Orienting policies, decisions and actions towards the Filipino people is the “more loving option” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice President Leni Robredo said Friday.
In her speech during a webinar at the Ateneo de Naga University Center for Local Governance, Robredo said during these extraordinary times, “there is no time to waste.”
“[W]e have to find the gaps and fill them; we have to make our own path, set our own direction. We, ourselves, must rise and do what can be done—in the here and now,” she said.
“As the months pass by, we see that more and more of our people are losing their jobs and livelihood, and thousands are getting infected with the virus. So what do we do when the end to this crisis seems so far away?” Robredo said.
“There is no single, fixed answer to these questions, but the call of magis remains clear: We need to expand our circles of empathy," she added.
"When we understand their pain and suffering, when we listen to their pleas, their experiences and demands, then magis becomes more than just a call to excel; it also becomes a call to be more compassionate, more humane,” Robredo said.
If there is anything the pandemic taught Filipinos, Robredo said it would be “the greater the challenge, the greater the imperative for us to contribute, to be involved and to extend our reach to help.”
“Everyone should be all hands on deck. Klaro ito. Every step inches us closer to our collective goal,” Robredo said.
Earlier, the vice president said disunity in the country worsened over the past months when Filipinos were supposed to move in one direction amid the health crisis.
In her birthday message to Senator Leila De Lima and in an apparent jab at President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, Robredo said nation-building could not be achieved through threats and violence.
She made the remarks a few days after she was asked by President Rodrigo Duterte not to stoke the fire amid the pandemic.
Duterte on Tuesday took offense on Robredo’s criticism over the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is adding “fuel to the fire.”
In a speech on Monday night, Robredo, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, raised the issue of leadership and confidence amid the national health emergency.
Due to this lack of confidence in the government, Robredo said Filipinos are "willing to man the oars."
Robredo made the statement after meeting with researchers, analysts, professors and other experts on the economy over the past weeks on how the country can cope with the backlash of the pandemic that has left millions of Filipinos jobless and hungry.
Moreover, Robredo said the only way to pull through the crisis is “by moving outward and forward."
“Palabas at pasulong. Outward, meaning, extending ourselves beyond our usual circles, and reaching out to others with compassion. Breaking out of our old, self-interested bubbles and affinities. And forward, by approaching each task in the here and now with the awareness that everything adds up—that every step, however small, brings us closer to the horizon,” she said.
“This has been the mantra of the Office of the Vice President from day one, and it is what keeps us going—knowing that with every relief pack given, a family does not go hungry. With every PPE set provided, a doctor or nurse or a health practitioner is protected from the virus. With every palengke delivery made, a market vendor and a tricycle driver earns enough to put food on the table,” she added. -NB, GMA News