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    Vice President Leni Robredo Interview with Cito Beltran Agenda with Cito Beltran, News5

    Vice President Leni Robredo Interview with Cito Beltran
    Agenda with Cito Beltran, News5


    [START 00:49]

    CITO BELTRAN: Good morning, good morning, good morning! It’s January 12, 2022. It’s a Wednesday, and for me it is the fifth day under quarantine isolation after we tested positive last Saturday. So, medyo maganda pa rin naman po ang ating pakiramdam and it’s a reminder to everyone out there, please take good care of yourselves. If you can, stay home. Huwag na po kayong maggagala o ika nga eh mamasyal pa kasi baka ang mapasyalan ninyo, ospital.

    Okay, and today, we will have a very special guest. Hindi po ito concert, ‘no, na ‘pag sinabing special guest kasi hindi pa alam kung sino ‘yung makukuha. Meron po tayong special guest. But before that, let’s go on with our daily starter, okay.

    And today, medyo mahaba-haba ang ating daily starter: Do not forget this one thing, dear friends. With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    And that is from the second book of Peter, chapter 3, verse 8 and 9. Okay, ‘yan po ang ating daily starter. And, sabi nga nila God is three ways of answering your prayer, and that is either a yes; or yes, but not now; or no, I have something better.

    Anyway, let’s now go to the front page of the Philippine Star for the news. And today, January 12, 2020, the headline of the Philippine Star is “Government sets purchase limit for paracetamol and flu medicines.” You will only be allowed, puwede lang po kayong makabili ng dalawang banig. Two mats or for individuals, two mats. Kumbaga, 20 tablets po ‘yun kung sampu ang kada banig or 6 mats for family purchases. Marami pong detalye kung ano pa ‘yung mga ibang gamot. Basahin niyo na lang po sa Philippine Star in the paper or online.

    At the top of the Philippine Star, “Teachers want health break amid surging infections.” Even teachers have now become affected by the Omicron surge, based on a survey done by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers that revealed almost 50% of them have indicated suffering from colds, from flu-like symptoms, etc., etc. So, ang panawagan ng ACT or Alliance of Concerned Teachers ay magkaroon naman po ng health break.

    Okay, now, ‘yung photo, that picture that you see just below the header is a photo taken at the East Avenue Hospital, along East Avenue, of course, in Quezon City. It says, “ER is in full capacity; work force limited.” Ganiyan na po karamihan. That is the picture in many hospitals now. They’re just overloaded and understaffed.

    Okay. Number of COVID cases, ito po, malungkot. We may have a lower number of COVID cases yesterday compared to Monday. However, okay, just for your information, 28,007 lang kahapon. Ang problema, the problem is 219 Filipinos died yesterday related to COVID. So, ‘yun po ‘no. Medyo kung akala ninyong mild lang itong Omicron, eh kung Omicron sana ang tumama, papano kung Delta pala?

    Okay. Now, “Omicron replaces Delta as dominant variant.” ‘Yan na po ang ni-report ni Sec. Francisco Duque III sa Pangulong Duterte, that based on the latest sampling ay mukhang mas marami ang lumalabas na kaso ng Omicron kaysa sa Delta. Okay.

    That photo that you see, ah okay, well, to the other side, there is the statement from the Private Hospitals Association (of the Philippines) that they are not obliged to shorten healthcare workers’ quarantine because that declaration or announcement from the DOH saying that healthcare workers can shorten– shorten their quarantine period ay medyo tsina-challenge ng iba-ibang grupo kasi bakit ganoon? Eh tao rin naman kami and [laughs] we are mortal. Eh bakit iiksian niyo ‘yung aming haba ng pahinga at isolation, t’as pababalikin niyo nanaman kami sa giyera. So, the Private Hospitals Association essentially said they are not obligated to follow that directive of the DOH. Every hospital has their own policies.

    Okay. ‘Yan po ang picture na ‘yan, sa gitna ng Philippine Star, people wait their turn to buy cold and flu medicines, the Mercury Drug store in Quiapo. Okay. Ayan po ah. Eh marami-rami na po kasi ang mga natatamaan nitong Omicron.

    “Infections shut down LTFRB, POEA; and big firms on scaledown.” Okay. That’s now the biggest possible challenge that faces the Philippines where government offices and private offices start shutting down because ‘yung mga empleyado ay puro na may sakit. Okay. Hindi po biro, maski na akong nakakapag-broadcast dito sa bahay eh medyo this morning, I felt like I had vertigo. So, mild as it may be, you hurt as well.

    Okay. Now, “No curfew needed in Metro Manila according to Chairman Benhur Abalos” dahil lahat naman daw po noong LGU are implementing their respective policies. And then, “Philippines now at critical risk for COVID.” You’ve heard that announcement several days na.

    Last but not the least, ito po, ito ‘yung masaklap. A protester is water-cannoned by firemen at the Liwasang Bonifacio. The rally is called for a stop to mandatory vaccination policies by government. Alam niyo po ay we will probably disagree on that matter because for all intents and purposes eh lives matter.

    Okay, now, let’s go to our main event for the day, our interview program. And like I said, we have a special guest, and I do mean special. And before anything ay panoorin niyo muna itong introductory video. Ganoon siya ka-special.

    [08:34 – 10:39 Bilang Pilipino video on VP Leni]

    REPORTER - DALE DE VERA: Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo was born on April 23, 1965 in Naga, Camarines Sur. She attended the Basic Education Department of Unibersidad de Santa Isabel in Naga, graduating from elementary school in 1978, and from high school in 1982. She earned her degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1986. She then proceeded to study law at the University of Nueva Caceres, graduating in 1992, and later passing the bar exams in 1997.

    Robredo chose to temporarily forego law studies and instead decided to work as a researcher for Bicol River Basin Development Program. There, she would meet her husband, then Program Director Jesse Robredo.

    In 2013, Robredo ran and won in the 3rd congressional district of Camarines Sur. During her term in Congress, Robredo was the Vice Chairman of the House Committees on Good Governance, Public Accountability, and Revision of Laws, and was a member of 11 other House panels. Robredo authored several laws, such as the Full Disclosure Policy Bill, People Empowerment Bill, the Participatory Budget Process Bill, and the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill.

    In 2015, Robredo announced that she would run for the vice-presidential position under the Liberal Party in the 2016 elections. She was the running mate of then presidential candidate Mar Roxas. In a tight race against former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Robredo emerged as the victor with over 14 million votes. She has since spearheaded several programs under the Office of the Vice President, such as Angat Buhay, telemedicine program, Vaccine Express, and Swab Cab.

    On October 7, 2021, Robredo officially announced her presidential bid as an independent candidate. She will run with Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as her Vice President.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. And introducing our special guest for today, none other than Vice President Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo. Good morning, Madame Vice President.

