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    Q&A with VP Leni Robredo on the Istorya ng Pag-asa Film Festival 2019

    Press conference on Istorya ng Pag-asa Film Festival 2019

    Cebu City

    VP LENI: Simulan ko siguro. We’re here in Cebu for two days—today and tomorrow. This is just one of the things that we’re doing. Later on today, we’re traveling to San Remigio, San Remigio. I was also there in San Remigio because we’re doing a project there. Our office there has built a mental health facility there. When I went last November, we inspected the construction. Tomorrow morning, we are already inaugurating the building.

    Hindi ko alam if naaalala niyo, after Yolanda, people found out that there were a lot of mental health patients in San Remigio. And then, when we went, we discovered that they were being tied up, parang, they were telling us they were tied up with padlocks? So we did a program with them. Napakahusay naman ng local government ng San Remigio. They were able to do a community mental health program already. So this mental [health] facility is just meant to, parang, enhance the program. We are very excited that tomorrow we are finally inaugurating the mental health facility.

    REPORTER 1: Good morning, Ma’am.

    VP LENI: Hi, Ed.

    REPORTER 1: Dave po—

    VP LENI: Ay, Dave.

    REPORTER 1: —of CNN Philippines. Just wondering what kind of topics could be accommodated for the film festival?

    VP LENI: Varied. During the 1st run, we had a lot of… Ano iyong pinakamarami sa atin? Parang stories of… (OVP: “Mental health.”) Parang we had stories on mental health, we had iyong mga disabilities, people with disabilities who were able to overcome their disabilities. Tapos stories of iyong people who have risen up from poverty. Mga ganoon. There’s really no limit. Ang pinaka-requirement niya lang, ano siya, parang, ordinary Filipino who has undergone tremendous struggles but has emerged triumphant. Iyon lang iyong requirement. So whatever the struggle is, whatever, alam mo iyon, iyong pinanggalingan, kung ano man siya—wala, walang limit.

    REPORTER 1: So those famous personalities are not part of this event?

    VP LENI: Hindi naman namin sinasabi na hindi puwede, pero parang mas highly encouraged iyong stories of ordinary Filipinos. Kasi this is meant to inspire. This is meant to inspire ordinary people who are also undergoing the same kind of struggles. Ang feeling namin— Ang gusto naming maging feeling kapag pinanood nila, sasabihin nila, “Kung nalampasan niya, malalampasan din namin ito.” So iyon. In fact, we had a lot of entries na tungkol doon sa mga sobrang hirap, na-orphan nang maaga, wala nang pampaaral pero nag-janitor while studying, nagkasambahay while studying para lang makatapos. When we go to schools, these are the kinds of films that we show, para ano lang, iyong gusto naming ma-impart sa mga estudyante, na walang dahilan para hindi kayo magsipag sa pag-aaral, kasi kung mayroon nga tayong mga ganito, na mas mahihirap iyong pinagdaanan but they have overcome their difficulties, there’s no reason why you can’t.

    OVP: Any more questions?

    VP LENI: Okay na? Okay na, no other questions? Okay, thank you very much for coming—

    REPORTERS: Other issues po.

    VP LENI: Ay, hindi pa pala tapos. [laughter] Sige, sige.

    OVP: Ang una pong magtatanong, from Freeman.

    REPORTER 2: Good morning po. Are we hopeful that we will be getting more votes for the LP candidates? Will you be getting more votes here in Cebu? And what are the campaign strategies that you’re going to launch in Cebu?

    VP LENI: Ako, we are very realistic but we’re optimistic. We are realistic in the sense that, number 1, we know for a fact that of the 8 candidates, parang dalawa lang iyong kilalang kilala. We still need to exert a lot of effort in introducing the others. Iyon iyong number 1 reality. Number 2, we cannot depend on many local officials like we used to. Kasi iyon naman iyong reality ng Philippine politics, ‘di ba—whichever is the party of the president, almost everyone is there. So because we’re not with the party of the President, then we cannot expect the same kind of support that we’re expecting in 2016.

