“How do we move forward?”
This is what Vice President Leni Robredo expects to hear when President Duterte delivers his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26, at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
Robredo confirmed that she was only invited to hear the SONA via teleconferencing platform Zoom, but she said “okay lang naman iyon (that’s okay).”
“Sa akin, maging very honest about iyong situation sa bansa ngayon…Ang ineexpect ko (For me, it should be very honest about the situation in our country now. My expectation is) how do we move forward?” she said in a media interview in Manila.
“Kakaiba ito saka last year na SONA kasi nasa gitna nga tayo ng matinding krisis. Iyong tao mas ineexpect niya mas realistic na assessment, mas (This and last year’s SONA are different because we are in the middle of a crisis. The people expect a more realistic assessment, a more) honest assessment,” Robredo added.
There is no need to paint a “very beautiful picture” because what the people need to hear is an “honest assessment” about the government’s shortcomings and problems, Robredo stressed.
The vice president noted that hearing an honest assessment will appease the people that the government knows what it’s doing.
“It’s difficult to say that all is well but the people feel differently. It’s better to say where we really are,” she said in Filipino.
The lady official suggested that Duterte should talk about the vaccine supply since people are thinking about the pandemic, the vaccine, and their impact on their lives.
Robredo also wants to hear about what the government plans to do with those who lost their livelihood.
This is not the first time Robredo will not be physically present for the SONA. Last year, she was also not invited to be there physically since only 50 guests were allowed at the Batasang Pambansa.
There will be 350 guests to physically hear the President’s SONA for the last time on July 26 since those who are invited have been fully vaccinated.
Robredo was in Manila to oversee her Vaccine Express initiative with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. Tricycle and pedicab drivers, as well as delivery riders, received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after their inoculation a month ago.
Despite the rain, Robredo said that the turnout was better because there was no pre-screening anymore.
She, however, lamented the lack of vaccine supply and the slow distribution of the available vaccines to local government units (LGUs), which she believes to be crucial to stopping the spread of the highly transmissible and contagious Delta variant.
“Ang strongest link pa rin iyong mga LGUs kasi from our experience, iyong LGU talaga iyong nagpapakita ng capacity na maging creative sa gagawin (The strongest link is our LGUs because based from our experience, the LGUs are the ones who show the capacity to be creative in what needs to be done),” Robredo said.