    VP LENI: Good morning, Cito. Good morning to everyone watching us. Cito, I’m sorry to hear that you tested positive. Sana okay ka naman.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay naman, Ma’am, hindi ako tinatablan eh, [laughs] matandang kalabaw na raw. [laughs]

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: Anyway, welcome to the program, and speaking of COVID, Madame Vice President, I just would like to, it’s of personal interest kasi nakita ko doon sa Facebook page ko the other day, merong nag-post and sabi tarantang taranta sila dahil wala silang makuhang paracetamol, wala silang makuhang gamot, tapos nagpunta sila at sumubok. Sabi nila magbakasali tayo sa OVP, sa Office of the Vice President, baka may makuha tayong gamot doon. And lo and behold, napadalhan daw sila, isang kahon. Hindi naman dambuhalang kahon, but isang kahon. Eh sabi ko doon kay Paulo, sa Office of the VP, ba’t sila meron, ako wala? [laughs]

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: What are you doing, Vice President, regarding this situation that so many Filipinos are challenged by?

    VP LENI: Actually, Cito, we started with our COVID-response operations ano pa, March of 2020, ‘yung pag-start pa lang. Pero ‘yung mga programa kasi namin, they were really intended to just fill in the gaps. Pero as we were performing one activity after another, ang daming nag-eemerge na mga bago. Halimbawa, nag-start lang kami dati, nag-start kami PPE sets kasi if you remember, noong nag-start ‘yung COVID, ‘yun ‘yung problema. Maraming doktor namamatay, walang enough PPE sets, so ‘yun ‘yung una naming ginawa. Tapos pagkatapos noong PPE sets, nag-ano ‘yun, nagkulang ‘yung mga nai-import na PPE, so nagpa– nagpa-produce kami locally. We partnered with designers, we partnered with local sewing communities.

    And then, kung naalala mo, March 16 yata ‘yun, nag-ano, nag– nag-stop ng public transportation. So, the day after na-stop siya, napanood kasi namin sa news, nabasa namin sa mga newspapers na ang daming mga health workers ang hindi nakakapasok o naglalakad nang napakalayo para lang makarating sa ospital, so nag-start kami ng shuttle services. Pag-start namin ng shuttle services, we were ferrying health workers around Metro Manila, ‘yung sunod na ginawa namin dormitories kasi ‘yung mga pasahero namin, kinukuwento sa amin na ‘yun ‘yung problema nila. Ayaw nilang umuwi sa bahay kasi dala nila ‘yung sakit. Mahahawa nila ‘yung families, pero wala silang matirhan. So, parang ano lang, parang– parang one activity after another.

    Itong Bayanihan E-Konsulta, we started it, kung naalala mo, ‘yung surge ng March of 2021.

    CITO BELTRAN: 2021, yes.

    VP LENI: Nagkaroon tayo noon, oo, nagkaroon tayo ng matinding surge noong 2021, and ‘yung pinaka-problema noon, sobrang congested ‘yung hospitals. Ito ‘yung time, Cito, na ang napapanood natin saka nababasa sa news ‘yung mga namamatay na ‘yung mga pasyente sa tent sa labas ng ospital.

    CITO BELTRAN: Sa loob ng, sorry, ambulansya.

    VP LENI: Oo, ng ambulansya, oo.

    CITO BELTRAN: At saka natatandaan ko, natatandaan ko noon, VP, tumakas na ko noon sa Lipa eh. Umalis na kami ng Metro Manila. Nag-Lipa na kami. Pagdating namin sa Lipa, kinuwentuhan naman ako ng mga tao, kuyang, mga ospital dito puro taga-Manila ang laman.

    VP LENI: Totoo, totoo.

    CITO BELTRAN: Go ahead, Ma’am.

    VP LENI: Actually, Cito, hanggang Nueva Ecija na hospitals, ‘yung mga taga-Manila doon na kasi wala nang mapasukan dito. So, nag-iisip kami. Noong una nga, Cito, inisip namin na maglagay kami na parang field hospital, pero ‘yung problema kasi sa field hospital, okay lang sana kung LGU kami kasi may capacity kami. Pero dahil OVP kami, wala naman kaming mga health personnel. Wala naman kaming, ‘di ba, kahit maka-raise kami ng pondo, it is very difficult na maglagay ng field hospital. So, ‘yung next best thing na naisip namin, itong Bayanihan E-Konsulta. Ito ‘yung telemedicine.

    Alam namin na marami nang telemedicine platforms at that time, pero gusto naming ma-cater ‘yung mga– ‘yung mga pasyente na walang pambayad for telemedicine or kahit may– or walang pambayad, tapos hindi din sila, kahit may mga lib– [Video froze 15:18]

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. I think the signal, let’s just wait on that. Unfortunately, nagkaroon tayo ng technical problem there, but we really will reconnect.

    VP LENI: Ayun.

    CITO BELTRAN: O ‘yun, ‘yun. Okay, Ma’am.

    VP LENI: Okay na. Pasensya na, pasensya na. ‘Yung kinukwento ko, Cito, na noong kinonceptualize namin ‘yung Bayanihan E-Konsulta, gusto talaga namin na nasa Facebook siya, tapos accessible siya by free data para kahit ‘yung mga walang load, puwedeng maka-access sa’min. So, ito ‘yung start ng COVID care kits kasi ‘yung pinaka– pinaka-intensyon talaga ng Bayanihan E-Konsulta, kung mild lang naman ‘yung symptoms mo, hindi mo kailangan. Hindi mo kailangan na pumunta pa sa ospital para magkonsulta, puwede nang telemedicine.

    So when we started doing Bayanihan E-Konsulta, ‘yung mga nagre-register sa– sa aming Facebook page, pinapadalhan na namin ng COVID care kits tapos pag bukas mo ng COVID care kits, hindi lang 'yun gamot, hindi lang 'yung mga kailangan pero meron siyang thermometer saka oximeter tapos meron din siyang monitoring sheet. 'Yung monitoring sheet may checklist ka nung mga symptoms and then a monitoring team monitors you two times a day. So, ang ginagawa namin kasi sobrang dami na ng pasyente, although 1000 plus 'yung volunteer doctors namin, hindi nila kinakaya during the surge. So, ang ginagawa namin kung merong– 'yung monitoring team pag naka-note siya ng symptoms na tingin niya kailangan nang i-link sa doktor saka sila nagte-telemedicine. So, we started doing that parang April 7, 2021, mabuti na lang hindi namin hininto, even during the, even during the lull, di ba parang may lull from October until December, hindi kami huminto ng Bayanihan E-Konsulta.

