Robredo says it’s a ‘blessing’ to do well; reflects on difficulties as VP

Published June 26, 2022, 12:18 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo looked back at her six-year stint as the country’s second-highest official, saying she had no regrets despite the difficulties faced because she was up against the administration.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP photo)

Robredo, the de facto leader of the opposition, was removed from her post as the housing czar months into the Duterte administration and never held a Cabinet post in the past six years.

But this did not stop her from pursuing her advocacies even if her office had limited funds and was primarily a ceremonial one.

“Looking back, iyong lahat ng mga kahirapan na binigay sa amin (the difficulties given to us), actually iyon ang nagpahusay sa amin. Syempre, mas gugustusin namin mas madali, mas gugustuhin namin kapag kailangan sana ng tulong ng opisina namin tutulungan kami (that made us do well. Of course, we would have wanted it eassier, we would have wanted our office to receive the help we needed),” Robredo said during the last episode of her “BISErbisyong Leni” radio show on Sunday, June 26.

“Pero dahil hindi kami tinuring na kakampi, hindi kami na tinuring na kabahagi ng pamahalaan, natuto kami na maghanap ng paraan (But because we weren’t treated as an ally, we weren’t treated as part of the government, we learned to find ways). And to my mind iyon ang nagpahusay sa amin kasi kapag mahirap ka nagiging mahusay ka (that made us do well because with hardship, you become excellent),” she added.

Although the past six years had been difficult for her and her staff, the outgoing Vice President assured she has “no regrets.”

“Ayaw na namin i-kwento pa iyong dinaanan pero para sa amin iyon ang (We don’t want to tell the story of what we went through anymore but for us, that’s the) blessing. Ang kahirapan talaga iyong (The hardship is really the) blessing sa amin (for us),” she said, adding that they might’ve taken it for granted if it had been easy.

READ: Countdown to June 30: Robredo recalls many ‘firsts’ of her VP stint

This same mindset has empowered her to start Angat Buhay NGO, a non-government entity that would be the continuation of her anti-poverty program as vice president, which will be launched on July 1.

As a vice president, Robredo noted that her office has no real mandate except for ceremonial duties.

But after the election, she was clear that she wanted to do more with the opportunity given to her.

“Kailangan pag-isipan talaga papano mas bibigyan ng mas malaking mandato yung vice president. Kung di ka masyado naging (We need to think about how to give a bigger mandate to the vice president. If you are not) creative, sayang opisina (the office is a waste),” she lamented.

Through her work at Angat Buhay, which started in October 2016, she realized the “power of private partnerships.”

It is this same power that she hoped would fuel her new venture into non-government organization since her background has always been in development work.

Robredo shared that her Angat Buhay NGO will have a health and education component to continue assistance to impoverished communities.

READ: Robredo to pursue ‘new chapter’ as Angat Buhay NGO leader

With only five days left in the office, she is already preparing to become citizen Leni once more, while her three daughters went back to their private lives after the elections.

“Lahat ng mga anak ko gusto ng tahimik na buhay (All my children want a quiet life),” she said, sharing that her new NGO is her “primary concern” heading into a private chapter of her life.

Robredo will also be a part of the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN) in a part-time capacity.