid.

"Hindi pagbabatikos ang pagbitbit ng mga sentimyentong ito: This is our reality. Karapatan at tungkulin natin to expect and demand more from our leaders," Robredo added.

(These sentiments are not criticism: This is our reality. It is our right, our responsibility to expect and demand more from our leaders.)

Still, the Vice President said the public has shown in the past 5 months that when their government fails them, Filipinos themselves step up.

"At kung walang mamumuno, tayo mismo ang hahakbang, tayo mismo ang magtutulungan, tayo mismo ang bibitbit sa isa't isa. Tayo mismo ang haharap, tayo mismo ang mangunguna, gagampanan natin ang anumang tungkulin para daigin ang anumang pagsubok, sa ngalan ng ating kapwa," Robredo said. 

(And if no one will lead us, we will do this ourselves; we will step up to the plate, we will help each other, carry one another. We ourselves will face this challenge, lead the charge; we will take it upon ourselves to do what needs to be done to overcome any obstacle, in the name of our fellowmen.)

"Tayo mismo ang tititig sa mukha ng krisis na ito at buong-tapang na ihahayag: Maaari mo kaming mapaluhod, pero hindi kailanman mapipigilan ang paulit-ulit at taas-noo naming pagtindig. Pilipino kami. Mas malakas kami sa anumang pagsubok," she added.

(We will look this crisis in the eye and affirm with conviction: You may bring us to our knees, but nothing can ever stop us. We will rise, again and again, and our heads held high. We are Filipinos. We are stronger than any struggle before us.)

The Vice President's office has been spending the past months providing various forms of assistance to frontliners in Metro Manila and Cebu. (READ: 'Not time to keep score': Robredo focuses on frontliners, not politics)

Robredo's office has raised millions worth of funds to provide health workers with PPE sets, test kits, food packs, dormitories for those who have no place to sleep, and free shuttle services.

The Office of the Vice President was able to pull these off despite a lack of budget by partnering with different private institutions and nongovernmental organizations, then linking them to medical facilities and local governments in need. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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