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    Message of Vice President Leni Robredo Engineers for Leni Town Hall Meeting

    Message of Vice President Leni Robredo
    Engineers for Leni Town Hall Meeting 

    [START 00:00]

    REACH PEÑAFLOR: Yes po, ma'am VP Leni, ang nanay po ni Aika, ni Tricia, at ni Jillian, isa pong karangalan na makasama namin kayo ngayong hapon. Ngayon pa lang naiiyak na ko eh kasi itinataya ko na po lahat pati pato't panabla ko in supporting you dahil alam ko ito na po 'yung laban na dapat ilaban natin. Sige po. VP Leni? If you can already turn on your video po. We are now ready.

    VP LENI: Hi everyone. Sir, naka-ano na ko, naka-unmute na ko, naka-start video na ko. Kumusta kayo lahat? Naka-mute ka yata Engineer. Naka-mute yata po kayo.

    REACH PEÑAFLOR: Ay, sorry po. Ako po si Engineer Reach Peñaflor, isa pa akong river warrior, isa pong chemical engineer at dati po akong nagsilbi sa Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. Ngayon po ako 'yung tumatayo na bilang host po for this afternoon. So, kanina po in-introduce ko kayo na, 'yun, noong nag-announce po kayo noong October 7, na ka-kandidato kayo, pinagdasal ko po kayo and readily may answer na sinabi sa akin. Sabi sa akin ng Lord, God will give the Philippines a she, S-H-E, someone who will save the Philippines, heals the Philippines, and elevates the Philippines. So, walang iba po 'yun kung hindi kayo po. So, this afternoon mga Kakampinks, Katropa, Engineers For Leni, at lahat na po ng sambayanang Pilipinas, i-welcome po natin si VP Leni Robredo [Cheers].

    VP LENI: Good afternoon everyone. Unang-una po sa lahat nagpapasalamat ako sa imbitasyon to join you this afternoon. Actually matagal ko na kayong– matagal ko nang alam 'yung existence niyo at alam ko na napakarami niyo nang ginagawa and being with you this afternoon gives me an opportunity to thank each and everyone of you, hindi lang personal– sana nga personal pero dahil sa surge ay virtual lang muna tayo.

    Maraming mga– even before I announced, there have been many programs already sa OVP, sa aming Angat Buhay Program na nakatulong na namin 'yung iba't ibang mga asosasyon ng mga engineers all over the Philippines whenever magla-launch kami ng isang programa sa isang lugar lalo na kasi we have been doing housing projects in many disaster areas. Halimbawa, sa Marawi, 'yung mga typhoon Rolly and Ulysses na devastated areas, tapos ngayon paumpisa na ulit ay 'yung rehabilitation for typhoon Odette devastated areas. Kadalasan meron kaming partners na mga engineering associations and even during the pandemic, naka-partner namin 'yung ibang mga engineering associations when we were doing temporary shelters para sa– para sa ating mga health workers.

    So, gusto kong magpasalamat sa inyong lahat for all the work that you had been doing not just to help us pero even those that you are doing independently of the Office of the Vice President. Alam kong napakarami 'yun, pero binigyan ako ng– when you were already organized, 'yung Engineers For Leni, I know that you organized as early as October 11. Gusto kong magpasalamat na ang dami niyo nang mga– ang dami niyo nang mga natulong not just for the OVP but for the campaign, for the campaign in general alam ko na tinutulungan niyo kami in providing inputs doon sa programa namin, ‘yung policy framework namin na Hanap Buhay Para sa Lahat, tinutulungan niyo kami sa iba't ibang caravan in Quezon City,kayo 'yung mga unang nag-participate sa caravan, 'yung pag-put up ng mga malalaking tarps, ang alam ko meron sa Santo Tomas, Batangas tsaka sa Tondo. Some of you have been doing lugawan activities, 'yung iba naman outreach activities, pati 'yung pink lanterns, alam 'kong ginagawa niyo 'yun. And you also have been donating for our typhoon Odette relief operations, so gusto ko lang kunin 'yung pagkakataon na magpasalamat sa inyo because of that, kasi kahit hindi pa tayo nagkakausap, ang dami niyo nang initiatives na ginagawa.

    Ako– ako siguro, ano lang, very personal sa akin 'yung pag hanga sa mga engineers. 'Yung asawa ko engineer. 'Yung asawa ko, nag-graduate ng double degree, double engineering degree sa La Salle. 'Di ko alam kung meron siya ditong kaklase, pero he graduated– ano siya, La Salle '83, IME tsaka ME. At kaya ko siya binabanggit kasi I think a large part of his being a very good public servant, CEO of our city, was because of his training as an engineer. Tingin ko napakalaking, napakalaking uh, contribution 'nun to the kind of leader that he was.