    Pero having said that, we’re also very optimistic. We know that it will require greater effort on our part to introduce our candidates. We are confident that we’re offering the best and the… the best, the brightest, and the most capable of the senatorial candidates. The main struggle really is awareness. The main struggle is that they are not popular. So if we are given the opportunity to show people who they are, we are confident that we will be able to muster the support that we expect to muster.

    Iyong sa amin naman, the 1st week has been very encouraging. Siguro, kung napapansin niyo, wala masyadong collaterals, campaign collaterals, iyong aming mga kandidato, kasi hirap talaga—hirap na hirap. Pero iyong mga tao are coming up to us, sasabihin, “Kung wala kayong collaterals, puwede bang email niyo na lang sa amin, kami na ang magpapaimprenta.” Kanina, I was talking to some people downstairs, they are volunteers to the campaign. Iyong sabi nila, “Kami na, kami na iyong gagawa ng mga collaterals.” Sabi nila, “Iyong pampakain nga ng volunteers, kahit hindi kumain iyong mga volunteers, okay lang.” Everyone is all fired up. And I think it’s because iyong mga kandidato natin, talagang best of the best. Iyong sa akin, parang mali din na isipin na it’s all LP. Kasi of the 8, only 3 are members of the Liberal Party. There are representatives from… there are nominees from Akbayan, Tindig Pilipinas—Akbayan, Tindig Pilipinas, Aksyon Demokratiko, and Magdalo. So this is really a coalition of a number of parties and movements. Ano talaga siya, hindi siya LP only, hindi siya for 1 party only.

    But the good thing about it is hindi mahirap ibenta iyong aming kandidato. Hindi mahirap. Kahit hindi mga kilala, hindi mahirap ibenta, in the sense that madali na iyong information ngayon online, eh. Kapag Ginoogle mo na iyong pangalan ni, say, Atty. Chel Diokno, makikita mo na nasaan ba siya before the campaign, ano ba iyong mga tinayuan niya before the campaign, what kind of a person is he, ano iyong mga values—ano iyong mga advocacies, ano iyong mga values? So it’s so much easier now.

    And grabe din iyong appeal nila to the young, iyong mga estudyante, kasi iyan iyong mga very idealistic pa. Ito iyong mga voters na alam nila na ang binobotohan nila hindi naman iyong mga kandidato pero iyong binobotohan nila, kung ano iyong future nila. So kami, we’re— Gaya ng sabi ko kanina, we’re fired up, we’re optimistic. We know it’s difficult, pero it doesn’t bother us that we don’t have a lot of local officials na kakampi because we— Ano ito, eh. Parang… We are hoping that it is going to be a people’s movement. Example—kailan ba ako nasa Pampanga at Nueva Ecija? The other day? Yesterday? Noong Monday. I was in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija. The same. Hindi na ako kailangang magsalita nang matagal. Nag-uumpisa pa lang ako, sinabi na sa akin, “Ma’am, kami ay Otso Diretso. Talagang kumbinsido kami sa mga kandidato niyo. Pero wala pa kaming hawak na kahit ano.” When I was hesitating, ang sabi nila, “Kami na ang mag-iimprenta, kami na ang bahala.”

    So, alam mo iyon, it doesn’t happen usually in a campaign. Paminsan sa campaign, talagang naghihintay iyong tao na i-push. Pero ito, iyong tao mismo iyong nagvo-volunteer. And we hope more people will get to know our candidates. Kasi tingin namin, when they get to know them, same reaction.

    OVP: Next from Inquirer.net.

    REPORTER 3: Good morning po, Vice. Follow-up lang po doon sa kanina: You said hindi naman problema sa inyo iyong kulang ng local candidates. But who will be carrying your campaign here in Cebu and the Visayas po, considering na apat lang po yata iyong mga provincial candidates na under LP?