    So, noong nag-surge ulit siya ng towards the latter part of December, handa kami, pero ang hindi kami handa Cito 'yung grabe nang pasyente ngayon. So, grabe 'yung pasyente ngayon pumalo ito parang January 3, 'yun 'yung start na talagang dinagsa kami, kinukulang na naman kami ngayon ng volunteers, volunteer doctors, non-medical volunteers, kaya napilitan kami to put a cap every day so 400 patients a day lang 'yung naca-cater namin just to make sure na naaasikaso namin lahat pero halimbawa Cito– oo–

    CITO BELTRAN: Yes ma'am. You're practically, you know, functioning like a hospital, a first– ano bang tawag noon, Primary Care Facility–

    VP LENI: –Oo. May ambulansya na nga kami Cito. [Laughs].

    CITO BELTRAN: Ahh, okay, so 'yun na nga. Doon na nga ako pupunta eh, eh papaano na yan. But what does this tell you? You're running for President of the Philippines and of course your track record speaks for yourself pero ano sa palagay niyo ang dapat mangyari sa Pilipinas kasi may mga nagsabing 'yung pagpapabaya– we have been criminally negligent of our health services in the Philippines not in just one administration but through so many administration. Para bang hindi natin masyadong pinansin, okay– okay lang 'yan, eh ngayong nagka-COVID na eh wala na, nagbabayad na tayo ng kasalanan natin.

    VP LENI: Totoo. Parang ano nga Cito eh, parang 'yung pandemic exposed, exposed the systemic ills in our healthcare system. Ano talaga ito, ah ito– sabi mo nga parang naging masyado tayong complacent. Masyado tayong naging complacent in the past na noong nagkaroon ng pandemic, doon tayo talaga– 'yung lahat ng pagpapabaya natin over the years naramdaman natin ngayon. So– so, ito maraming, maraming aral, maraming mga lessons na nakuha natin dito. And 'yung number one lesson, 'yung healthcare system talaga kailangan natin ayusin. Pag sinabi nating ayusin, we– we are not just talking about 'yung– ‘yung mga ospital aayusin, o 'yung mga healthcare workers aayusin, pero it's the entire system. 'Yung ta– kami nga 'yung nakita namin hindi lang– hindi lang 'yung syste– systema 'yung, problema pero 'yung number one na problema talaga, access.

    Pangalawang problema 'yung affordability. Kasi sa atin, Cito, whether we like it or not, we have to– we have to accept the fact na mahirap talaga magkasakit pag mahirap ka. Mahirap magkasakit pag mahirap ka kasi hindi accessible 'yung lahat– 'yung– ‘yung klase ng healthcare na accessible sa mga may pera. So– so, ito talaga kailangan natin 'tong asikasuhin. Ang naipasa na na– oo?

    CITO BELTRAN: How– how would you go about that, VP Leni? How would you go about fixing that problem? Kasi alam niyo para na kong piyansador eh, na may mga tinutulungan din ako, eh maski na may– may kaya, nawawalan na 'yung kakayanan dahil patong-patong 'yung gastos–

    VP LENI: Nauubos.

    CITO BELTRAN: – etc., ubos. How would you go about fixing this? First, the high cost of medicine in the Philippines?

    VP LENI: Actually Cito maraming– parang maraming levels na kailangan talagang ayusin. 'Yung– ‘yung first step naipasa na natin, 'yung Universal Healthcare Law. Naipasa na natin pero sobrang bagal ng operationalization nito. Maganda sana siyang first step pero hindi siya enough. So– so, sa akin ayusin sana 'yung pag-roll out ng Universal Healthcare Law. 'Yung budget for health dagdagan kasi sobrang liit ng budget natin for health kahit pag tiningnan mo mara– parating sinasabi na hindi kasi natin inaasahan na ganito kagrabe di ba, ganito kagrabe 'yung effect ng pandemic.

    Pero 'yung 2021 budget saka 2022 budget prinepare 'yun, pandemic na, pero pag tiningnan natin 'yung budget, hindi pa din siya pandemic budget. Ang gusto kong sabihin, parang sa ibang facets ng– ng operation ng pamahalaan, parang business as usual pa din. Tapos parang nakahiwalay lang 'yung– 'yung– 'yung healthcare budget na hindi talaga enough.

    So, ito una, 'yung ayusin 'yung operationalization ng Universal Healthcare Law. Pangalawa, ayusin talaga 'yung accessibility. Meaning to say, aayusin natin na for every region, for every province meron talagang mga ospital na kumpleto, kumpleto sa gamit, kumpleto sa tao, na 'yung mga taong nagkakasakit sa mga probinsya hindi na nila kailangang lumabas pa ng Maynila para magpagamot.

    Pangatlo, talagang kailangan natin i-strengthen 'yung community-based. Kailangan natin 'yung community-based na– na ibaba sa communities hindi lang 'yung paggamot pero pati 'yung prevention. Kasi ito 'yung makakadagdag talaga sa accessibility. 'Yung PhilHealth natin kailangan natin ayusin, 'yung remuneration ng ating mga healthcare workers kailangan nating ayusin, kasi 'yung problema natin ngayon kahit may mga kama pa sa ospital, wala lang– wala na tayong workers. We are losing our workers kasi hindi naman natin sila ma-prevent. Hindi sana natin sila ma-prevent to– to seek greener pastures kasi may mga pamilya silang binubuhay. So ang dami niya talagang facets, Cito.

    CITO BELTRAN: VP, nag-congresswoman ka a? 'You were a one-term congresswoman, you passed quite a number of laws, and then you are now Vice President. You graduated Economics, and you have been credited by analysts as someone who understands economics better than many candidates. But given– given that situation with nurses, for instance, 'yung mga nag-aalisan o kaya 'yung umaalis sa private sector, pumupunta sa kung saan-saang ibang opisina, may mga nagsasabi, eh bakit hindi na lang kasi natin bigyan ng special allocation or allowance ang mga nurses. Kumbaga, it is a government stipend na. Ito 'yung government stipend, huwag na lang kayong maglayas, please lang, kasi we can't afford your departure. Is that possible under a Robredo leadership?

    VP LENI: Ako, Cito, possible siya pero hindi siya enough. Hindi enough na bigyan lang natin sila ng stipend kasi halimbawa, pag tiningnan mo lang 'yung entry level, pag tiningnan mo lang– whether may pandemic o walang pandemic, pag tiningnan mo lang 'yung entry level salary ng ating nurses compared to our, sabihin natin ASEAN neighbors, ang layo. Ang layo talaga na– na kailangan natin ayusin ito eh. Kailangan natin ayusin 'yung pinaka-structure ng hindi lang suweldo pero lahat na benefits for our– our healthcare workers. Kasi pag hindi talaga natin ito inayos, ito na 'yung– 'yung ano ito, 'yung paglabas ng mga healthcare workers for– for other countries. Talagang ito 'yung patuloy na mangyayari so dapat talagang– dapat talagang tingnan itong maayos.

