Vice President Leni Robredo addressed the concerns of different sectors— farmers, fisherfolk, women, indigenous peoples, and the youth— at a gathering in Bayawan, Negros Oriental on Wednesday, April 20.
Robredo said since agriculture is a huge concern for the country, she had chosen Senator Kiko Pangilinan as her Vice President. Pangilinan, himself a farmer, has been encouraging farmers to continue tilling their land, and has been working to make agriculture more profitable for small farmers and farm workers.
Speaking to farmers, Robredo brought up the rice tariffication law that opened the floodgates to imports which lowered rice prices, affecting local farmers.
“Kailangan buhusan natin ng tulong ‘yung mga rice farmers natin para bumaba ang kanilang cost of production. At hindi sila lugi, makakapag compete sila sa presyo ng mga imported,” Robredo said.
Robredo said she will update the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) to include women, and will continue the Land Tenure Program for land covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Addressing women, Robredo said she will continue to find ways for mothers to earn a living while caring for their children.
“Dapat ang pamahalaan naglalagay siya ng mga mekanismo para ‘yung nanay, kahit nag-aalaga siya ng mga anak, nakakapag hanap-buhay pa din siya,” said Robredo.
Her solution? Putting up day care centers and child minding institutions at the workplace. As an example, Robredo shared what the OVP did in Lake Sebu, where a nursery school was put up for weavers of Tinalak fabric.
“Naglagay tayo with our partners ng parang isang nursery school, doon mismo para habang nagwi-weave ‘yung mga nanay, nag-aaral ‘yung mga anak nila, hindi sila nawawalay sa kanila.
An alternate would be finding jobs that mothers could do at home, such as what the OVP did during the pandemic, having mothers sew personal protective equipment (PPE) sets at home.
Robredo also addressed the concerns of smaller fisherfolk who cannot fish in municipal waters because they are intimidated by bigger fishing vessels. Robredo said the root of this issue is corruption.
“Kaya po nakaka-buwelo ‘yung malalaki kasi grabe din ‘yung korapsyon. Kailangan i-strengthen natin ‘yung pangangalaga ng municipal waters para ‘yung mga maliliit na mangingisda natin hindi nawawalan ng hanap-buhay,” she said.
“Maasahan niyo na hindi po kami magiging kurakot kapag kami ‘yung naka-upo,” she assured the fisherfolk.
The Vice President next addressed the concerns of representatives of indigenous peoples (IPs) on ancestral domain, saying a lot of problems stem from big businessmen being given an unfair advantage.
“Sa ilalim po ng Administrasyon na Robredo-Pangilinan, ang pagsiguro po namin sa inyo papangunahan natin 'yung pag-protect sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” Robredo said. “Pag merong pagtutunggali between malalaking negosyante saka maliliit na mga Pilipino, parati pong papaboran natin 'yung mga maliliit dahil naiintindihan natin na ang proteksyon ng pamahalaan dapat nasa kanya.”
With regards to the youth, Robredo said a lot of their issues stem from the lack of proper education.
Kailangan nating tutukan 'yung early education hanggang primary grades dahil kawawa 'yung mga bata na pinapasa lang pero hindi maayos 'yung kanilang foundation kasi sila din 'yung lugi sa paghahanap ng trabaho,” she said.
Her solution? Double the budget for education. Minimize administrative work for teachers. And raise their salaries to make them competitive globally to keep the best teachers in the country.
“Dapat ang gobyerno nag-iinvest para 'yun mga teachers natin maging mahusay. Dapat kung mag-aaral 'yung mga teacher sasaluhin ng pamahalaan hindi lang 'yung tuition pero ‘yung pagbibigay sa kanila ng mga paid leaves para nakaka-concentrate sila sa pagtuturo.”
Robredo ended her discussion with a call to elect her tandem with Pangilinan into office so they can pursue all their plans for the nation.
“Sana po samahan niyo kami sa laban na ito. Maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo,” Robredo said. “Sana kung sinipagan niyo na 'yung nakaraang mga araw, lalo niyo pang sipagan ngayon para ipanalo na natin ito.” [End]