Vice President Leni Robredo underscored the importance of social justice in addressing problems confronting society as well as the need for a leadership that would enable all other agencies to work in harmony.
Robredo, speaking at the launching of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG) Leadership Webinar Series, was asked by former Sen. Joey Lina how she would address problems of poverty, social inequality, and corruption if she is president.
“Social justice is very important,” Robredo said. “We have laws, but not enough, protecting social justice (and) I think one of the things that we have to contend with is to analyze what laws are pushing poverty and social injustice too far.”
Robredo said that when she was still in Congress, she tried to introduce new legislations, which we felt were very important.”
“These legislations, such as those on agrarian reform and people participation, among others, ‘were geared towards decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor, which we feel is too much.’”
Symbols, Robredo added, are also very important. “Words are one thing, but symbols are another,” she said.
Robredo cited the efforts of the Office of Vice President (OVP). “We don’t have a lot of mandate (and) we don’t have a lot of resources, so we will have to depend on private partnerships for us to be able to do many of the things that we wanted to do but because trust is our only currency, we work very hard towards that trust.”
She said that when she became vice president, she wanted to ensure that all the office processes under the OVP are trustworthy. “We did ISO Certification (and) we’ve been getting the highest award from the Commission on Audit and these are symbols, which we feel are very important, because if we do not have that trust, we will not be able to do the things that we’re doing.”
As far as poverty is concerned, Robredo said that the OVP launched its anti-poverty program called “Angat Buhay” focusing on key advocacy areas which are public education, universal healthcare, rural development, women empowerment, among others.
Due to the limited mandate and resources that OVP has, Robredo said that they have to depend on networks and private partnerships. “The symbols that we have been showing them, how trustworthy we are (are based on) transparency, accountability, and participation not just of our partners but of civil organizations we work with and those are very important symbols that we continue working on,” she added.
Robredo noted that “symbols” are not just for the presidency but for all leaders. “Symbols are as important as the work we do.”
In the OVP, she stressed the importance of monitoring and evaluation aside from the implementation of programs.
“We always monitor and evaluate, we always have metrics,” she said. “I would tell them that accomplishments are not based on the number of activities that we have done, but on the lives that we have changed,” she added.