    CITO BELTRAN: And it's scary. Nakakatakot po 'yan kasi kung ngayon nga 'yung Philippine Airlines ay nagkansela ng maraming flights dahil wala silang flight attendants, 'yung POEA, 'yung POA, Office of the Ombudsman, etc., ay nagsara dahil sa mga infection. Baka mamaya isang araw wala na tayong mga ospital na bukas.

    Anyway, ma'am, pasensya ka na ano. Parang itong first date natin hindi ko naman puwedeng matanong lahat ano in one day so–

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: – shift lang ako ano, sa economics. Kasi maraming nagsasabi na you're qualified, you're well-versed with economics. Pero alam mo kahit na super Leni ka pa, may mga nagsasabi, nako Cito, 'yung laki ng utang ng Pilipinas because of the pandemic, because of COVID, no president will be able to walk out of that storm unscathed. Kumbaga ano, kahit super Leni mabubugbog sa six years ng presidency dahil sa ating mga utang at mga kakailanganin. What's your perspective?

    VP LENI: Ito– ito kasi, Cito, basically 'yung utang hindi naman masama. Lalo na– lalo na sa panahon ng pandemic, hind masamang umutang. Pero 'yung pinaka-question kasi: saan natin ginamit 'yung utang? Halimbawa ngayon, magkano na ba 'yung utang natin? Kung hindi ako nagkakamali nasa may 13 trillion na. Pero ang– pag tiningnan natin 'yung 13 trillion, kaya naman natin 'yun bayaran, pero kaya natin siyang bayaran, number one, kung ang GDP natin maibalik natin pre-pandemic levels. Number two, dapat i-assess natin saan ba natin ginastos 'yung mga loans na– na na-incur natin kasi 'yung pinakamahalaga naman parang for every peso or for every dollar na na-utang natin, dapat ang– ang commensurate na return– return to investment, dapat– dapat sobrang laki.

    So, ang kailangan nating gawin i-assess saan ba natin ginamit 'yung utang. Sisiguraduhin natin na walang leaks sa corruption. Sisiguraduhin natin na kaya natin to inutang kasi 'yung returns na inaasahan natin, mas malaki. Pag tiningnan natin ngayon 'yung– 'yung ano ito, 'yung debt to GDP ratio natin, 60- 60 percent na 'yun. Parang 'yun na 'yung ceiling bago tayo mag-red flag. Bago nag-pandemic, nasa 40 plus percent 'yung ating debt to GDP ratio. Gustong sabihin, 'yung capacity natin na magbayad ay assured pa. Pero pag lumagpas itong 60 percent, mahihirapan na tayo.

    So, una– unang-una, sisiguraduhin natin na makabayad kaagad tayo. Pangalawa, sisiguraduhin natin na 'yung– ‘yung GDP natin, mapataas natin. Para mapataas natin 'yung GDP dapat 'yung ekonomiya mabuhay na natin. Dapat–

    CITO BELTRAN: – ayun. Ang itatanong ko sa inyo VP, kasi maganda naman 'yung statement. That's a nice– that's a good statement, not just a nice statement that we will honor all our debts–

    VP LENI: Yes, yes.

    CITO BELTRAN: – we will pay what we owe, but at the same time we must generate our Gross Domestic Pro– product. Now, sa GDP, who or what will be the– what will be the platform, primary platform, and who will be the primary players? Kasi ang pinatutunguhan ko 'yung business sector. Sa mga nakaraang administration especially currently, ang talagang mga nanguna because of COVID nga ay private sector. The private spec– sector invested heavily. Eh ngayon may mga nagtatanong sa akin, Cits, pakitanong mo naman si VP o, kung siya ang mag-presidente eh ano ba, tuloy-tuloy lang ba? O baka madi-disrupt na naman. Or, what can she promise us in terms of predictability, business predictability and sustainability?

    VP LENI: Ako– ako Cito, again, many different levels ito para mapataas natin 'yung– ‘yung GDP. 'Yung pinaka-una dito, pag tiningnan natin kasi 'yung spending natin ngayon, ang dami nating– ang dami nating kakulangan sa pera pero maraming mga departments ang nag-uunderspend pa din. At dahil nag-uunderspend 'yung– 'yung gov– 'yung maraming government agencies, nakakaapekto ito sa mababang GDP natin.

    So, para sa akin 'yung unang dapat gawin, tingnan natin kung asan 'yung underspending. Ilipat natin siya doon sa mga departments na ang absorptive capacity ay mataas kasi makaka– makaka-boost ito ng ating GDP, 'yun 'yung number one. 'Yung number two, siguraduhin talaga natin na makontrol na natin 'yung pandemic kasi kung hindi na natin makontrol 'yung– ‘yung pandemic, 'yung economy natin rollercoaster lang siya. Bubuti, sasama, bubuti, sasama.

    Pero 'yung pangatlo, granting na nakontrol na natin 'yung– granting na nakontrol na natin 'yung pandemic, ano ba 'yung mga kailangang asikasuhin? Dapat naka-anchor siya sa framework na number one, kailangan nating i-restore 'yung trust sa government. Number two kailangan nating i-strengthen your insti– 'yung ating institutions. Kasi 'yung sinasabi mo nga 'yung predictability, 'yung– ‘yung level playing field, ito 'yung makakabalik ng tiwala sa pamahalaan. Wala tayong aasahan na onslaught na mga foreign direct investments kung hindi natin naayos 'yung pag-restore ng trust sa pamahalaan o strengthening ng institutions. Kasi when– when we are able to restore our trust in government and strengthen our institutions, ito 'yung assurance eh, ito 'yung assurance that the Filipino people can count on their government to provide efficient and quality service.

    Ako actually, Cito, I think early December naglabas– 'yung November naglabas kami ng Kalayaan sa COVID Plan. 'Yung– ‘yung early December naglabas kami ng Kabuhayan Para sa Lahat and we tacked this, na pag maayos 'yung pamahalaan, ito 'yung first step para ma-ensure natin na 'yung tiwala ng investors, 'yung tiwala ng investors na hindi sila– parang hindi magugulo 'yung kanilang investments dahil [31:19 VP Leni lags]–

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, okay, okay. [laughs] Mukhang meron talagang sabit 'yung ating system but we are praying that the Lord will restore–

    VP LENI: – okay na?

    CITO BELTRAN: There! The Lord is restoring our connection. Thank you. Okay, go ahead madame VP.

