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Comprehensive Plan Ready To Address Pandemic – Leni

Comprehensive Plan Ready To Address Pandemic – Leni
Screenshot of Vice President Leni Robredo during a virtual forum organized by the Rotary Club of Manila on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, Oct. 14, bared her priorities on her first 100 days in office should she win the presidential elections next year.

 

Speaking at a virtual forum organized by the Rotary Club of Manila, the Vice President said they already have a comprehensive plan to deal with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. These include a boost in testing, contact tracing, treatment and vaccination to control the spread of COVID-19.

“Because we are in the middle of the pandemic, the first order of business will really be controlling the pandemic – focusing all our efforts on decreasing the number of COVID cases dramatically so we can fully reopen the economy,” she said.

“To do this, we must realign the national budget so that it will be more akin to addressing the pandemic,” she added, stressing the need to strengthen the healthcare system by improving access to hospitals, building more facilities and providing more support to frontliners.

She vowed to implement a whole-of-government approach in addressing the pandemic, citing their initiatives that tapped various stakeholders to address people’s needs.

The Vice President cited the programs and projects that her office was able to implement despite meager resources amid the pandemic. These include shuttle services and temporary shelters for medical frontliners, mass testing and teleconsultations – all for free – along with online platforms for job matching, help for small businesses, community marts, learning hubs and others.

Robredo also stressed the need to strengthen government institutions to prevent corruption and ensure transparency and accountability among public officials.

“A lot of focus will be on governance… on fixing the kind of politics that we have. I see fixing, strengthening of electoral laws. I will be doing a lot of effort into making sure that all the systems that will make corruption difficult will be at hand,” she said.

“A lot of focus will be poured into making sure that whatever little money we have will be judiciously and prudently used for what we need now,” she added.

‘Martial law not needed’

Asked about the need for martial law to address the pandemic, the Vice President maintained that it is not necessary as there are already laws that can help the country get through the crisis “if only government was more efficient… (and) accountable.”

“I don’t think there’s any need for martial law… There are a lot of things that we can do now which does not necessitate emergency powers,” she added.

She reiterated her frustration over corruption allegations regarding the procurement of COVID-19 supplies, expressing hope that the ongoing investigations will get to the bottom of it.

“Any kind of corruption at any stage is unforgivable because we are in the middle of the pandemic,” Robredo said.

“The people deserve clean, honest and accountable government, most especially in times of crisis,” she added.

Participatory governance

In addition to ensuring transparency and accountability, Robredo said institutionalizing participatory governance is an effective way to address corruption.

She cited the experience of Naga City when her husband, the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, established a people’s council when he was the mayor.

“People have a platform where they can directly participate in planning, in monitoring, in evaluating projects. Budgets are not passed before they are presented to the people’s council,” said the Vice President.

“The very concept of when ordinary people are there to monitor every single thing the government is doing, then governments are forced to be very faithful in the way it conducts its regular business,” she added.

If elected president, Robredo vowed to set up platforms and give more space for people to directly participate in governance.