MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday visited Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines' southernmost provinces, for a series of meetings.
She first went to Brgy. Pag-asinan in the town of Hadji Panglima Tahil in Sulu, where the Office of the Vice President and the municipal government put up a 210-meter timber footbridge to connect the island-barangay with smaller sitios.
Robredo was accompanied by Mayor Moh. Mustafa Burahan, Vice Mayor Nasia Galib, Brgy. Capt. Talib Hadjulani and members of Tausug League for Social Transformation.
In a Facebook live from Sulu, Robredo said she learned about the need for the footbridge through the Tausug League, which is part of the OVP’s Angat-Buhay program that brings together the public and private sectors to fight poverty in communities.
Robredo said the timber footbridge was a big help to students, teachers, the Badjao community and other constituents as it replaced what Hadjulani called in jest a “dancing bridge” made of bamboo.
“Sobrang dangerous kasi may mga okasyon na raw po na mga bata na hindi nakapasok sa eskwelahan. ‘Yun pala, naanod na,” Robredo said of the old bridge.
(It was so dangerous because there were occasions that the children were not able to go to school because they’ve been swept away by the waves.)
“‘Yung teacher-in-charge po ng Pag-asinan Elementary School, nagkukwento siya na sobrang tulong nito lalo na ngayong pandemic kasi ‘yung mga magulang na nandun sa sitio na kukuha ng modules, hindi na nahihirapan,” she added.
(The teacher-in-charge of Pag-asinan Elementary School said this is a big help for them especially during the pandemic because parents in the sitios who claim modules for their children no longer had a hard time.)
Locals, including an engineer, were employed for the construction of the P2.5-million footbridge.
“‘Yung mga projects po na ganito, ‘yung mga gastos ng pamahalaan na hindi talaga sayang...Hindi sayang kasi nakakatulong siya hindi lang sa paggaan sa buhay ng mga tao dito, pero pati sa hanapbuhay, nakakagaan,” the VP said.
(Projects like this do not waste government's money. It not only improves people's living condition, but also brings livelihood.)
She said the municipal government put up solar lights to illuminate the bridge at night, and the local community intends to plant more mangroves to guard against strong waves.
On Monday, Robredo visited a mangrove rehab project in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay with Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon, a 2021 Ramon Magsaysay awardee.
In her trip to Sulu, Robredo was set to meet with her local volunteers called the Robredo People’s Council, as well as with the provincial governor at the capitol and the headquarters of the Joint Task Force Sulu.
Robredo was also expected to visit Tawi-tawi to hand over antigen test kits and PPEs to the provincial government, visit a Badjao village and meet with her local volunteers.
Robredo is among 10 presidential aspirants this May. The official campaign period for national position candidates formally opens on Feb. 8.