    VP LENI: Hindi, ‘yung– I was saying Cito na pag nabalik natin ‘yung trust in government, naayos natin ‘yung ating institutions, una ‘yung investors magtitiwala sa ‘tin. Hindi mag-aatubili na pumasok ng pera sa ‘tin kasi sigurado sila na mapapangalagaan ‘yung kanilang investments. Pangalawa, ‘yung tiwala ng tao. ‘Yung tao pagkatiwa-tiwala ‘yung pamahalaan, pag ‘yung mga institution natin ay– ay matatag at malakas, ‘yung tao mas tiwala siya na ‘yung gobyerno ay maaasahan niya para mag-render ng efficient and quality service for– for all Filipinos. So– so ito– ito ‘yung mga important first steps– ‘yun na, ‘yung number one, assess where we are right now…

    CITO BELTRAN: Are you going to– are you saying, Madam Vice President, that essentially it will be a situation where a President, quote unquote, Leni Robredo will manage government, and the private sector and investors– investors run the business? Kasi parang kumbaga ano, government will govern, business will generate and run the economy.

    VP LENI: Ako kasi Cito pag– halimbawa dito sa Office of the Vice President, marami kaming nagagawa because a very strong collaboration with the private sector. ‘Yung paniniwala ko na role ng government, ‘yung government dapat tinitingnan niya ‘yung sarili niya na enabler. Enabler ng negosyo, hindi ‘yung ang laging role na– na tine-take niya sobrang nagre-regulate at sobrang namumulis. Dapat– dapat ‘yung ginagawa ng gobyerno ine-ensure niya na ‘yung climate for investment nandiyan. Tinitingnan niya ‘yung sarili niya na partner ng negosyo and not the other way around.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, may– may I go deeper into you know, your team, because when I was doing the assessment, na– naisip ko na malaking issue ‘yung economic managers sa isang administrasyon. In fact, there have been times when economic managers nakipag-away sa Department of Agriculture, sa DOH, ganyan ganyan. Under a Robredo government, number one, meron na ba kayong mga napupusuang potential Cabinet members or ano ‘yung primary or priority ninyo na pipiliin niyo? Kasi many businessmen at pati na ‘yung mga mamamayan, ‘yun ‘yung ginagawang batayan eh. Sino bang pipiliin noong Aling Leni na papaligid sa kanya?

    VP LENI: Kami, Cito, ever since I– since 2016, when I started performing my role as– as Vice President, meron ka– meron kaming very regular na briefings, not just economic briefings, but briefings on many– many different topics and sectors na meron na kaming– parang meron kaming nasasandalan. Meron kaming nasasandalan, hindi isang tao, pero isang team.

    We try to listen to as many views as possible kasi hindi naman pare-parehong views. Pero para kasi sa ‘kin, napakahalaga noong pagpili ng Cabinet members. Napakahalaga ng pagpili ng heads of offices. Number one kailangan experts in their field. Number two, kailangan respetado sila– respetado sila ng sekto na pamumunuan nila. Number three, hindi lang mahusay sa kanilang field, pero mahusay na managers. And ang number four, ako– ako ‘yung driving force sa ‘kin ng governance is always empowerment and inclusivity. So para sa ‘kin, dapat ‘yung pipiliin ko naniniwala din doon. Na nakikinig, nagbibigay ng boses sa– sa stakeholders kasi tingin ko napakahalaga nito. And number five, dapat ‘yung Presidente nagtitimon. ‘Yung President nag-titimon na ‘yung kanyang mga Cabinet– Cabinet members ay nag-aagree to work together kasi mahirap ‘yung nag-aaway ‘yung finance saka ‘yung sabi mo nga, nag-aaway ‘yung finance saka agriculture, nag-aaway ‘yung ganito, iba-iba ‘yung statements na nilalabas. ‘Yung nakita kong naging very successful in, halimbawa, example lang ito, naging very successful in– in, ‘yung pagpapakita ng unity sa– sa Cabinet si President FVR. Si President FVR naalala ko put a lot of premium on ‘yung harmony within the Cabinet. Na siya mismo ‘yung nagsisiguro na ‘yung kanyang mga Cabinet officials ay nase-settle ‘yung differences sa level na ‘yun. So– so sa ‘kin ‘yun ‘yung mga importante. I– I will not name names ngayon kung meron nang napupusuan but– but there’s a group of many different– many different teams who have been helping us sinice 2016.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, Madam Pre– Vice President, kung papayagan po ninyo, we’ll just take a quick break and we will be back shortly.

    VP LENI: Yes, yes.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, we’ll be right back here on Agenda.

    [BREAK 36:50 to 37:38]

    CITO BELTRAN: [clears throat] Excuse me, ipagpaumanhin niyo po. Naaalala na naman ako noong pinagkakautangan ko. Okay, back to our special guest for today. Our interview with Vice President Leni Robredo. Madam Vice President, welcome back. Okay, nagsabi na po kayo and I appreciate what you said that the first requirement is future Cabinet members must be experts in their field. So hindi ito pwede ‘yung mga napakiusap o ‘yung malakas o ‘yung meron backer, etcetera. Second, nirerespeto in their respective field. So kung transport, transport, kung economics, economics, etcetera. Now, Ma’am Leni, how– how do you propose to ensure the harmony? Kayo po ba mismo ang magiging bastonero, kasi marami akong baston dito, iniwan ng tatay kong si Louie Beltran, papa– bibigay ko na sa inyo. Or are you going to resort to the Cabinet cluster system na every cluster has a team leader and he or she is responsible?

    VP LENI: Ako both. Ako both, Chito– Cito. Ako, tingin ko importante din ‘yung clusters kasi ‘yung convergence ng– marami kasing mga problema na hindi naman– hindi naman nakatuon sa isang department lang. And ‘yung– ‘yung mga clusters ito ‘yung magte-take charge ‘yung mga convergence between them. Pero ‘yung sa ‘kin, parang ako kasi involved sa day-to-day, pag involved ako sa day-to-day, ako talaga mismo ‘yung magba-baston. Meaning to say, pag merong problema, dapat nase-settle na siya at the earliest possible time. Na– na hindi na dapat una, lumalabas sa publiko, pangalawa, nagkakaroon ng conflict sa policy. Ako– ako para sa ‘kin napaka importanteng role ng Pangulo ‘yung pagiging konduktor. Pagiging konduktor na– na ‘yung– ‘yung making sure na on a day-to-day basis, ‘yung buong pamahalaan– ‘yung buong gov– ‘yung buong administration ay harmonious. Kasi tingin ko ito ‘yung pagkukulang in many instances na conflicting ‘yung mga– hindi nawawala ‘yung conflicts, pero ang gusto kong sabihin dapat ‘yung conflicts nase-settle sa– sa level pa lang, sa level pa lang ng people closest to the President.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, me– meron po kayong mga supporters who have expressed particular concern to me. And they said, “Kuya, suportado namin si Leni. Ang hindi lang namin sigurado ay baka mapaligiran naman siya noong mga kaalyado niya na nagdala sa kanya sa pwesto.” I mean, you have supporters, you– you are partly a person who appreciates loyalty. But those who support you are also concerned about how you will distinguish between loyalty and being surrounded solely by, well I’ll be direkta na, Ma’am, ‘no, ‘yung mga sabi nila na mga dilaw, ‘yung mga liberal, etcetera. Wha– what is your position on this matter?

