1Sambayan Canada heaved a sigh of relief when Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo finally declared that she will run in the 2022 presidential polls. The group said it is time to tackle the issues that will affect the country's future.
"Yung panahong ito is very crucial because our survival as a country and our survival as a people is at stake (This time is very crucial because our survival as a country and our survival as a people is at stake)," Erie Maestro, coordinator of 1Sambayan Canada, pointed out.
For Maestro, the emotional reactions to Robredo’s candidacy shows that she has mass appeal and charisma. When the emotions subside, Maestro urged the opposition leader's supporters to look out for possible attempts by the Duterte administration to discredit her or subvert the democratic process in the Philippines.
"Posibleng magdeklara ng martial law. Posibleng gamitin ang pandemya para walang eleksyon (It's possible that martial law will be declared. It's possible that the pandemic will be used as an excuse not to hold the election)," Maestro warned. "Be vigilant. If it happens, prepared tayo to expose it, oppose it and to speak out against it (We are prepared to expose it)."
Many other Filipino Canadian groups are thrilled about Robredo's bid and pledged to support her campaign. Groups like the Global Pinoy Diaspora Canada and the Proud Bicolanos for Leni believe Robredo is the best candidate to push the country forward.
"Ang sabi nga nila, si Leni is not a brand; actually right now, it’s a movement (As some would say, Leni is not a brand)," Treenee Lopez of Global Pinoy Diaspora Canada said. "Si Leni po ay, sa aming palagay, sana tutulungan tayo na maka-ahon tayo sa mga problema sa Pilipinas (We believe Leni will hopefully help solve the problems in the Philippines)." Lopez's group is asking fellow Filipinos in Europe and the Middle East to support Robredo.
Meanwhile, Mel Abonita of Proud Bicolanos for Leni praised Robredo's plans to address issues currently faced by the country.
"Yung poverty, napakalaking issue sa Pilipinas. Unemployment tapos yung Covid. So yung tatlong main issue na yun, ang ganda ng mga plano niya doon (Poverty is a big issue in the Philippines. Unemployment and then Covid. She has good plans to solve these three main issues)," Abonita said. He plans to ask Bicolano groups in other Canadian cities to join a bigger 'Bicolanos in Canada for Leni' movement.
Members of another group called the Bicolanos and Bicolanas of Metro Vancouver said the breadwinners among their members can also help Robredo by influencing their families in the Philippines.
"Things have been deteriorating for the past six years and we need something better than that to alleviate not only the plight of Filipinos there but even us in Canada and the US," Malou Capucao of Bicolanos and Bicolanas of Metro Vancouver urged.