Drawing from her decades of work as a volunteer lawyer, Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, March 31, lamented that some candidates would choose not to visit far-flung areas because of the low number of registered voters there.
The problem when public officials do not visit far-flung areas is they do not know the needs of the people there, but this is a common practice among candidates because far-flung areas tend to have fewer registered voters, Robredo said.
“Hindi sila pinupuntahan dahil kaunti naman ‘yung botong makukuha sa kanila (They don’t get visited because they will only get votes from them),” she told the crowd during the campaign rally held at the Kauswagan Longest Boardwalk in Lanao del Norte.
“Pag ganyan po iyong public official, wag po natin silang tutulungan. Dahil dapat ang tingin sa atin, mga kababayan na kailangang tulungan. Hindi dapat boto iyong tingin sa atin. Dahil kung boto lang iyong tingin sa atin, asahan na natin pag nakaupo sila, kakalimutan na naman tayo (When the public official is like that, let’s not help them because what they should see in us are countrymen who need help. They shouldn’t look at us as votes because if they look at us as votes, we can already expect that they will forget us again),” she warned.
This, the aspiring president noted, is the reason why far-flung areas have higher poverty incidence.
“Pag hindi po pinupuntahan, malayo doon sa tulong galing sa pamahalaan dahil hindi nararamdaman iyong kahirapan na pinagdadaanan (When they are not being visited, they receive little help from the government because it doesn’t feel the hardships they are going through),” Robredo explained.
During their campaign rally, Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado and other local official endorsed Robredo and her running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, a rare showing in a region whose prominent local officials have backed the Robredo-Sara (RoSa) movement.
Robredo herself has a close, almost family-like relationship with Lanao province, having launched numerous projects there through the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) Angat Buhay program.
As what has been part of her rallies, the Vice President spotted a placard which read “Orphans for Mama Leni”. She called them on stage and hugged the orphans.
They also had their Servant Leader book, which chronicled Robredo's public service, signed by the presidential candidate.
Robredo shared that this is the third time she has visited Kauswagan—the first time to visit Arnado’s arms-to-farms program and the second to turn over some farm equipment.
She praised the world-class arms-to-farms programs as it ended insurgency through reducing poverty and not through militarization.
Robredo lauded the province, too, for being 100 percent into organic farming, raising the revenues of farmers through mechanization.
The OVP itself sponsored one of Kauswagan’s program called “battleground to school ground,” which benefited more than 2,000 people there.
According to Arnado, Kauswagan received P2 million worth of assistance from OVP’s flagship Angat Buhay program.
“Ang resulta dahil sa skills training na nakuha nila, halos lahat meron ng magandang trabaho. At dahil meron ng magandang trabaho, ito ay na-translate sa mas mabuting bukas para sa mga pamilya nila (Because of the skills training that they got, almost everyone has a nice job and because everyone has a nice job, this translates to a better future for their families),” Robredo said.
“Ito po ‘yung dahilan kung bakit nabawasan ang (This is the reason why) poverty incidence dito sa inyo dahil iyong pera ng pamahalaan napupuntahan sa dapat papuntahan (was reduced here because the money of the government goes to where it should go),” she added.
This is the same promise she and Pangilinan are presenting to voters.
“Pag ang pera ng pamahalaan hindi napupunta sa korapsyon, napupunta ito para sa pinakamahihirap natin na mga kababayan. Gusto natin ipakita, na pag tapat ang gobyerno makakaasa ‘yung taumbayan ng pagbabago (If the money of the government does not go to corruption, this will go to the most impoverished of our people. We want to show that with an honest government, the people can expect change),” Robredo said.