Robredo envious, inspired by 'bikers' haven' Iloilo

Published December 4, 2021, 11:17 AM

by Raymund Antonio

One of the things that Vice President Leni Robredo will focus on if she becomes president is the construction of biker- and pedestrian-friendly streets and public spaces that will encourage Filipinos to live healthier lifestyles.

Vice President Leni Robredo addresses the bikers who joined the “Ride for Leni” event in Iloilo City on Dec. 4, 2021. (Arnold Almacen/Iloilo City Mayor’s Office)

During a media interview in Iloilo City on Saturday, Dec. 4, the presidential aspirant shared her dreams to see Metro Manila transformed into the bikers’ haven that is the City of Love.

Iloilo City recently bagged two national gold awards: Most Bicycle-Friendly City 2021 from Mobility Awards and Best in Bike Lanes 2021 from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Ito ‘yung pinapangarap ko sa buong Pilipinas, lalo na sa Metro Manila, na nakita natin ‘yung need talaga nito (This is my dream for the whole Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, where we really saw the need for this) during the pandemic,” Robredo said.

“Iyong pinapangarap natin na sana ‘yung streets natin, maging (That’s what we’re dreaming for, that hopefully, our streets become) more friendly sa (for) pedestrians, sa (for) bikers, kasi ang dami talagang (because there are really a lot of) benefits eh,” she added.

READ: Robredo to shift toward ‘smart’ infrastructure to regain pre-pandemic economic growth

Robredo already revealed in an earlier business forum her plans to establish more bike lanes, parks, and public spaces conducive to leisure activities. She also lamented the lack of open spaces in the country–a problem highlighted during the pandemic when kids had to be shut out from indoor establishments such as malls.

Noting that the Philippines is unfriendly to pedestrians, she assured biking groups–many of whom voiced out support for her presidential bid–that she is one with them in their advocacy.

“Ako, gusto kong paalala sa kanila o gusto kong i-assure sila na kaisa nila ako. Kaisa nila ako sa advocacy na ‘yung mga daan natin ay gawing friendly para sa (Me, I want to assure them that I am with them. I am one with their advocacy for our roads to become more friendly) not just for bikers, but for people na gustong maglakad (who want to walk), for regular commuters,” she said.

This advocacy is not only a cheaper alternative to taking private cars and public transportation, but is also the healthier choice, Robredo said.

The Vice President noted that people in Iloilo City lead healthier lifestyles compared to other places in the Philippines because they’re able to bike and walk in the Esplanade.

“So kung, kung ang ibang lugar mayroon ding ganitong nilaan na space para sa kanila, ay (If other places also have this space for them), I’m sure mas maraming maeengganyo (more people will be encouraged),” she said.

READ: Robredo supporters organize ‘Bikers for Leni’

She shared that she hasn’t gone biking for quite a while because she lives in a condominium in Metro Manila and hasn’t been home to Naga City that much.

Robredo and her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan joined women and children as they rode bicycles at Iloilo Esplanade in an event dubbed as “Ride for Leni”.

“So, so ito, kaya ako inggit na inggit dito sa, sa Iloilo, kasi feeling ko lang, kung mayroon nang ganito malapit sa tinitirhan ko, siguro mas healthy pa ako (this is why I’m very envious of Iloilo, because I feel that if there is only something like this near where I live, I am healthier),” Robredo said.