Robredo urges Fil-Ams to speak up on alleged human rights violations

Lenn Almadin-Thornhill, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2016 02:59 PM

PENNSYLVANIA - The latest number of drug-related fatalities under the Duterte administration since May 10, according to ABS-CBN's independent monitoring, is 889.

Despite criticisms and condemnations from human rights groups, and most recently from the United Nations, President Rodrigo Duterte vows to maintain his shoot-to-kill order against drug dealers.

The alarming number of killings and Duterte's crime-fighting approach have put him and Vice President Leni Robredo in a tenuous situation.

She has called on authorities to investigate those killings, and most recently, as she faced the Filipino-American community as vice-president, she urged people to speak up.

"Pero, I am just one voice. Even if I'm vice-president, I'm just one voice. I think media can do a lot as far as creating a mindset that this is not right," she said.

Robredo also expressed her concern over the lack of public outcry.

"I think all of us should do our share in making sure that this has to stop," she said.

She admitted that her role as second-in-command has certain powers, but she said she plans to do a lot more than just attend ceremonies.

"We are now in the process of trying to reinvent the Office of the Vice President, that aside from just performing ceremonial and political duties, we are trying to make it more advocacy-centered," she said.

Robredo laid out some of her plans as vice-president before 500 Filipino-Americans at the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations' (NaFFAA) 12th National Empowerment Conference held in Valley Forge.

Among the issues she said she wants to focus on are housing, poverty, and food security.

"We cannot ever solve hunger, we cannot ever solve malnutrition if we just feed and feed and feed. We have to break the cycle of poverty also," she said.

She also pledged to fight for universal health care, public education, rural development, and empowerment.