    VP LENI: Ako– ako, Cito, my– my record as a member of Congress and as VP will speak for itself. Unang-una, parati, Cito, sinasabi mga dilawan. Pero ang tanong ko nga, sino sila? Kasi– kasi right now, ang– ang, alam naman natin kung anong nangyari sa Liberal Party after the 2016 elections. Talagang na-decimate na. Talagang na-decimate na, kakaunti na lang. In fact, we had to resort to opening the party to non-politicians already because most of the politicians transferred parties already– switched parties already. ‘Yun ‘yung number one. Number two, kahit Cito noong Congressman pa lang ako, I was a very– I was a neophyte politician. Noong kumandidato ako noon Cito, 180– ano ‘yun 8 LGUs, isa lang ‘yung Mayor na kakampi ko. Of 186– kasi kalaban ko ‘yung incumbent eh. Of 186 barangays, 25 lang na barangay captain sa akin. Pero noong umupo ako Cito, wala akong tiningnan. Wala akong tiningnan, wala akong dinistinguish, and– and ‘yung mga kasama ko sa distrito ang makakapagsabi. Hindi nag-matter kung tinulungan ako o hindi, patas ‘yung aking pagtingin sa lahat. Wala akong tiningnan na partido at all.

    Noong nag-VP ako, the same. Talagang naunahan lang kami ng propaganda saka fake news na parating sinasabi na wala siyang sariling isip, sumusunod lang siya. Pero ang tanong ko nga, sino ang susundin ko? Sino ang susundin ko? Nawala na nga. Most of the senior members of the Liberal Party are retired already. Gusto kong sabihin, hindi na active sa pulitika. Kaunti na lang talaga ‘yung natira. Marami ‘yung iba na ‘yung– iba na ‘yung partido. And over the past, almost six years, hindi naman nagplay ng major role ‘yung pulitika sa pagiging VP ko. I reach out to everyone, I listen to everyone, hindi tinatanong kung anong partido ka o kung ka-partido ba kita o hindi. When we decide on things, ‘yung mga policies na nilalabas naming, mga programang nilalabas namin, we are very big on private– private-public partnership. So– so sa ‘kin madali lang kasi sabihin na hindi, I– I will be my own person pero let– let my record speak for itself.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, now nasabi mo na rin naman na marami doon sa mga, well, sumuporta sa’yo at– in the beginning, kaya nga parang Genesis eh ‘no, in the beginning, ay lahat sila retirado na. They’ve all retired or outside of the political circle. But who now will be the new people around Leni Robredo? Because honestly Ma’am, hindi ko kilala, ang nadidinig ko lang ‘yung Barry, tapos kausap ko recently ‘yung Paulo, but I don’t even know what they look like and most people kind of wonder sino ‘yung magiging new faces. Is it going to be a younger generation? Because I think that’s part of the aspiration that the leader of the country brings in younger generation of people. Kasi ikaw, ang laki ng bata mo sa ‘kin. Kami kumbaga ano, dapat mga [inaudible, crosstalk 44:18]

    VP LENI: Hindi naman, hindi naman. Magkalapit lang tayo. Ako– ako, I work with very young people.Ang average age yata sa opisina namin is 27? Ako na yata ‘yung– I am one of the very few na lampas 50 years old, my Chief of Staff is 37 years old. Ako in the six years that– in the almost six years that I was VP, I worked with very young people and I think ‘yun ‘yung key– ‘yun ‘yung key that most of our projects– most of the things that we’re doing at the Office of the Vice President are very innovative, very creative. Kasi pag– pag– if you work with very young people, ano pa ‘to, unshackled by biases. Wala sa kanilang pulitiko. Lahat mga– lahat mga– maraming fresh– fresh graduates, maraming galing sa NGO work, marami ‘yung mga– from many different– from many different spheres ‘yung pinanggalingan ng people I work with.

    And– and sa ‘kin, sabi ko nga Cito, hindi ako namimili. Even the people we consult, as far as policy briefings are concerned, we make sure that they come from many different, ano ‘to, parang ano backgrounds. Kasi ako parating gusto kong pinapakinggan ‘yung magkakaibang panig.

    CITO BELTRAN: Kahit kontra.

    VP LENI: Oo. ‘Yung kontra saka– ‘yung kontra saka– ‘yung mga for and against. Gusto ko ‘yung parating pinapakinggan. Actually, very interesting for me to listen to many– many divergent views.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, well we’re down to maybe like 15– less than 15 minutes Ma’am Leni. So what will be your policy towards media. Kasi alam niyo itong kampanya lahat ng mga kandidato mahal kami. Pagkatapos ng eleksyon at nasa power na sila, lahat sila galit sa ‘min. And you know, what will be the Robredo policy as far as critics in media? Because alam mo medyo ayaw ko naman magaya sa tatay ko, sana maging best friend tayo. Seriously, what will be your attitude and policy towards media and criticism?

    VP LENI: Ako kasi Cito, I recognize the role that media plays as far as governance and public officials are concerned. Actually, Cito, known ako for this, na I keep a safe distance dahil nirerespeto ko– nirerespeto ko ‘yung mga members of the media. Na– na para sa ‘kin, ito dapat ‘yung pumupuna. Ito dapat ‘yung mga pumupuna para siguraduhin lang na ‘yung gina– kami ay– hindi kami nakukulong sa sarili naming bubble. Meaning to say– meaning to say, dapat [audio cuts out 47:20]

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, just a slight delay there, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sure we're going to be restored in our connection. So far– and there we go. Okay, yes ma'am.

    VP LENI: Okay na Cito? Ito 'yung sinasabi ko na ang– ang role ng media, ang inaasahan kong role ng media, Cito, na i-appreciate kami when we are doing good, pero i-criticize kami kung nakikita nila na mali na 'yung ginagawa namin. Kasi nakakatulong 'yun sa pagiging mabuti namin na public servants. Kasi pag– pag sinisiguro namin na kahit mali na 'yung ginagawa namin, hindi iimik o– o, ia-appreciate pa din kami, hindi 'yun nakakatulong sa amin eh. Hindi nakakatulong sa amin.

    So– so, sa akin, 'yung relationship has to be a– a relationship of– of trust and respect. Na pag sinabi kong respect, hindi respect in the sense na lagi lang akong pupurihin, pero respect– respect namin sa profession ninyo. And respect niyo din sa profession namin. So– so, ako ano ako– ako, 'yung distance na kini-keep ko is based on that– that premise.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. What– what wi– what is– what will be your centerpiece program to alleviate the poor? Kasi na– nakita ko naman doon sa history mo, personal history, professional history, you became a lawyer, you became a lawyer for the Public Attorney's Office, defendant of the poor, et cetera.

