Be wary of politicians who only visit during campaign season, Robredo says

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2022 07:16 AM

Supporters from the Angat Buhay Village hung a tarpaulin asking politicians where they were during the Marawi siege, and declaring that Vice President Leni Robredo was with them. Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News
Supporters from the Angat Buhay Village hung a tarpaulin asking politicians where they were during the Marawi siege, and declaring that Vice President Leni Robredo was with them. Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

LANAO DEL SUR - Vice President Leni Robredo often tells the audience in her sorties to ask where politicians were before the campaign season, especially in times of their need.

Robredo ended her two-day tour of Lanao Del Norte and Del Sur on Friday at the Angat Buhay Village Area 7, a housing project by the Office of the Vice President for Filipinos displaced by the Marawi siege.

The displaced from Marawi welcomed her with placards expressing their gratitude for her presence and aid “before, during, and after Marawi siege.”

Robredo had to shush the crowd which did not stop screaming after she climbed onstage and began her speech. 

“Parang pangalawang bahay ko na ang Marawi,” Robredo tells the crowd, which hung on to her every word after settling down. 

“Alam niyong lahat na nandito kung gaano ko kamahal ang Marawi. Alam niyo lahat kung gaano ko kamahal ang Lanao del Sur,” Robredo told the crowd. 

(Marawi is like my second home. You know how much I love Marawi and Lanao del Sur.)

Another staple in her speeches, Robredo then proceeded to ask the crowd if other politicians would have anything to show for their support in areas they now court. 

Robredo calls these “resibo (receipts),” of which she says she has a long one for Lanao del Sur, Marawi in particular. 

"Sampung beses ako pabalik-balik dito sa inyo. Ang tanong ko nga sa mga kausap ko, 'Sino kaya makakatalo sa record ko kung gaano ako kadalas nandito sa inyo?' Palagay ko, wala,” Robredo added.

(I have been here at least ten times and I often ask which other politician could beat that record fo times visiting Marawi? I think no one would come close.)

The Office of the Vice President brought about P100 million in assistance to Marawi in rehabilitation aid after the 2017 siege. 

Almost five years later, the city is still in recovery, with hundreds still displaced. 

Robredo promised expediting the rehabilitation, to bring residents back to their homes. 

If elected president, Robredo also vowed to set aside budget for the Marawi Siege Compensation Act of 2022, which will fund rebuilding homes of displaced families. 

Robredo on Thursday told the crowd at the Longest Boardwalk in Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte to be wary of politicians who only visit provinces during campaign season.

"'Pag ganyan po ang public official wag natin silang tutulungan dahil dapat ang tingin sa ating mga kababayan na kailangan tulungan, hindi dapat boto ang tingin sa atin,” Robredo said. 

(Public officials who only remember us during campaign season do not deserve our support, because they do not see us and the problems we face. They only see us as votes.)

“Kung boto lang ang tingin sa atin asahan natin na pag nakaupo na sila kakalimutan na nila tayo,” she added. 

(If they only see Filipinos as votes that will bring them to office, you can be sure that they will forget us as soon as they are elected.)

Before the Kauswagan rally, Robredo made the trip to the small Lanao del Norte town of Tangcal, where the OVP brought a virgin coconut oil processing facility livelihood opportunity. 

In her return visit, Robredo found that the business hardly operates anymore due to power outages in the town. 

“Lagi pala kayong walang kuryente, hindi kayo makaka-negosyo 'pag laging walang kuryente. So, maghahanap ako ng partner na makakalagay dito ng solar generator,” Robredo told the Banisilon Farmers of Tangcal.

(Your business cannot make profit if you don’t have electricity. I will look for a partner that can provide solar generators for the community.)

Robredo on Friday also visited the Bamboo Landers Mulltisectoral Rural Workers Association in Buadiposo-Buntong, another beneficiary of the OVP’s Angat Buhay Program. 

Members enjoy the livelihood opportunity brought by sewing machines donated by the OVP. 

Akliah Adoma, whose rice fields have grown barren from the lack of rain, found alternative income helping create dresses, hijabs, and mosque-wear with the sewing machines.

“Sobrang laking bagay sa amin, ngayon wala kaming inaasahan na pagkakakitaan, kahit konti may maasahan [na] kami,” Adoma said. 

(This alternative income means a lot to us because we don’t have a lot of options to make ends meet.)

“Dati kasi full-time housewife kami, walang kinikita kahit singko, ngayon kahit paano meron nang 50 pesos sa bulsa namin araw-araw,” Bamboo Landers Multisectoral Rural Workers Association president Molina Bantasan said. 

(We used to be housewives with not a cent to our names, but now we at least have some cash on us everyday.)

"Ang eleksyon po hindi nadadaan sa kasikatan, hindi nadadaan sa pagandahan ng lalaki o pagandahan ng babae, hindi 'yan nadadaan sa paramihan ng supporters,” Robredo said.

“Dapat na resibong hinahanap natin sa bawat manliligaw sa atin, ano 'yung track record? Dapat ang itnaong natin sa kanila, nasaan kayo nung wala pang eleksyon? Kung totoong mahal nyo kami, nung mahirap ba ang buhay namin nasaan kayo?” 

(Elections should not be based on popularity, on looks, nor the amount of supporters a candidate can gain. It should be about what they have proven in areas they seek votes from. We must always ask them, “Where were you before campaign season? Where were you when life was hard for us?”)

Robredo’s campaign on Friday jumped from Marawi to Bohol, where she attended a rally in Talibon and in Tagbilaran.