LESS IS MORE FOR LENI AFTER VP STINT
ARIC JOHN SY CUA
The Manila Times
FORMER vice president Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s workload has lessened since she left the Office of the Vice President, with mainly programs of the non-government organization (NGO) Angat Buhay occupying her time. Speaking from the United States and battling jet lag via Facebook Live on Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila) one year after the announcement of her run for the presidency, Robredo said she continues to believe in the spirit of volunteerism. “Even if we’re no longer in position, it feels so light because you are there, especially during disasters, our volunteer groups mobilized on the ground,” she told supporters in Filipino. “When we were still in the OVP (Office of the Vice President), even if the office was there, it was not easy, but because you are there, it feels lighter and you were quick to mobilize,” Robredo said. Angat Buhay helps people hit by disasters, most recently victims of Super Typhoon “Karding.”With its educational advocacies, it has partnered with several schools across the country, more recently, on their Facebook page. Angat Buhay teamed up with De La Salle Santiago Zobel School “to become partners in providing venues for volunteerism among its students and personnel for the benefit of marginalized communities.” It also launched the program, a threemonth literacy and nutrition project for Grade 1 non-readers in public schools in Naga City, Camarines Sur, Robredo’s home province. The NGO runs community learning hubs for education, Bayanihan e-Konsulta for medical matters, including Covid-19, and the #AngatBukas: Lusog, Galing, Sigla convergence program for health and nutrition. Robredo is in the United States to begin her fellowship with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is staying with daughter Tricia, who is also studying at Harvard’s medical school. Her youngest daughter, Jillian, is in New York and oldest daughter Aika is teaching at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. Robredo has announced in a separate Facebook post that she will soon be releasing a coffee table book on her 2022 campaign for Malacanang, one year after her decision to run for president. She revealed her book’s title, We are the Light, which focuses on the election campaign. “After the elections, one of the things I really wanted to do was to write about my experience from this extraordinary journey, people’s campaign (from the time I was still deciding until the end of our people’s campaign),” Robredo’s post said. “I also want to take the time to thank our volunteers, who keep the spirit of bayanihan alive. I’ve been seeing so many posts, remembering when our movement was born last year,” she added. Robredo wrote that the country can do so much more with all the memories shared by her volunteers. “The memories being shared by our volunteers today remind us that we can do so much more for our country,” she said, adding, “Let us continue to be the guide to all those who love our country, that we had shown in the past year. Service does not pick colors. Let us continue. Helping continues for others and for the country.” The book will be available for preorders soon, Robredo said. At the start of her Facebook Live, she said there are things to be thankful for despite the election results. “Despite the election results, there are many things we must be thankful for,” Robredo also told supporters in Filipino. “What had happened during the elections was unprecedented and all of those who strived and sacrificed even if there were many disappointments because of the results, I think we can all agree that we had a very different campaign. The happiness, the feeling of being in the rallies, it feels very different.” The former vice president and 2022 candidate for president proceeded to read her supporters’ comments during Facebook Live.