Robredo pitches data-driven key policies in Comelec debate

Vice President Leni Robredo has a reputation for pitching data-driven policies and strategies, and she proved that during the first round of the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) presidential debate on Saturday, March 19, when she started rattling off data to back up her claims and plans.

Vice President Leni Robredo (VPLR Media Bureau)

The debate, which lasted for more than two hours at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, was attended by nine presidential candidates, except for survey frontrunner Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Robredo started off with data on the number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that had to close or slow down during the pandemic.

“Ayon po sa datos ang pinakatinamaan noong pandemic, MSMEs. Meron po tayong 99.5 perceent (According to the data, the most hit by the pandemic, MSMEs. We have 99.5 percent) of all businesses considered na (as) MSMEs. Nag-ge-generate po ito ng (This generates) 5.7 million employees. Right now, meron po tayong (we have) a little over two million na MSMEs pero 400,000 'yung nawala—nawalan ng trabaho dahil 76,000 'yung nagsara na MSMEs (of MSMEs but 400,000 lost—lost jobs because 76,000 MSMEs closed),” she said.

Asked about continuing the infrastructure program—called the Build, Build, Build—of the Duterte administration, the Vice President stated that it has to be refocused on providing public transportation to commuters.

Citing figures once more, she stressed that in Metro Manila, 88 percent of the population do not own a car while only 12 percent own private vehicles.

Robredo also did not mince words when asked about how prepared the Philippines is for another Covid-19 surge, hitting on the country’s vaccination rate, which she promised to focus on if she wins as president this coming May 2022.

“Kapag tiningnan natin ngayon 'yung datos: 58 percent pa lang 'yung tapos na sa (If we look at the data now: only 58 percent have completed their) first and second shot, 16 percent pa lang ang tapos na sa booster. Ang (only 16 percent are done with their booster. The) initial target po natin 77 million na Filipinos ang dapat vaccinated kulang pa tayo ng 13 million para maabot natin 'yung target na 'yun (is 77 million Filipinos should be vaccinated, we are still short of 13 million to reach that target),” she explained.

Aside from reaching the country’s vaccination target, the Vice President also pushed for intensive testing, tracing, and treating.

She also showcased her knowledge about the ills of the country’s education system, calling for a declaration of an “education crisis.”

The aspiring president said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that the education budget should be at least six percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Ngayon three percent lang 'yung ating budget. Three percent lang ng GDP, itaas po natin ito to six percent para matutukan po natin 'yung mga items na dapat matutukan (Now, only three percent of our budget. Only three percent of our GDP, let’s bring this up to six percent so we can focus on the items that need to be focused on),” Robredo added.

This is not the first time that Robredo used facts and figures to stand by her claims. The Vice President is known for brandishing her “resibo (receipts)” on her various projects, as well as to prove the logic behind her plans and programs.