MANILA — Going through difficulties from 2016 due to her political differences with President Rodrigo Duterte is a blessing in disguise as that motivated her team to emerge better, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday, four days before her six-year term ends.
“Iyong lahat ng kahirapan na binigay sa amin, actually iyon ang nagpahusay sa amin... Dahil hindi kami itinuring na kakampi, bahagi ng pamahalaan, natuto kami na maghanap ng paraan. And to my mind, iyong ang nagpahusay sa amin. Kasi pag mahirap, nagiging mahusay ka eh, naghahanap ka ng paraan,” Robredo said In the final episode of her radio program "Biserbisyong Leni" on RMN DZXL.
(The difficulties that were given to us made us even better. Because we were not seen as allies, as part of government, we learned to look for ways. And to my mind, that's what made us better. The hardships make you better, and it compels you to find ways.)
Robredo, who comes from a political party different from Duterte's, was a target of attacks from the latter and some of his officials and supporters, especially if she criticizes some of the administration's policies and programs.
For a time, she held the positions of Housing Secretary and co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs, but eventually quit due to policy differences.
"Sa amin, wala naman akong regrets. Gaya ng sinabi ko, kami lahat nag-a-agree, sa Office of the Vice President, grabe yung dinaanan namin. Pero ayaw na naming ikuwento yung dinaanan kasi para sa amin, 'yun 'yung blessing," Robredo said.
(We have no regrets in our team. As I've said, all of us in the Office of the Vice President agree that we suffered much. But we don't want to share anymore what we went through because of us, that was a blessing.)
"Siyempre kung tatanungin kami, sana hindi naging mahirap. Pero ngayon na tapos na, pasalamat kami na naging mahirap dahil natuto kami na talagang paghusayan," she added.
(Of course, if we were asked for our choice, we would have hoped it wasn't that hard. But now that it's over, we are actually thankful that it was difficult because we learned to become better.)
"Napakita namin na yung power ng private partnerships, napakalaki. Kaya malakas loob namin na gawin yung Angat Buhay dahil nahasa na kami. Nahasa kami sa ganung trabaho na halos walang tulong from government pero maraming nagagawa."
(We showed the greatness of the power of private partnerships. That's why we are confident in launching the Angat Buhay because we've been trained well. We were trained to work and become very productive even without help from government.)
Robredo has announced that their Angat Buhay program will be launched as a non-government organization next month.
She said that her office successfully implemented anti- poverty, livelihood, and COVID- 19 related programs.
Aside from her flagship project, she said the highlights of her tenure as the country's 14th vice president include her office's success in fixing its systems and finances, which later led to the OVP being granted ISO accreditation.
From 2018 to 2020, the Commission on Audit (COA) also granted the OVP an "unqualified opinion,” which is considered the best review a government agency can receive from state auditors.
“Ngayon, naghihintay kami for 2021. Hopefully, makalabas ang COA audit bago matapos ang term ko kasi talagang pinaghirapan iyon ng aming opisina,” Robredo said.
(We're now waiting for the 2021 report. I hope COA releases its audit before my term ends because our office worked hard.)
With just a few more days left before stepping down, Robredo said there is still "a lot of work to do" and some appointments to wrap up.
She said she is also organizing memorabilia over her 6-year tenure as Vice President, as well as a thousand paintings given to her as souvenirs on the campaign trail.
Robredo said she is planning to use the paintings given to her to raise funds for the Angat Buhay Foundation, which is set to launch on July 1.
"Sobrang dami, gaganda [ng paintings]… Ido-donate ko ang lahat ng paintings for Angat Buhay… para maraming makinabang. Isa sa una naming gagawin ay gagawin siyang exhibit ng mga paintings. Gagawin din namin siyang fund-raising event. Iilalabas namin mechanics this week,” she said.
(The paintings were so many and so beautiful. I plan to donate all of them for Angat Buhay... so that it will benefit many. We plan to put the paintings on exhibit and make this a fund-raising event. We will release the mechanics this week.)
“Ito pa ang magiging seed fund para sa ating mga activities. So sana, okay lang sa mga nagbigay, to properly acknowledge yung mga nagbigay. Kung may malaki lang akong bahay, 'di ko ito pakakawalan…Napaka-heartbreaking, pero ito ang best way,” Robredo said.
(This will become the seed fund for our activities, so I hope it's okay to the donors, that I properly acknowledge them. If only I had a big house, I wouldn't let go of the paintings. Heartbreaking, yes, but this is the best way.)
'MAMI-MISS KO KAYO'
Robredo bade farewell to her office's staff and to everyone who helped her.
“Maraming salamat, mami-miss ko kayo,” she said.
(Thank you. I will miss you all.)
But she vowed that she will continue working, and spend more time with her family after June 30.
“Iyong Angat Buhay, ito ang pinaka-primary concern. Pero iyong aking dating ginagawa na development work, iyong pagtutok sa mga adbokasiya, matutuloy. At saka sa pagbawi sa mga anak, siguro mas maraming oras with them,” Robredo said.
(Angat Buhay will be my primary concern. But I will continue what I am used to do in development work and in my advocacies. I will also spend time with my daughters, to make it up to them.)
Robredo lost to President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the May elections.
- with report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News
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