    Pero sa Pilipinas, wala nga tayong basic internet. Wala tayong renewable energy sa mga barangay. And then 'yung ating bureaucracy, 'yung bang hindi po ito komplikadong term, mga kaibigan, 'yun po bang proseso 'yung makikipag-transaction lang sa gobyerno, kung medyo grade– elementary lang ang natapos mo ay good-bye ka na. Madame Vice President, what will the Robredo presidency do to– to make things better and equal the playing– level the playing field?

    Kasi gala ako sa mga bayan-bayan, and na– 'yun talaga kinasasama ng loob ko eh. Parang we discriminate against the poor.

    VP LENI: Totoo yan.

    CITO BELTRAN: 'Yung government and bureaucracy. Hindi– hindi poli– hindi administration.

    VP LENI: Ako, gaya ng sinabi mo, Cito, kanina, everything that we do is always anchored on inclusivity and empowerment. 'Yung paniniwala ko, Cito, dapat– dapat 'yung mga naiiwan sa laylayan, binibigyan ng mas malaking pagka– binibigyan ng mas– mas malaking pagkakataon para makilahok. 'Yung– 'yung paniniwala ko, Cito, the best programs are really the programs na binigay natin ng– pinakinggan natin. Pinakinggan natin 'yung sektor na affected by it.

    Kaya noong– noong nasa Congress ako, I passed an empowerment bill. 'Yung empowerment– empowerment bill, naglalayon sana na lahat na sangay ng pamahalaan, mandated na bigyan ng– parang, i-welcome 'yung mga people's councils to participate.

    Halimbawa: pag tinignan natin, Cito, 'yung mga, halimbawa, 'yung mga departments natin. It– ito common ito across all administrations, across many different– many different departments. Pag tinignan natin, halimbawa, ano 'yung accomplishments? Laging 'yung sukat natin, ano 'yung ginagawa nila.

    Halimbawa, pag sinabi nating– pag sinabi nating nutrition, ganitong number ng mga bata 'yung aming pinapakain. O pag sinabi nating agriculture, ganito 'yung mga inputs na binigay namin, o ganito 'yung equipment na binigay namin. Parang lahat kasi 'yun, activities, lahat 'yun– lahat 'yun outputs.

    So, ako– ako talaga, Cito, 'yung number one na gagawin ko, papalitan ko 'yun lahat. Papalitan ko, sisiguraduhin ko na outcomes lagi 'yung targets. Meaning to say, hindi natin make-claim na economically progressive na tayo kung 'yung mga dating naiiwan sa laylayan ay naiiwan pa din. So dapat parati 'yung sukat, papano natin pinabuha– pinabuti 'yung buhay ng pinaka nasa baba. So– so, sa– sa–

    CITO BELTRAN: Kumbaga, kumbaga, ano ang kinalabasan?

    VP LENI: Ano 'yung kinalabasan. 'Yung outcomes niya, Cito. Kasi– ang napapansin ko ito sa– kahit sa opisina namin, Cito, isang bagay ito na painstakingly binago ko since I started work. Kasi 'yung, di ba, ev– every quarter may i-rereport sa iyo, ganito 'yung aming ginawa. Laging sinasabi ko, ano 'yung resulta? Ano 'yung resulta ng ginawa? Kung ginastos natin 'yung ganito, ano 'yung resulta ng paggastos natin? Hindi puwedeng sasabihin mo lang nag– nagbigay ka ng ganito. Pero 'yung binigyan mo, anong nangyari sa buhay niya?

    CITO BELTRAN: Nagastos namin 'yung pera. 'Yun ang resulta. Pero 'yung magsasaka, gutom pa rin. 'Yung rebelde, galit pa rin.

    VP LENI: Totoo, totoo.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, ma'am– ma'am–

    VP LENI: So– so–

    CITO BELTRAN: Yeah?

    VP LENI: So sa amin, Cito, even sa Office of the Vice President, very conscious kami nito.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay, now, okay–

    VP LENI: Very conscious kami na hindi nume– hindi numero 'yung tinitignan, pero 'yung quality ng serbisyo.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. Ang hirap nito, kasi 'yung Ibong Adarna nahuli ko na, kayo, ngayon ko lang kayo nahuli.

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: Campaign period pa. Baka ma-orasan kayo. May metro 'yung mga interview. But, I just want to ask you–the– the topic that has not been addressed, na feeling ko baka secret weapon niyo ito eh–'yung kababaihan. Kasi ang daming babae na talagang puro pro-Leni. Dito lang sa Barrio Kapitlyo ay pag hindi ka nanalo, kawawa kami–

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: –kasi mga kalye dito puro pink, ano. Ay, pero what can you promise, or offer, to the Filipina– or the women of the Philippines?

    VP LENI: Ako– ako, number one sa akin, Cito, of course unity saka economic empowerment. Kaya ko ito sinasabi kasi ala– alam mo, iba-ibang estado sa buhay, iba-iba 'yung programang ini-introduce sa kanila. Pero before I became a politician, Cito, I was part of an NGO, Saligan 'yung pangalan nito, na doon sa NGO namin, doon sa branch namin, ako lang 'yung babae. So most of the– most of the cases we're handling involving women, ako talaga 'yung nag-hahandle.

    And if there was one lesson that I learned, parang 'yung– 'yung economic empowerment is really the most crucial of all. Meaning to say, hindi– hindi kinakailangan na lahat ng babae nagtatrabaho, pero laha- dapat lahat ng babae nabibigyan ng opportunity to earn.

    Kasi ito talaga 'yung pinagmumulan ng lahat eh. Ito 'yung pinagmumulan ng lahat, na–halimbawa, I've– we've been handling a lot of, halimbawa, domestic violence cases, mga abuse against women. Pero it all boils down to economic– economic opportunities, eh.

    So, sa– sa akin talaga, Cito, I am big on this. Even sa Office of the Vice President, even when I was in Congress, talagang 'yung mga programa para sa mga kababaihan is really giving them skills, upskilling them, giving them access to market. It's one of the things na– halimbawa, kahit nag-aalaga ako ng bata, kahit nag-aalaga ako ng mga anak ko sa bahay, meron pa din akong opportunity to earn for myself. Kasi 'yun 'yung– 'yun 'yung nagbibigay ng power eh. 'Yun 'yung nagbibigay ng power sa babae.

    CITO BELTRAN: Well, Leni Robredo can't do all of that. That's impossible, ano? So, does this mean you're going to follow the, ano ba 'yun, Swedish examp– parang– Swedish example, 'yung ang cabinet karamihan halos babae na, et cetera. Are you inclined towards that? Kasi, kumbaga ano, tinambakan na tayo ng mga lalaking cabinet sa Pilipinas for the last fifty years. Eh medyo ako mismo, suko na ako eh.