    VP LENI: Ano naman… Tingin ko, that’s the unfortunate thing about Philippine politics. It’s unfortunate but it’s the reality. Every time there is a presidential elections, right after the elections there would be a deluge of, ‘di ba, parang deluge of transfers to the party of the President. And it happened to the Liberal Party. Pero iyong sa akin, parati kong sinasabi sa mga kasama ko, baka naman blessing in disguise ito. Baka blessing in disguise din for the party, kasi tingin ko iyong partido naman, hindi naman iyon numero, ‘di ba, pero gaano ba ka-committed iyong mga members? Halimbawa, dito sa Cebu, totoo, kaunti na lang iyong natira. Pero kita niyo naman kung sino iyong mga natira, ‘di ba? Hindi ko na iisa-isahin, pero halimbawa na lang Gov. Junjun Davide. Ano naman, kahit si Governor Junjun, tingin ko he espouses the values that the LP stands for, ‘di ba? So iyong sa akin, sana, sana ano din ito, maging lesson din for the party, na hindi dapat iyong numero iyong hinahabol natin parati. Iyong sukatan ng pagkahusay namin bilang partido, hindi iyong number of members, but how committed the remaining members. Tapos how representative are they of the values that we have been… that the party has been advocating for. Kaya nga noong nangyari sa LP iyong exodus, parang iyong desisyon ng mga natira, bakit hindi natin i-open to regular Filipinos—non-politicians, members of the sectors? Kasi that is what LP naman stands for, eh. Na iyong sensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Filipino, na iyong boses ng ordinaryong mamamayan iyong pinapakinggan. Kaya nga mayroon kaming Project Makinig, kasi iyong Project Makinig is going back to where we started. Kasi LP naman started— LP was a party who claims to have listened and continue to listen to the voice of the people. Kapag marami na masyadong members, parang nakakalimutan iyon. Kaya siguro mabuti din, mabuti din to a large extent iyong nangyari ngayon, kasi assessment din ito kung what we want to be as a party. I want to look at it as an opportunity for the party to, parang, improve itself.

    REPORTER 4: Good morning, Ma’am.

    VP LENI: Good morning, Ryan.

    REPORTER 4: Hi, Vice, good morning. Ma’am, reaction lang po natin sa panawagan po ng National Youth Commission kay Pangulong Duterte na bawian ng scholarship iyong mga mag-aaral natin na anti-government?

    VP LENI: Ako, nabasa ko iyon, at nalungkot ako. Nalungkot ako, kasi over the years, parang throughout the history of our republic, every time na may conflict, every time na mayroong upheaval, iyong nauunang maglakas ng loob, iyong mga kabataan. Nakita natin ito sa EDSA Revolution. Nakita natin ito during Martial Law. Nakita natin ito even before Martial Law. Talagang mas naaasahan iyong mga kabataan na ipaglaban iyong kanilang— Parang mas courageous iyong mga kabataan, eh. Parang wala pang takot, wala pang takot na ipaalam kung ano iyong kanilang saloobin.

    So kapag sinabi iyon ng National Youth Commission, gusto bang sabihin, iyong gusto nating klaseng kabataang Pilipino iyong sunud-sunuran lang? Iyong gusto ba nating kabataang Pilipino, iyong hindi nabibigyan ng boses para ipahayag iyong kaniyang paniniwala? Tingin ko hindi ganoon iyong gusto natin, kasi ang gusto natin Pilipinong malayang nakakapagpahayag ng kaniyang pinapaniwalaan, Pilipinong hindi natatakot sabihin kung ano iyong kaniyang saloobin—at gobyernong handang makinig kahit hindi maganda iyong lahat niyang naririnig.

    So for the National [Youth] Commission to issue such statement, parang kailangan na ba tayong matakot? Kailangan na ba tayong matakot na iyong mga namumuno ng ating mga kabataan, ganiyan na iyong pag-iisip?

    REPORTER 5: Speaking of Martial Law po—I mean EDSA—this Feb. 25 po is already the anniversary of EDSA, and iyong mga kabataan po, as you said, is one of the pioneers in upheaval. What’s your message po to the youth in commemoration of EDSA?

