Vice President Leni Robredo said that her supporters gave away more than 30,000 bowls of lugaw (rice porridge) during her birthday last Friday, April 23.
Her supporters called the “National Lugaw Day” in reference to trolls calling her “Lugaw Queen” because her supporters sold porridge to support her vice presidential campaign in 2016.
Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo said she appreciated the gestures by her supporters because the lugaw feeding program was not promoting a certain candidate for a certain position.
She earlier asked her supporters not to put her name or face on the bowls of lugaw and instead just focus on helping their fellowmen.
“Gusto nating maipaalam sa kanila na sobrang appreciated natin ‘yung effort kasi ito pagpapakita ng suporta pero hindi naman talaga nagpopromote ng isang kandidato. Ang natutulungan talaga iyong communities kasi ngayon sobrang grabe ang dami ng nagugutom (We want to let them know that we appreciate the effort because this is showing support without promoting a candidate but they’re really helping the communities because now, there’s a lot of people going hungry),” she added.
The vice president turned 56 on Friday but she was under home quarantine because she was exposed to a close-in security who tested positive to COVID-19. She has tested negative twice to an RT-PCR test but her doctors advised her to complete the minimum 10-day quarantine.
Reports have reached her on Facebook that there were 105 different groups from different places who joined the initiative. Those 105 groups served 30,000 bowls of lugaw or rice porridge on her birthday.
The simultaneous feeding programs were held in Iloilo, Quezon City, Guimaras, Maguindanao, Bulacan, Masbate City, Naga, Albay, Calbayog, Parañaque City, Gumaca, Isabela, Batangas, Catbalogan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Baguio, Basilan, Negros, Caloocan, Antipolo, Lucena, Cadiz City, Manila, Antique, Tarlac, Malabon, Cagayan de Oro, Pampanga, Camarines Sur, Bataan, Marawi, Antique, Zambales, Caloocan, Makati City, Laguna, and Aklan, among others.
Robredo admitted she was nervous about the feeding program for fear that it might violate minimum health safety protocols, so she reminded her supporters to observe physical distancing at all times.
She said she cannot thank her supporters one by one because there were other smaller groups who chose to do a feeding program without linking themselves to the bigger groups of supporters.
The lugaw drive started as a response to the “lugaw is essential” statement from Presidential spokesman Harry Roque. This was after Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III alluded to Robredo as a “non-essential lugaw” after a viral video of a village official told a delivery rider that picking up “lugaw” for a customer was not allowed beyond curfew hours because it was not essential.
After Roque clarified that “lugaw is essential,” netizens were quick to point out that Robredo, whose pandemic response has been commended by various groups, is also essential.