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: Parang, I think the best job for a man– for the man is a woman. The best– best man for the job is a woman yata eh [laughs].

    VP LENI: Ako– ako, Cito, the one thing I can commit to is magiging very mindful ako sa balance. Magiging very mindful ako sa balance. Hindi ko sinasabi na mas marami akong babaeng kukunin kasi siyempre ang number one pa din, gaya ng sabi ko kanina, 'yung experts in their field, 'yung respeto ng– ng, ano ito, ng stakeholders sa kanya.

    Pero sa akin, magiging very mindful ako ng balance kasi nakaka– nakakatulong 'yung iba't-ibang perspectives and ang babae talaga, iba din 'yung perspective eh. 'Yung babae kadalasan iba 'yung perspective. And ako mismo, I benefit a lot. I benefit a lot by working with– with– with women, with young people, na ito 'yung magpo-provide ng balance.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. Now, will there be a– an age limit to the cabinet members?

    VP LENI: None.

    CITO BELTRAN: Bakit? Sorry ah. [laughs]

    VP LENI: Alam mo, pinag– pinaglalaban ko lagi– pinaglalaban ko lagi, Cito, na hindi sa edad 'yan. Although I work with very, very young people, pero sa akin, kasi, para sa akin, hanggang kaya mo pang magbanat ng buto, dapat hindi ka na-didiscriminate dahil sa edad mo.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. Well we– we have– yeah.

    VP LENI: So– so– 'yung sa akin, again– again, Cito, perspectives.

    CITO BELTRAN: Yeah.

    VP LENI: Tingin ko, 'yung– 'yung healthy mix ng mga bata saka mga ka-edad natin, makakabuti.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. Well, we– I disagree on that, kasi talagang sa– ako I follow Miriam Defensor Santiago eh. Parang, we should just annihilate everybody above sixty. [laughs]

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: Si Miriam ata 'yung nagsabi. But anyway, Madame Vice President, will– what will the Robredo presidency do for our overseas Filipinos? Kasi–ipagpaumanhin niyo, ano, uunahan ko na–this is close to my heart eh. Nakipag-diskurso– nakipag-diskusyon na ako. Sabi ko, if there are no jobs in the Philippines, then why not send Filipinos and Filipinas abroad, not to be domestic helper, but to be professional workers?

    Kasi, eh, marami namang bansa sa Pilipinas– sa mundo ang nakikinabang because of foreign workers sending money abroad. Medyo na-stereotype lang talaga 'yung overseas Filipino. What's your philosophy, or the Robredo position, on that?

    VP LENI: A– actually, Cito, 'yung sinasabi– 'yung sinabi mo palang, ito 'yung eksaktong sinabi ko. Ito 'yung eksaktong sinabi ko. I had a town hall meeting with them virtually, 'yung mga OFWs, I think two days ago.

    Ang number one na– na– na prog– na pakiramdam ko about it is wala namang masama working abroad. Pero dapat nag– nagtatrabaho sa labas dahil 'yun 'yung choice nila, hindi dahil wala na kasing– wala na– wala kasing opportunities dito. So dapat palakasin natin, dapat palakasin natin 'yung ekonomiya natin. Para number one, 'yung mga– 'yung mga kababayan natin, hindi kinakailangang lumabas para lang magkaroon ng– ng magandang buhay.

    Pangalawa, 'yung mga nagtatrabaho sa labas na gusto nang mag-retire dito, pero hindi makauwi kasi walang mauuwian na opportunities, hindi makauwi kasi, halimbawa, 'yung na-eenjoy nilang healthcare sa labas ay hindi nila ma-enjoy dito sa atin. So kailangang ayusin natin 'yung bansa natin para 'yung paglabas ay– ay choice, hindi because of– of necessity.

    'Yung pangalawa naman, 'yung sinasabi mo kanina, I fully agree with you na nagpapalabas naman– nagpapalabas tayo ng mga workers. Mag-invest na tayo sa kanila. Halimbawa, ex– pinaka-example nito, seafarers. Napaka– napaka– napaka-dami ng seafarers natin na nagtatrabaho sa labas. Pero pag tinignan natin, sa dami ng seafarers natin, sobrang small percentage niyan, 'yung mga opisyal, 'yung mga opisyal sa barko. And pag tinignan natin, Cito, 'yung sweldo nila, sobrang layo. Sobrang layo ng sweldo nila na bakit hindi tayo mag-invest?

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay.

    VP LENI: Bakit hindi tayo mag-invest na, halimbawa, 'yung senior high school natin, 'yung mga maritime schools natin, siguraduhin natin, halimbawa, senior high, pine-prepare na natin sila for a cadetship program. Actually, may sinimulan kami nito, Cito, sa Bulan Sorsogon, na pine-prepare natin sila for a cadetship program.

    'Yung mga maritime schools natin, sisiguraduhin natin na at par with international standards 'yung mga graduates nila para– para lalabas lang naman sila, maging opisyal na sila.

    CITO BELTRAN: 'Yun. Okay. Pasensiya ka– pasensiya ka na ma'am VP, ano. Kasi nine o'clock na, mag-oovertime na. Baka ako ang mag-invest sa sarili kong programa.

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    CITO BELTRAN: But any way, thank you very much, and a few last words, ma'am, for our viewers?

    VP LENI: Ako lang, dumadaan tayo ngayon sa napakahirap na panahon. 'Yung surge, grabe. 'Yung akin lang, ang aking paalala– ang aking paalala na 'yung mga health protocols na matagal nang inuulit sa atin, susundin natin. 'Yung opisina po ng Vice President ay handa na tumulong kahit sino nagkakasakit. Meron po kaming Bayanihan E-Konsulta, handa kami noon. We're doing Swab Cabs– this morning, Cito, after this interview, I will be in Payatas, we're doing a Swab Cab there. 'Yung mga kailangang-kailangan ng mga libreng swabbing, disposed po kaming gumawa noon.

    Pero ang– makakaalpas lang po tayo dito sa pinagdadaanan natin pag sama-sama tayo at tulong-tulong tayo. Kaya 'yung sa akin po, I encourage everyone to contribute in whatever help you can. By staying at home, you already contribute. Sa mga nagkakasakit po, ang aking dasal na sana gumaling na kayo, at sana hindi na humaba pa 'yung kahirapan na pinag-dadaanan natin.

    Pero mahirap man po 'yung sitwasyon, basta sama-sama tayo, walang imposible.

    CITO BELTRAN: Okay. At sana naman po, mag-wagi kayo, Madame Vice President. Thank you for your time this morning.

    VP LENI: Thank you, Cito.

    CITO BELTRAN: God bless you.

    VP LENI: Thank you very much.

    [END 1:02:02]

     

    Posted in Transcripts on Jan 12, 2022