A month before Vice President Leni Robredo embarks on one of the biggest challenges of her political career—the official campaign period for the 2022 presidential race— she looked back at the accomplishments of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in the past five-and-a-half years.
By tradition, the country’s Vice Presidents are given a Cabinet portfolio by the President. But with President Duterte and Robredo butting heads since their terms started, the Vice President and now presidential aspirant had no choice but to carve a niche where her office could thrive.
Drawing from years of experience in nongovernment organizations as a lawyer, Robredo transformed the OVP into a advocacy-driven office, geared towards uplifting the lives of the poorest and marginalized sectors of Philippine society ('mga nasa laylayan)' With meager funds, this was a tall order. However, she made it a point to reach out and partner with the private sector to initiate vital social-oriented initiatives.
On Sunday, January 2, Robredo’s weekly radio show over dzXL aired a video presentation of the OVP’s work in the past five-and-a-half years. It also featured video footages of the programs initiated by Robredo during her years in office.
The OVP’s flagship poverty alleviation program, Angat Buhay, was in the front and center of Robredo’s plans. As of December 2021, it has helped and partnered with 372 organizations, mobilized P520 million worth of resources, helped 622,000 families, and reached 223 cities and municipalities.
Angat Buhay mobilized P2.43 million toward youth empowerment. It was able to help more than 391 youth from 140 youth groups.
The Angat Buhay Youth also organized seven youth summits and provided assistance for more than 46 projects that aim to help their respective communities.
“Mahalaga kay Leni Robredo ang pakikilahok ng kabataan para sa mas epektibong pamamahala (Youth participation is important for Leni Robredo for a more effective governance),” the video narrator said.
Although the OVP provides medical assistance, mobilizing P82.14 million of its resources toward that regard, its main thrusts are mental health and malnutrition.
In San Remigio, Cebu, the OVP built a mental health facility to complement the community-based mental health program of the local government. With the help of the public and private sectors, the OVP turned over assistive devices for mental health patients.
Robredo also showed focus on child malnutrition because this leads to stunted growth and development problems in kids, especially those younger than five years old.
The OVP had feeding programs for communities with a high number of malnourished and stunted children. It mobilized P39.49 million for about 44 programs focused in combating malnutrition.
In Lambunao, Iloilo, for example, more than 800 children became part of the OVP’s feeding program from 2017 to 2020.
Robredo wants everyone to have access to quality education, which is why her office partnered with different agencies and organizations to provide better opportunities for all.
“Ito rin ay para mabigyan ng sapat na kakayahang mag-trabaho sa iba’t ibang industry ang bawat manggagawang Pilipino (This is also to provide Filipinos enough capabilities to work in different industries),” the video said.
Angat Buhay provided P122.96 million for infrastructure for education. This includes 81 classrooms and five dormitories for students.
The Siayan National High School in Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte is one of the beneficiaries of the project. The OVP also built dormitories in Sumilao, Bukidnon; Balangkayan, Eastern Samar; Salcedo, Eastern Samar; and La Libertad, Negros Oriental.
Robredo, through Angat Buhay, also provided scholarship and skills training to more than 120 youth, including out-of-school youth in Sumisip, Basilan, senior high school students in Panglao, Bohol and Mulanay, Quezon, and accountancy students of Mindanao State University.
The OVP established the Angat Buhay Workshop for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs because it aims to give representation, voice, and active participation in society.
More than 138 women in Visayas and Mindanao were given access to different livelihood opportunities, work, capital, and mentoring from experts. In Luzon, the workshop was done online to be more accessible.
Angat Buhay also partnered with different civic organizations to ensure “safe spaces” for women.
Sustainable livelihood and training program
“Binuo ang Angat Buhay Sustainable Livelihood and Training para matulungang makaahon ang mga nasa pinakamahihirap na sektor ng lipunan mula sa kahirapan lalong-lalo na sa krisis na dala ng pandemya (The Angat Buhay Sustainable Livelihood and Training was established for the most impoverished sectors in society to rise from poverty especially because of the crisis brought by the pandemic),” the video narrator said.
More than P15.39 million worth of livelihood projects were turned over to 156 fishermen, farmers, small business owners, and riders, among othets. This includes 33 accredited civil society organizations (CSOs) and 11 nanay (mother) entrepreneurs.
Robredo also wanted equal opportunities for those in the rural areas. She led initiatives for farmers, fisherfolk, and other sectors in agriculture.
Angat Buhay turned over P47.3 million worth of assets to farmers and fisherfolk, including boats, livestock, and other tools. It also gave them access to credit institutions so farmers and fisherfolk can expand their market.
The OVP also initiated the Omasenso Kabuhayan project, which is now partner with 11 farmer organizations that supply different institutional buyers, markets, and online marketplaces.
Housing and settlement
Before she resigned from the President’s Cabinet, Robredo chaired the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). This remained at the core of her goals at the OVP.
“Naniniwala ang Tanggapan ni VP Leni na mapapabuti ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino kung mayroon itong disenteng tirahan at access sa mga pangunahing pangangailangan (The Office of the Vice President believed that Filipinos will have a better life if they have access to decent housing and basic needs),” the video said.
Over P15.4 million were spent on housing and resettlement projects of the OVP. They provided housing, solar kits, solar panels, and construction materials.
Robredo led also the establishment of the Angat Buhay Village in Marawi City after the Marawi siege, as well as the BAHAYanihan Program in Bicol to build housing projects in Guinobatan, Albay, and the towns of Lupi, Sagñay, and Sabang.
Disaster relief and Rehabilitation
The OVP has always been present in every disaster that fell on the country, especially when it comes to typhoons. The report said that since 2016, it provided a total of P146.83 million worth of private donations. The office itself spent P82.25 million for relief efforts.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Odette last December, Robredo turned the Leni-Kiko volunteers’ headquarters in Quezon City into a relief operations center. The relief program received around P40 million in cash donations from private citizens through Angat Buhay’s partner, Tanging Yaman Foundation.
According to reports, millions worth of in-kind donations were also received at the headquarters.
Robredo redirected her 2020 and 2021 budget for COVID-19 response initiatives. This included the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, Swab Cab, Vaccine Express, Community Learning Hubs, and Community Mart.
In July this year, her office said they already spent over P113 million for pandemic response last 2020 despite not receiving COVID-19 funds from the national government.
Amid these programs, the OVP received ISO certification in the past six years. It also received the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit (COA) for three straight years.