By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo resounded her call for action on various issues affecting the urban poor and other marginalized sectors after hearing out their concerns on Tuesday.
Addressing participants of the “Kongreso ng Taumbayan,” Robredo called on the people to uphold the fundamental tenet of democracy—citizen participation, especially of the poor.
“Ang tunay at mabuting pamamahala ay isang gobyernong handang makinig sa boses ng bayan, isang gobyernong nagbibigay puwang sa taong bayan na makilahok,” she said.
“Para sa akin, hindi sapat na tagasunod lamang ang taong bayan o tagatanggap lamang ng tulong. Mahalaga na mabigyan siya ng boses at makapagpahayag,” the Vice President stressed.
Robredo, a former housing chief, attended the gathering of urban poor members and sectoral organization at the Asian Social Institute in Malate, Manila.
The ASI, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, Samahang Laico, and the Urban Poor Associates, among others, jointly convened the Kongreso ng Taumbayan that aimed to discuss national issues that need government attention.
They discussed the rice supply and price hike, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses, impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, and continuing violence that resulted from the war on drugs.
The day-long meeting led to the formulation of a collective response to these issues while resolutions were proposed for the withdrawal of the need to change the Constitution or to shift to federalism.
The Vice President recognized the People’s Congress as a big step toward national unity.
“Isang napakalakhing hakbang patungo sa ating pagkakaisa. Ito po ay magbibigay sa atin ng pagkakataon para mag-usap tungkol sa mga isyu bumabagabag sa ating bansa,” she said.
“Kailangan ipaglaban natin ang pagkakataong magkaroon ng malawakan at bukas na diskuro sa ating bayan. Ipakikipaglaban natin ang karapatan ninyong magpahayag. Ito po ang pundasyon ng demokrasya,” Robredo added.