Robredo says Marawi was ‘Angat Buhay’ priority area even before siege: ‘'Talagang naunahan namin’

Published January 29, 2022, 5:39 PM

by Raymund Antonio

“Yes po.”

This was presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo’s response on Saturday, Jan. 29, to critics questioning her earlier remark that she and her team have been to Marawi since 2016, which was before the May 2017 siege.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN)

“Daming ingay. Bakit daw sabi ko 2016 palang nasa Marawi na kami. Naunahan pa daw namin ‘yung siege (There’s a lot of noise. Why did I say that we were in Marawi in 2016? We were there before the siege),” she wrote on Facebook.

“Talagang naunahan namin (We were really there first),” Robredo stressed.

This came as her critics lashed and laughed at her remark during the interview with Boy Abunda last Wednesday where she said that she has been working in Marawi since 2016.

Bashers poked fun at her remark, even comparing her statement and the news clippings of the Marawi siege in May 2017.

“Lanao del Sur was the poorest province at that time. 2016 palang (Since 2016), we already decided to adopt Marawi as one of our Angat Buhay priority areas. We decided to take it even further by launching Angat Buhay in Lanao del Sur to include 16 other towns,” Robredo explained.

The leg work for these projects to happen started in 2016, a few months after she took office as vice president.

Robredo shared that Angat Buhay, her office’s flagship poverty alleviation program, was formally launched on March 21, 2017, a few months before the siege in May of the same year.

She added that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) immediately sent a permanent team to Marawi to do relief operations a few days after the siege.

Robredo herself has been there several times while the siege was ongoing to oversee the concerns of the people in the evacuation centers.

The Angat Buhay Village in Barangay Sagongsongan started turning over transitory houses to beneficiaries in 2018 and awarded housing units to displaced Marawi families in 2019.

READ: VP’s ‘Angat Buhay’ program turns over housing units for displaced Marawi families

The Angat Buhay project there also paved the way for livelihood programs and the building of classrooms and schools.

“Today, I am happy to note that a lot of good things are already happening in the province,” Robredo said.

“Hindi na po siya poorest ngayon (It is not the poorest now),” she added.

Lanao del Sur was removed from the poorest list province and now belongs to the least poor province category of the 2021 Philippine Statistics data.

Data from the Bangsamoro website also said that there was a significant decline of poverty incidence among families in Lanao del Sur—from 68 percent in 2018 to 11.4 percent in 2021.