    Having said that, alam ko that before this sample meeting, nagkaroon na tayo ng joint na pre-meeting, joint na pre-meeting with our policy team, where you submitted to us, you discussed with us many of the important things, many of the topics that hindi siguro topics, pero many of the advocacies that are important to you. So gusto ko lang siyang bigyan ng konting pahapyaw, nitong opening speech ko to you, just to be able to express to you that we, that we heard you, will listen to your proposals, and we have sat down with our policy already and titingnan namin which of the advocacies we can commit to.

    So siguro daanin ko lang, if you can permit me, 'yung number one, 'yung addressing brain drain. Ay, di ba? It is something that is very important for the group. How do we address brain drain? Nakita ko 'yung mga recommendations ninyo and we have decided to do a policy paper of our own, pero ito ay, mas– mas ano lang– dahil wala tayong masyadong oras, mas ano lang– mas pahapyaw lang. 'Yung una 'yung increasing the budget of research and development. Right now, kasi [coughs] 'yung budget natin ay .1% lang, .1% lang pero kung tingnan natin 'yung ASEAN average, ay, yung ASEAN average between .3 to .5% so 'yun 'yung gusto natin na habulin. Na ‘yung minimum na maging R&D, R&D– ano 'to, budget natin, at .3%. Saan mapupunta 'yung increase in R&D budget na at least .3%? Ang number 1, 'eto 'yung pag-insure ng industrialization of STEM products. Suggestion niyo din ito through the creation of Regional Excellence Centers, and we have– we have discussed focusing this on five major industries: number 1, agriculture; number 2, medicine; number 3, community resilience; number 4, 'yung environment; and number 5, energy. 'Yung Regional Excellence Centers, inaasahan natin to leverage 'yung skill and competency of each region, or the location of the Regional Centers for Excellence.

    And ito din tinitingnan natin na ‘yung mga centers will become the DOST satellites that will manage the job [inaudible 8:28] level of competency of scientists and engineers. Ito, suggestions niyo ‘to na to benchmark this with the other ASEAN– ASEAN countries. ‘Yung pangalawa doon, ‘yung sa education, to implement a more integrated STEM curri– curriculum. Again, modeled from progressive ASEAN countries from the high school to the tertiary level which is oriented to focused industries. ‘Yung lima na minention natin kanina with early practicum in research and development. This would include increased spending allocation para sa mga STEM schools, this would include not just the science high schools pero pati ‘yung mga state universities and colleges, to increase the capacity and capability according to the aligned STEM requirement of the regional excellence centers. Who will be providing for post-graduate studies for STEM as defined– are defined as part of the competency development of the regional centers.

    ‘Yung pangalawa ‘yung on agriculture na ang napansin natin na much of the budget of– of the Department of Agriculture is on rice. So ‘yung tinitingnan natin is to balance the priorities of the DA budget and increase the allocation for the other– for the other sectors or the other crops– crops apart from– apart from rice. To study the best practices of other countries in decreasing– ang pinaka problema natin ngayon, very high cost of production di ba? Very high cost of production and ‘yung number one driver ng high cost of production ‘yung– ‘yung cost of inputs. Halimbawa, ang pinaka-tinitingnan na– namin ngayon for the past– for the past three years already halimbawa ‘yung cost of fertilizer. ‘Yung– ‘yung presyo ngayon ng fertilizer from 900 per kilo to 2,000 per kilo. Everywhere we go, ito ‘yung hinaing sa amin– ito ‘yung hinaing sa amin ng mga farmers na because of the very high cost of inputs, ang kanilang cost of production napakataas na, kaya hindi na sila kumikita. And we all know that the country is highly dependent on imports so– so ito ang– ang tinitingnan natin is to maximize available local and registered fertilizers which are being tested and found to be effective para hindi na tayo umaangkat nang umaangkat.

