8 October 2016
Poverty is a complicated issue. In combating it, we need to look beyond our political lenses to be able to make a difference to our fellow Filipinos who suffer from it everyday.
This was what Vice President Leni Robredo said as she looked back on her first 100 days in office.
VP Leni met with private corporations, civil society organizations, international and humanitarian organizations that focused on her core advocacies of health and nutrition, education, hunger and food security, rural development and women empowerment.
“Kalahati ng linggo nasa Manila para magtrabaho, kalahati ng linggo umiikot sa communities. My team and I have considered devoting a lot of time towards meeting our country’s most marginalized communities,” she added.
She went to the farthest municipalities in the country, prioritizing the smallest of towns with high incidence of poverty such as Pola, Oriental Mindoro, Palo, Leyte, and Kauswagan, Lanao del Sur.
“As of the latest reports, over 26 million of our people remain mired in poverty, while another 12 million Filipinos continue to lead lives of extreme impoverishment. Napakarami pa ring mahihirap,” shared VP Leni in her speech during the CBCP 38th Anniversary Celebration in Leyte last month.
“But going by mere numbers puts us at risk of forgetting the ordinary Filipino who suffers from the brutal injustice of poverty. Statistics can unwittingly erase the face of the poor Filipino and render them invisible,” she added.
As she redefines her office, strategies were based on accurate data. She explored concrete partnerships between the private sector and the local governments.
“It is a partnership of two parties finding the best solutions to the complex problems of the world,” she added.
“Many of our donor partners have expressed gratitude for the lessons they have learned through our collaborative work and how they share such lessons to other countries that may have similar problems and challenges to face,” she shared.
In aid of poverty alleviation, VP Leni highlighted the need for cooperation and partnership that will fuel LGU projects.
“In pursuing such a mission, one thing is undeniable: no single group can do this by themselves,” said VP Leni.
“The Philippine government, for example, cannot succeed in its anti-poverty efforts without the support of civil society, development partners, and the Filipino public. No matter how well-intentioned our campaign is against poverty, we will achieve little if we do not work together,” she emphasized.
As a culminating activity for the visits around the country and meetings with partners, the Office of the Vice President will be holding the Partnerships Against Poverty Summit on October 10 that aims to present the anti-poverty framework and establish the OVP’s role in bridging partners and marginalized communities.
One thousand individuals representing different sectors are expected to attend, including international non-government organizations, civil society organizations, local government units, people’s organizations and sectoral representatives, academic institutions, faith-based groups, oversight bodies, and other partners in development.
“We like to think that it’s a human response to show mercy and compassion regardless of our nationalities, our race, our religion, and even our political beliefs. It is a testament to our shared humanity,” the former representative of the third district of Camarines Sur said.
“Our diversity and difference must never be a barrier to reach out to each other when anyone is in need. The problems we face require building bridges, not walls,” she added.
A lawyer for the poor, Robredo provided free legal aid to the marginalized sectors of society, including farmers, fishermen and abused women for a long time before becoming the vice president of the country.