'Hindi lang sisilip': Robredo vows to be visible, hands-on president during disasters

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Vice President Leni Robredo vowed to be a hands-on president if elected, saying she'd rather be on the ground than get updates from reports whenever disasters hit the country. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 16) — Vice President Leni Robredo vowed to be a hands-on president if elected, saying she'd rather be on the ground than get updates from reports whenever disasters hit the country.

"At hindi lang 'yung pupunta ako para silipin. Ako alam ito ng mga constituents ko sa distrito, na before, during, and after every sakuna, nandun ako. Gusto kong sabihin nandun ako for as long as I'm needed, hindi 'yung parang nagpakita lang ako," Robredo told reporters during a visit to her office's "Vaccine Express" in Pasay City on Thursday.

[Translation: I don't visit just to look around. My constituents in my district know this that before, during, and after every disaster, I'm there. What I want to say is I'm there for as long as I'm needed, and not just to show up.]

As Typhoon Odette battered parts of the country, Robredo said she's in constant coordination with local officials, including governors of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands — and her office is ready to distribute relief goods.

"And alam natin, 'yung problema 'pag mandatory evacuation kasi talaga kailangan maraming pagkain. So ito kasi, iba-ibang lugar. Iba-ibang lugar, iba-iba 'yung pangangailangan. So, sinabi ko sa kanila na kung ano pa 'yung kailangan, sabihin sa 'min," she added.

[Translation: We know the problem during mandatory evacuations, we need a lot of food. This involves different areas, and in different areas, they have their own needs. I asked them to inform me if they still need anything.]

The presidential hopeful underscored the importance of a having a visible president during calamities. Robredo said it gives hope to affected families, adding that many things can be done. It also makes it easier to tap the private sector knowing the leader is on top of the situation, she added.

"Kaya hindi ako nakukuntento na hindi ako mismo 'yung bumababa. Hindi ako nakukuntento na binibigyan lang ako ng report, kasi paminsan 'yung report hindi niya naka-capture 'yung tunay na sitwasyon," Robredo explained.

[Translation: I'm not contented if I don't personally visit the affected areas. I'm not satisfied that they just give me reports because sometimes a report doesn't capture the real situation.]

Even with a small budget, Robredo said they made sure to allot a big chunk of that to disaster rehabilitation and mitigation efforts, pointing out that her office has been constantly responding to disasters — be it typhoons, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.

For Typhoon Odette, the Vice President appealed to her supporters planning to organize donation drives to wait until Friday for "better information."