Robredo shares the challenges of being a leader amid a pandemic

Published October 30, 2020, 7:52 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday admitted that the pandemic has made it more difficult for leaders like her to respond to various challenges – especially in a diverse political environment.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Asked how she balances her role as a leader and as a front liner immersed with her constituents, Robredo admitted that finding the “ideal mix” between these two essential facets of leadership is rather more difficult at this time.

Robredo, during the forum at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG) Leadership Webinar Series Launch, explained that being a leader at this time is indeed not an easy feat.

“It’s been very difficult, especially during the pandemic, in balancing those two aspects of what I need to do,” Robredo said. During the pandemic, she has been focused on the “nitty-gritty, daily activities” of the Office of the Vice President (OVP). “Because we don’t have a specific mandate, we’re actually just trying to fill in the gaps and every gap that we see, we try to fill in,” she added.

As she simultaneously embarks on so many activities, Robredo said that she is having difficulty to balance “those two aspects in the sense that I know that it is the ideal but in situations where your decision, your presence, is very much needed on the ground, I tend to focus on the very specific.”  

Robredo said that “jumping from one initiative to another” was easier before the pandemic. “It was easier before the pandemic because we were able to plan much earlier,” she said. 

“We were able to identify which advocacies to focus on [and] we were able to identify beforehand which communities we will be able to help—so that was easier before but in crisis situations such as this, it’s been very difficult,” she added.

Robredo wishes that she would have time balancing those two facets but the OVP – being a very small office – “I don’t have the luxury of just manning the management team and sometimes, I do the work that the staff does and that keeps my focus on bigger things, of more important things.”

With fewer people and even fewer resources, Robredo said that she is very involved in almost everything – from crunching and analysis of data to attending webinars. “It’s been very difficult and I wish we had more people,” she said.

While Robredo wishes the OVP had more time to be able to focus on the big things and the small things, she admitted that every day, during the pandemic, “it’s really focusing on the small, on the more granular things.”