MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she is hoping for an "honest" assessment from President Rodrigo Duterte on the country's current COVID-19 situation when he delivers his last State of the National Address (SONA) next week.
Robredo said Duterte did not invite her to be physically present at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 26, which is why she would attend the SONA virtually via Zoom.
“Sa panahon ng pandemic, hindi naman kailangan mag-paint ng napakagandang picture 'di ba? Para sa akin mas mabuti kung honest assessment, ano yung kakulangan, ano 'yung problema, papano natin gagawin, para 'yung tao mas naa-appease siya sa kanyang pag-aalala," the Vice President told reporters during her visit to her office's "vaccination express" in Manila.
(You don't need to show a very attractive picture of the country when we are in a pandemic. An honest assessment on the situation is better, like how do you solve the problems, what is your response on the matter. A person will be more appeased with their worries if those are given.)
The Vice President, with the help of private partners and the local government, opened the project in late June for riders in Manila in a bid to ramp up vaccinations of essential workers without interfering with their livelihood.
But Robredo noted the persistent problems on the COVID-19 vaccine supply, citing her camp's experience when they expanded their vaccination express to other towns like Quezon City and her hometown Naga City.
“Kasi 'yung problema sa amin and I think pareho din sa ibang lugar, 'yung supplies dumadating in trickles so yung tao, impatient 'yong iba, nag-aalala 'yong iba,” Robredo said.
(The problem we encountered was the lack of vaccine supply or it comes in trickles. Some are impatient, while some are worried)
Robredo stressed that she has yet to decide if she would aim for the presidency next year, noting that her office's pandemic response keeps her busy.
Despite this, she thanked her supporters who are urging her to run.
“Para sa akin hindi iyon sa kung sino ang naunang mag-ikot eh, kasi yung dalawa kong takbo, 2013 and 2016, pareho last minute ako. Hindi ko sinasabing 'yung pattern gagawin ko din, pero tingin ko kasi napaka-insensitive natin sa pinagdadaanan na kahirapan ng mga kababayan natin kung sa gitna ng pandemic ang naisip natin yung umikot,” she said.
(It's not about who campaigns first. Because my campaigns in 2013 and 2016 were last minute. I am not saying I will repeat it but I think that campaigning now in the middle of the pandemic is insensitive to the plight of our fellow Filipinos.)
Robredo added that she is not bothered with her low numbers in Pulse Asia's latest survey on Filipinos' most preferred presidential candidate.
She placed third on the said polls, along with senators Manny Pacquiao and Ping Lacson.
"Aasikasuhin ko na muna ang trabaho, kung ang gustong sabihin niyan hindi tataas ang numero ko hindi bale na, basta ginawa ko ang trabaho ko, kasi VP naman ako hanggang June 30 next year,” she said.
(I will do my work right now even if my numbers in the survey do not improve. It does not matter because I did my job, and in fact, I will still be vice president until June 30 next year)
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When asked about possible tandem with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, the vice president said there are informal talks not just with him, but with other candidates as well.
“Mayroon mga initial exploratory talks not just with Mayor Isko, but with some other contenders. Hindi ko muna sasabihin kasi wala ako authority pero nandun kami sa exploratory, ano ba 'yung commonalities natin na pwede pag-agreehan natin and willing ba tayo na umupo,” Robredo said.
(We have initial exploratory talks not just with Mayor Isko but with other contenders. I will not provide names because I am unauthorized but we are in the exploratory phase which answers the question on our commonalities and if we are willing to take on such responsibilities.)