Outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo cannot help but reminisce about the past six years now that she has less than a week in office, sharing photos that captured her many “firsts” as the country’s second-highest official.
She posted a series of photos on Friday night, June 24, following the post by her chief-of-staff, Undersecretary Philip Dy, who did the same thing.
Today, June 25, marks the last five days of Robredo in office. She will step down at noon on June 30 and begin work on her Angat Buhay Foundation, a non-government organization (NGO) patterned after the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) anti-poverty program of the said name.
In the series of photos, Robredo shared pictures of her “simple” inauguration and her first meeting with President Duterte.
“First AFP Official Function I attended. This was, I think, a day or two after the inauguration. First time to meet President Duterte also. It was during this event when I asked him if I could do a Courtesy Call on him in Malacañang, to which he agreed,” she wrote as a caption to a photo with the President while they were singing the national anthem.
“Previous to this and even before we were inaugurated, I have been trying to get an appointment, to no avail,” she remembered.
She also shared a photo in Malacañang with the President and then Special Assistant to the President Bong Go in the background. In the photo, Robredo was wearing a blue dress and white embellished coat, while Duterte wore a pair of simple slacks and a polo shirt.
The outgoing Vice President said Duterte warmly welcomed her.
Robredo had her first day of office on June 30, 2016, the day of her inauguration, which she decided needed to be “simple and low-key,” holding it at the back of her office.
She also posted photos of her visit to her then-second office at the PNB Building in Pasay City. This second office, which used to be where former Vice President Jejomar Binay held office before he transferred to the Coconut Palace, housed the admin units and support functions.
One of her first visitors at the Quezon City Reception House (QCRH) was former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, after receiving Binay at her home when she was still Vice President-elect. She was also visited by the diplomatic corps, including Ambassadors Kasuhide Ishikawa of Japan, Kim Jae Shin of South Korea, and Thierry Mathou of France.
Although Robredo’s and Duterte’s relationship would sour after only a few months in office, she was first appointed as housing secretary. The Vice President recalled the first Cabinet meeting she participated in, as well as her first day at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) office in Makati where she spent two to three days every week.
“I remember that my first few days there, the only thing I did was to read all the reports prepared by the attached agencies and meet with many stakeholders,” Robredo wrote.
As the country’s second-highest official, she was also naturally a part of the first National Security Council (NSC) meeting, which, coincidentally, would also be her last, she shared.
Robredo posted a photo of her and Duterte while in the meeting, which was also attended by former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III.
Once the official first meetings of her election as vice president died down, it was time for Robredo to go to work. She shared her first visit to Camarines Sur, her home province, after the May 2016 elections.
“We trekked to Mount Isarog to turn over a solar generator to a sitio in Bgy Del Rosario, Ocampo,” she said, adding that they also took a boat ride to Brgy. Punta Tarawal in Calabanga town to visit the site of a proposed project.
But one of her first provincial visits was to Lantapan, Bukidnon, to meet with leaders of the seven tribes. In the photo, Robredo was wearing a pink polo, which would be her campaign color come 2022.
As a vice president, she was known to be a hands-on boss who personally visited evacuation centers and oversaw disaster relief operations.
“First Disaster Relief Operations. Typhoon Ferdie hit Batanes in Sept 2016 really hard. I personally went to Basco and Itbayat to do relief operations. After this, Typhoon Lawin hit Region 2 really hard. I also personally went to Cagayan and Isabela to do relief operations,” she wrote as a caption to a photo of her walking amid the destruction caused by a typhoon.
Finally, Robredo posted a photo of something very close to her heart and something that would now define her as citizen Leni—the creation of the Angat Buhay program.
After losing her housing czar post for criticizing the government’s bloody war on drugs campaign, she had to find a way to continue her advocacy of poverty alleviation.
The creation of Angat Buhay paved the way for the OVP to answer to the many needs of Filipinos in the past six years, most prominent of these was Robredo’s initiatives during the two-year pandemic.