    Also, create an agriculture master plan. Ito ‘yung kulang sa atin, o road map with the goal of supplying products on an industrial scale. Ito– ito gusto ko lang i-share sa inyo na marami kaming programa under our Angat Buhay program with farmers. And one of the things na very common lalo na sa mga ‘yung– ‘yung tinatawag natin na mga magsasaka na nasa laylayan ng lipunan, talagang wala ‘yung mindset sa pag-produce on an industrial level. Talagang ‘yung mindset ng karamihan ano talaga subsistence farming. Subsistence farming such that ‘yung napakaliit na– napakaliit na lupain nila ginagastos pa lahat sa cash crops na para– parang ang sukat ng success para sa kanila kung gaano kadami na crops. And alam natin na pag sobrang dami ng crops, ang quantity kaunti, talagang subsistence lang ‘yun and hindi talaga nakaka-supply on an industrial level so walang value added, mahirap [inaudible 12:06] to the market kasi mahirap– mahirap ‘yung costing, etcetera. We have been helping farmer communities already in Bicol and in Iloilo, and in some parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region. And ito ‘yung ating pinu-push, how to be able to transition from subsistence farming to catering to more institutional markets. So ‘yung mga master plans can help this.
    ‘Yung pangatlo ‘yung energy. ‘Yung energy sa atin, alam natin ‘yung commitments natin sa COP28. Ang sabi natin, carbon neutral by 2050. 2022 na ngayon, pero wala pa tayong nakikitang klarong roadmap paano natin maaabot ‘yung pagiging carbon neutral by 2050. So ano-ano ‘yung pinaka– may tatlong components ‘yung programa sa energy.
    ‘Yung isa doon ‘yung energy supply—‘yung accessibility saka affordability, tapos ‘yung pangatlo ‘yung governance. As far as governance is concerned, ‘yung number one na kailangan nating ayusin, ‘yung ma-realign ‘yung mandates ng DOE saka ERC para maayos, ma-streamline kung paano nila i-iimplement ‘yung existing laws to focus on energy security na walang overlapping of functions, tapos naiiwasan din ‘yung mga gaps. Dapat ‘yung gobyerno, tini– hindi tinitignan ‘yung sarili niya na pulis; pero dapat tinitignan ‘yung sarili niya na driver ng investments sa energy, saka ensuring that transparency and level-playing field para mas marami tayong na-aaya na mag-invest. So papaano ‘yung transition natin— papaano ‘yung transition natin from a coal-dependent energy source to more sustainable alternatives?
    Ngayon wala pa tayong plano papaano ireretire ‘yung mga coal plants — kung saan ang ating suggestion, ang pag-retire nito, kung ano ‘yung pinaka nag-eemit ng more carbon in the environment, ‘yun ‘yung mga unang i-retire. So ang pinakamahalaga na meron nang roadmap, meron na tayong mga milestones na kailangang ma-achieve in the short-term para ma-achieve natin iyong ating commitments for 2050. Papaano tayo magta-transtion, ‘yun nga, from a more coal-dependent energy source to an energy mix na mas ano na siya, mas renewables.
    Maraming kailangang gawin pa— halimbawa, ‘yung Philippine Energy Plan, ito ire-reorient to be the roadmap, to increase our levels of energy self-sufficiency. Dapat — as I’ve said — dapat meron tayong targets: 5 years, 10 years, 20 years milestones. ‘
    Yung pangalawa ‘yung affordability, kailangan nating i-assess ‘yung interpretation ngayon ng VAT implementing rules kasi napaka—‘yung implementation ng VAT rules, pati ‘yung mga components sa electricity bill natin na non-value adding ay china-charge pa rin ng VAT. So, maraming kailangan asikasuhin pagdating sa energy. Halimbawa sa supply, magkakaproblema na tayo sa supply pero ‘yung mga Malampaya service contracts ay hindi pa din ine-extend despite the applications already. Marami ‘yung mga mawawalan sa atin ng energy source, pero ‘yung tanong, ano ‘yung ginagawa natin to make sure na hindi tayo magkulang sa energy supply.
    Pagdating naman sa health – eto nira-run down ko lang in accordance with what you discussed with us – So ‘yun ‘yung pagdating sa health, nasabi na namin ito sa aming Kalayaan sa COVID Plan – is to strengthen community-based– community-based na health access by strengthening rural health units para hindi centralized masyado ‘yung pagbigay ng health services. Capacitating, capacitating the local government units, capacitating the RHUs. Halimbawa, ‘yung deployment of vaccines, ilan ba sa mga local government units ang meron nang cold chain equipment bago nakakapag-store? Hiring more personnel, training local health workers, ensuring that the vaccine distribution networks, masisiguro na makaka-prevent siya ng spread ng COVID na ngayon we are going through the worst surge that we had, we have gone through so far.

    ‘Yung pag-lift ng personnel salary cap for health workers at the time of the pandemic. Our goal is to give our health workers the right salary to prevent them from being forced to look for work abroad. ‘Yun ‘yung problema natin ngayon, kahit may mga hospital beds pang available, wala nang available na personnel. To also strengthen our [inaudible 17:28] and our capacity to detect variants of COVID-19 for better disease surveillance. Hindi ko alam if you are following na ‘pag may report na na ito pala ay Omicron, ang tagal nang– ang tagal nang magaling ‘yung pasyente kasi it takes us forever. It takes us forever bago natin ma-detect.

    So, dapat ‘yung capacities natin locally, maayos na. Mabigyan siya ng sapat na– sapat na focus saka sapat na resources for us to develop our own vaccines, to develop our own medicines, so that we will not be dependent on other countries like how we have been dependent on them all throughout the pandemic.

