Where does Leni Robredo stand on key issues?

In her one-on-one interview with talk show host Boy Abunda, presidential aspirant and vice president Leni Robredo talked about her stances on various issues the country is facing.

Mining

If elected president, Robredo plans on nullifying environmental ordinances issued by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. On April 14, 2021, Duterte signed Executive Order 130 – lifting a nine-year moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits in the Philippines – an act met by criticism from environmental advocates and defenders.

Robredo is a firm believer of community empowerment as an approach to sustainable mining. She first introduced the People Empowerment Bill, which allows for the establishment of People’s Councils – giving stakeholders like indigenous peoples (IPs) voting rights.

She advocates for the passage of the Land Use Bill, which would help protect areas by classifying which ones are considered “no mining zones.” She also plans on ensuring accountability by making sure that the functions of concerned government agencies will not overlap.

Robredo said that she would ensure to be “on top of everything” in her COVID-19 response, ensuring that all government units are working harmoniously. She cited three pillars in combating the coronavirus – testing, tracing, and management.

The vice president believes micromanagement is important in times of crisis, and that the Philippines must learn from helpful practices of other countries. She dislikes erratic decision-making of the government that would add to the anxiety of Filipinos.

OFWs and migration

Robredo thinks that going abroad should be a Filipino worker’s choice, and not done because of lack of opportunities in the Philippines.

She mentioned that the government can conduct programs such as retraining and skills training that would help improve the quality of employment opportunities abroad. In order to reduce the social cost, mentioned having a migrant resource office for the assistance of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)

When asked about her plan to address poverty, Robredo mentioned the Kabuhayan para sa Lahat (Livelihood for All) program, which is part of her platform for the presidency. She believes that taking a focus on local industries is important in poverty alleviation – classifying key industries into three groups: blue (maritime), green (climate jobs and manufacturing), and gold (technology and digital). For her, creating jobs is both a short and long-term solution.

She also intends to help small businesses by giving them more access to capital through low-interest loans. She also said that the government can help in market access by purchasing goods directly from farmers.

Robredo wants to ensure that there will be unemployment insurance as a fallback to workers who have been removed from their jobs. She is also in favor of providing economic aid, considering that the country is in crisis.

The vice president wants to regain the public’s trust in government through transparency and accountability.

Social media and pornography

Robredo said that social media platforms that show pornography must be held accountable, especially if it is easily accessible to children. She sees the need for a dynamic policy that would do just that.

The government can only do so much, however, as she pointed out that this problem required “collaboration in the community.”

Rape-related abortion

With regards to rape-related abortion, Robredo said that she was conflicted on the data. While she was a member of a pro-choice non-government organization (NGO), as an individual of faith, she is against it.

Robredo, however, is open to discussion regarding this policy, although she said that it would be a difficult “balancing act.”

Illegal drugs

She said that the ICAD can be maximized and employ a “whole of government approach” by giving its leadership to the policy-focused Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), and that the priority should be catching suppliers of illegal drugs instead of street-level users.

Robredo also intends to abolish the bloody Oplan Tokhang, which has led to thousands of casualties through Duterte’s term. For Leni, drug use is an addiction, and it was far more important to institutionalize community-based rehabilitation.

Philippine debt

Robredo said that she would “honor the commitments” made by previous administrations should she be elected to office.

The vice president seeks for the proper appropriation of public funds. She wants the government to put its money on investments that would “return a thousandfold” and eventually increase the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Considering that a significant part of public funds goes to corruption, she emphasized the need for anti-corruption mechanisms and government transparency. Robredo is in favor of a full disclosure bill, wherein all government expenses would be made available to the public.

West Philippine Sea

Robredo stressed that she wants to “nurture the relationship with China based on mutual respect and adherence to international law”, all while upholding the arbitral court decision on the West Philippine Sea.

She believes that the situation does not need to escalate to war, however, she seeks to improve the country’s relationship with allies and further strengthen national defense through funding.

Presidential qualifications

While Leni agrees that the constitution’s provisions on presidential qualifications are “contentious”, she believes that it is better to remain that way so as to not prevent the less privileged from running for president.

She mentioned the need for a change in the political system to give more opportunities for the less privileged, especially with the existence of patronage politics and the fact that it is costly to run for office.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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