October 7, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday she wanted President Duterte to be careful with his words since his statements, once made in public, would be taken as state policy being the highest public official in the country.
“Kung bibigyan ko siya (Duterte) ng advice, sasabihin ko na sana hindi ganoon ang pananalita. Siguro ipapaalala ko sa kaniya at sa ibang mga public officials na rin na ang lahat ng sinasabi namin hindi na iyon personal sa amin. Lahat ng sinasabi namin is policy,” Robredo said.
“So, marami kaming mga personal na pakiramdam na hindi na dapat sinasabi sa publiko dahil sa aming posisyon. Ganoon siguro dapat natin ipaalala sa kaniya na siya ang ating Pangulo, that what he says is policy, kaya dapat mas maging careful,” she added.
Robredo issued the statement the day after Duterte told US President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”
Aside from Obama, Duterte has also had foul remarks for the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for their criticisms of his administration’s war on drugs.
Robredo has expressed fears that these remarks made by the President against world leaders and institutions may affect international support for the government’s anti-poverty initiatives.
“Nandoon ang pangamba dahil napakahalaga ng good relations natin with the international community. Marami tayong inaasahan na tulong galing sa kanila and bawat insidente na puwede magdulot ng strain sa relations nakakabahala,” she said.
“Tayo naman hindi tayo nabubuhay na parang isla. Marami tayong pangangailangan na hindi natin kakayanin by ourselves. Umaasa tayo sa tulong ng iba at in fact marami tayong programa na nakaasa talaga sa tulong ng international community kaya kung sa pagkabahala, nandoon ang pagkabahala… Sana hindi ito maging dahilan para i-withdraw ang commitment of support sa atin,” she added.
On Duterte’s preference for alliances with China and Russia over the Philippines’ oldest ally, the US, Robredo said we should not drop one country over the other since “there is always room for more friends.”
“Okay naman na nakikipagkaibigan tayo sa China at tsaka sa Russia but it also doesn’t mean that we have to remove some friends to pave the way for others. Ang direksyon sana mas mag-reach out to as many countries as possible,” she said.
“Puwede namang kaibigan natin ang China at US, who has always been there for us all these years. Kasi tingin ko hindi naman mutually-exclusive ang friendship natin with the US and China or Russia,” she added.
Robredo has transformed the Office of the Vice President (OVP) as a center that will link aid groups to local government units (LGUs) in need of assistance.
This has led to the OVP’s partnership with different non-governmental organizations such as the UN, EU and the World Bank to link them to anti-poverty programs in rural areas.
The OVP will hold an anti-poverty summit on October 10 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, where these partner groups will meet with the LGUs to forge project deals.
The OVP will supervise these partnerships.
Meanwhile, Robredo said these international bodies have yet to withdrawn its support for her anti-poverty programs despite Duterte’s tirades against them.
“Kahit maraming nangyayari, hindi pa rin naman kami nakakaramdam ng pag-withdraw ng support,” she said.
“The kind of support that they promised us from the start is still there. In fact, we have received several ambassadors for courtesy visits and whenever we present our anti poverty programs, all of them have signified their commitment to help,” she added. – MBL