    For information technology and infrastructure, ang number one dito is to pass the open– Open Access to Data Act, which will lower the barriers of the data transfer market. Ito ‘yung parating problema ko eh. So, it also, to encourage more players to come in, to lower the cost of deploying broadband facilities and make internet service more accessible to Filipinos. Marami itong problema. Marami itong problema. When we talk to telcos, parang multilevel ‘yung mga problema nila, pati ‘yung mga local government regulations na umiiba-iba. ‘Yung– ‘yung kahirapan in investing, hindi siya masyadong investment-friendly.

    So, marami, marami tayong kailangang ayusin, pero the hope is with the passage of the Open Access to Data Act, this will strengthen the powers of the NTC to prevent monopolies and mandate interconnection of data transmission amongst industry players. Na– na-mention niyo during the– na-mention niyo during the discussions ‘yung using the national ID system for a centralized and consolidated data repository. Ito inumpisahan na natin, pero sobrang bagal ng operationalization. So– sobrang useful sana siya during the time of the pandemic, pero sobrang bagal niya that until now, we are not, we are still unable to use the centralized database system.

    Tapos, ‘yung establishment of One Health, kung ito ‘yung centralized health repository ng for vaccination, medical records, PhilHealth, ito, personal din ‘yung aming experience dito. We are doing free teleconsultation and it is very difficult to have access to patient data para sa mga doktor to be able to help them assess the medical condition of the patients. Pero kung meron sanang One Health na repository ng data, mas madali na.

    So– so ang wishlist natin is to be able to establish electronic and streamline process for permit applications, for payment of taxes, for registration. Nararamdaman natin ito ngayon. Kung hindi pa siya– kung hindi pa siya electronic, number one, pag person-to-person, ang– ano ito– ang danger ng corruption andiyan.

    Pangalawa, ngayon na hindi tayo lumalabas sa mga bahay, mas madali sana kung everything is– can be electronically done. Also, the use of big data analytics for corruption detection and prevention, and fraud analysis. 'Yung data analytics parang hindi pa natin nama-maximize. Hindi pa natin nama-maximize 'yung opportunity, na– where many other countries are already maximizing the use of big data for them to– to do policy, plan for programs etc.

    Tapos 'yung number six – I think this is the last – 'yung sustainable and resilient communities. Ito, it strikes a very important chord, lalo na post-Typhoon Odette. 'Yung– 'yung una, ang daming naging problema. Ang daming naging problema because of the effect of– because of the damage brought by Typhoon Odette. Until now, almost a month after– after it struck, marami pang mga communities ang walang kuryente. Marami pang mga– mga communities ang walang drinking water. Maraming communities ang wala pang signal. Maraming mga houses ang kailangan pang i-rebuild.

    So, ito kailangan talaga natin na i-prioritize na infrastructure 'yung building back better. Kanina – siguro Sec. Babes is here with us now – kanina we– Sec. Babes was just briefing us na – which we fully agreed – na dapat isa sa mga– isa sa mga, ano ito, urgent na infrastructure na programa ng pamahaalan 'yung building back better in the face of– of climate change. Ito ang mga– ang mga typhoons natin ngayon, mga sobrang mabangis na, na dapat– dapat iniisip na natin kasi I– I don't know how many of you here– I don't know how many of you here live in areas which are forever affected by typhoons. Ako galing akong Bicol.

    Pag hindi talaga nag-build back better, 'yung mga communities, lalo na 'yung mga coastal communities na year in and year out, pag may bagyo, laging tinatamaan. Parang in the long run, mas costly pa for the government. And marami pang lives na na-eendanger, 'yung properties ‘yung damage, hindi talaga nakakabangon kaagad.

    So, in building sustainable and resilient communities, kailangan talaga itong i-take into consideration. How to build back better in the face of 'yung– 'yung effects of climate change. Tapos 'yung making sure na 'yung solid waste management facilities, waste to energy efforts in [inaudible 23:26] areas, tapos 'yung– 'yung passage of important legislations–

    [inaudible 23:34 to 23:41]

    JOY MADAMBA: Ma'am na-mute po kayo, ma'am.

    VP LENI: Okay na ba? Ayan. Ayan. Hindi ko alam kung alin 'yung hindi niyo narinig, pero anyway, wrapping up na kasi kulang 'yung oras natin. Pero 'yung– 'yung rundown ko lang this was the summary of the paper that was done by representatives from your group and our policy team. And these are the things we're committing ourselves to.

    Kulang pa ito. Kulang pa ito, but parang response ito to– to the ones you recommended. And 'yung nabanggit ko lang dito, ito 'yung work in progress of what our teams have been discussing.

    So, ayun. I hope I was able to summarize every– so– sorry ah, binibilisan ko lang kasi kulang 'yung oras natin, pero I hope I was able to summarize what was discussed during the paper.

    [END 24:38]

     

    Posted in Transcripts on Jan 11, 2022