Thousands of Mindoreño supporters erupted in cheers when Vice President Leni Robredo danced for the first time in her presidential campaign at MindoRosas: The Occidental Mindoro People's Rally.
Robredo joined the Youth for Leni in performing the traditional Mangyan dance after her introduction at the rally on Wednesday, April 6 at San Jose Municipal Plaza in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. It was her way of paying tribute to Mindoro's indigenous peoples, the Mangyan Tribe.
Robredo has visited Occidental Mindoro multiples times as Vice President and has worked with various communities, assisting with rural development, providing financial assistance, conducting relief operations, and promoting women's empowerment. The Office of the Vice President (OVP) implemented 36 projects in 11 LGUs in Occidental Mindoro from 2017 to 2022, totaling Php9,842,158.29.
Robredo said that despite having a limited budget, the OVP was able to assist marginalized communities due to its zero-corruption policy.
“Ano po 'yung resulta kung walang korapsyon? Mas maraming naseserbisyohan na mga kababayan natin. Dito lang po sa inyo sa Occidental Mindoro, tuwing may sakuna nandito po kami,” Robredo said.
During her term, Robredo was involved in disaster response in the area. When Typhoon Josie hit in 2018, 5,000 families in Mumbarao received relief supplies. After Typhoon Tisoy slammed Calintaan, Magsaysay, Rizal, and San Jose in 2019, rice packs were distributed to 6,406 families and 1,588 individuals, while Typhoon Ursula victims were given rice packs to 7,200 families in Calintaan, Magsaysay, Rizal, and San Jose in 2020.
Robredo said she is aware of the hardships and challenges Mindoreños face because of her frequent visits to the province. She says she will personally oversee the development of a solution to the province's electricity crisis.
““Mga sanay sa brownout for Leni.” Pero ‘di ba dapat hindi tayo nasasanay, kasi ‘yung kuryente basic na pangangailangan natin. Ang akin lang pong mapapangako sa inyo, ‘pag ako po Pangulo, ako mismo ang tututok sa mga bagay na ito,” Robredo said.
With the current agricultural issue, specifically onion production, Robredo has made agriculture one of her top priorities. She has pledged to strengthen agriculture, the region's primary source of income.
“'Yung problema natin, binisita ito ni Senator Kiko kanina, 'yung mga "Nalugi sa Sibuyas for Leni." Ito po, hindi natin papayagan pag tayo ay naging pangulo na pag may mga ganitong sitwasyon, hindi natin sila mabibigyan ng ayuda. Alam ko po na napaka-heartbreaking na nangyari dito sa mga sibuyas farmers natin, gagawin po natin 'yung lahat para makatulong sa kanila.”
Earlier in the day, Robredo visited the fisherfolk community in San Roque 1, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where she was seen wearing tsinelas, as she frequently does when meeting with communities, symbolizing her people-centered, grassroots-oriented leadership style.
The group was led by Mindoro22, the men whose boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel in Recto Bank in June 2019. The OVP through its Angat Buhay Partners, provided financial assistance worth Php1.7 million pesos as well as GPS fish finders to the fishermen.
Some decided to discontinue fishing as their primary source of income after the incident, and instead used the cash provided by the OVP to start new businesses such as sari-sari stores, small canteens, and "manukan" in their barangay.
Mindoro22 has released a manifesto of support for the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket in the 2022 elections, stating they value Robredo's leadership and presence in times of need. They noted she was the only national government official who stood up to the Chinese aggressor in 2019.