Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, October 14, laid out her plans for the first 100 days in office if she’s elected president in the 2022 polls.
Top among these priorities is the realignment of the national budget to make it more responsive to the country’s COVID-19 response programs.
She admitted that her role will be very different compared to her predecessors because of the extraordinary time when she might possibly be put at the country’s helm.
“Because we are in a middle of the pandemic, the first order of business is controlling the pandemic, focusing all our efforts on decreasing the number of COVID cases dramatically so we can fully reopen the economy and to do this, we must realign the national budget so that it would be more akin to addressing the pandemic,” she told the Rotary Club of Manila during its virtual membership meeting.
“We will be coming in from a set budget already. This means realigning the budget, allotting more funds for healthcare services and facilities, COVID-19 response, social services for Filipinos,” Robredo added.
Similar to what she said in the past, the vice president highlighted the need for “more efficient testing, tracing, and treatment, vaccinating as (many) people as possible.”
Robredo also wants to “empower our healthcare system” through “improving access to hospitals, building more facilities, if needed, improving infrastructure to access COVID vaccines, the logistical support for vaccines.”
“We address it (health problems) and the rest of the challenges become less daunting,” the vice president stressed.
One problem that she will be trying to stop is that of a food crisis, which is one of the reasons why she tapped Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to be her running mate since agriculture has been his advocacy.
To address this, a Robredo presidency will “invest heavily” in agriculture, particularly in technology and farm-to-market infrastructure.
Aside from problems in the health care industry, the next administration will also face a soaring unemployment rate due primarily to the closure of many businesses.
The opposition leader said that the one thing that will create more jobs is to bring back foreign direct investments, which have been in a steady decline during Duterte’s term.
This year, annual FDI dropped by 24.6 percent, the lowest in five years.
“It is very difficult to overpromise. One thing that will bring jobs back is to make sure that the pandemic is under control. For us to be able to open our economy again, we have to control the virus first, we have to control the transmission first,” she stated.
The vice president is also open to collaborating with China “in areas that we have no conflicts.”
“But when it comes to the West Philippine Sea, we cannot deal with them without their recognition of the arbitral ruling,” she said, referring to the 2016 landmark ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague on China’s nine-dash line claim.
Robredo, however, also stressed the importance of having “an inclusive and independent foreign policy as opposed to one that favors certain countries.”
“We will be open to working with everyone so long as it will be in the best interests of the Filipino people,” she said.
But all of these are possible only with good governance as the vice president emphasized that the real focus should be on “strengthening institutions on cleaning the bureaucracy, setting platforms to ensure that good governance is in place.”
“It is really changing the entire culture of politics and governance in the country,” she said, particularly highlighting how “giving more space for people to directly participate in governance” can impact the bureaucracy.