    VP LENI: Iyong sa akin kasi, ako, ano ako, EDSA baby ako. EDSA baby in the sense na nag-graduate ako ng college right after the EDSA Revolution. So ramdam, ramdam iyong participation ng mga kabataan sa pagbago ng pamahalaan.

    Pero ang tingin ko, ang pinakamahalagang mensahe every EDSA, pagpapaalala ito na iyong kapangyarihan, nasa taumbayan. Pagpapaalala na walang leader na too powerful kumpara sa kapangyarihan na nasa kamay ng bawat ordinaryong Pilipino. Iyong EDSA kasi, iyon iyong mensahe niya, eh. Napaka-powerful, dictator iyong namumuno sa atin noon, na marami na nasa older generation nag-iisip na imposibleng ma-unseat, imposibleng maalis sa power. Pero iyong EDSA Revolution showed us na no one is that powerful, kung ang boses na ng tao iyong makialam. So siguro iyon na iyong message natin every EDSA [anniversary]—to remind people na ang kapangyarihan nasa taumbayan.

    REPORTER 5: Ano po iyong significance ng EDSA Revolution ngayon, in relation to present-day issues, Ma’am?

    VP LENI: Pareho pa din. Kapag sinabing pareho pa din, kasi iyong kasaysayan naman ng bawat bansa, hindi lang ng Pilipinas, talagang there are good days and there are bad days. So iyong lahat na upheavals na pinagdadaanan ngayon—iyong polarization ng mga tao, iyong mga polisiya na palagay natin hindi nakakabuti sa taumbayan—ang mensahe ng EDSA, ang diwa ng EDSA, pagpapaalala na hindi naman natin kailangang lunukin lahat, na hindi natin kailangan na sumunod sa mga bagay na we think are morally wrong. Kasi iyong kapangyarihan, nasa atin. So iyong sa akin, mahalaga na sine-celebrate natin iyong EDSA, pagpapaalala lang. Nami-misinterpret ng iba iyong EDSA, na sinasabi nila na it’s a “dilawan” thing. It’s not. Kasi iyong dilawan, ano lang iyon, isang maliit na segment lang iyon ng society. Ang mas malaking segment society, iyong ordinaryong Pilipinong nagdesisyon na they’ve had enough of abuses. At pinapaalala sa atin na any time na dumadaan tayo sa ganoong sitwasyon, iyong kapangyarihan nasa atin.

    REPORTER 5: Last issue po, comment lang po doon sa extension ng martial law sa Mindanao po, which was affirmed by SC?

    VP LENI: Iyong sa akin, in-affirm na ng Supreme Court iyong extension ng [martial law sa] Mindanao, pero maraming mga katanungan. Maraming katanungan kasi sinasabi natin na the reason for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the reason for the 1st extension, the reason for the 2nd extension was siguruhin na walang violence, na controlled iyong mga nangyayari doon. So siguro ang pinaka-tanong: Bakit hindi natin na-prevent na mangyari iyong mga nangyari? Bakit hindi natin na-prevent iyong bombings sa Sulu? Ano ang assurance natin na with the 3rd extension, wala nang mangyayari na Marawi? Wala nang mangyayari na Sulu? Wala nang mangyayari na Zamboanga—kasi mayroon ding bombing na nangyari sa Zamboanga. Pagpapaalala lang na, ‘di ba, in the first place, iyon din iyong dahilan kung bakit nagkaroon tayo ng martial law? ‘Di ba iyon iyong dahilan kung bakit tayo nagka-extension? Para hindi sana iyon mangyari? Pero bakit kahit mayroong ganoon—mayroong declaration, mayroong extension—nangyari pa din? So anong kailangan nating paghandaan? At anong kailangan nating i-expect with the 3rd extension.

    OVP: Okay, thank you, Madam Vice President!

    VP LENI: Maraming salamat sa inyo!

    – 30 –

    Posted in Transcripts on Feb 19, 2019