Has Leni Robredo actually taken a stand on anything controversial? It seems that the only thing she’s taken a stand on is, get this, the COVID-19 pandemic. And why not, right? What human on the face of this planet is not concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic? For two years, we were all subject to it and the measures our government’s implemented on a trial-and-error basis to contain it and mitigate its social and economic impacts.
So what does a party and its desperate presidential bet Leni Robredo do when pressed to come up with a platform and strategic vision for the country? Why, come up with a “COVID Strategy” of course!
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But of course. It makes perfect sense. As the next president of the country, you just have to have a COVID Strategy, right? And as to what this strategy aims to achieve? Here is a transcript of what Robredo, the foremost expert on combating a global pandemic, proposes — but this time without the OA soundtrack, the poverty porn backdrop, and the constipated look on her face. Ang dapat gawin…
Freedom from worry over getting sick
Public health first
Itigil ang kurapsyon (Stop corruption!)
Itigil ang anumalya (Stop anomalies!)
Competent COVID response leadership
Support for frontliners
Good pay for frontliners
Support for hospitals
– So that when you get sick, you don’t need to worry.
Free and accessible health care
Free consultation using technology
Each Barangay fully equipped and has its own nurse
Give them all that they need to do their job
Fast claims processing
Vaccines for all
Government to make it easy to deliver vaccines
Freedom from hunger
Filipinos are worried about where to get food for their children
Whenever there is a lockdown, provide immediate ayuda.
Stop large scale lockdowns
Lockdowns should be “targeted”
Support small businesses
Provide financial support to small businesses so they don’t need to layoff workers
Implement unemployment insurance so that people who lose jobs get help from the government
Strengthen agriculture and fishing sectors
Provide enough support to strengthen the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers
Ensure that every Filipino has food
Freedom from lack of education
For low risk areas, start opening schools
For high risk areas, give gadgets and “load” to each student
Increase the number of community learning hubs
Provide Internet access for education purposes
* * *
Clearly, with all the dramatics stripped off, all one is really left with is the above transcript of her salient points — basically all motherhood statements that make one think, arent’t we all glad Leni Robredo is here to tell us these things. Considering that Robredo enjoys the benefit of two years of being a miron (observer) to the world’s leaders dealing with what, during their times at the top, had been all unprecedented, the above is all she, her top “thought leaders”, and expensive campaign strategists could come up with.
Stepping back even further one ought to ask this aspiring president: is it really just all about COVID? Looking at the pained look on her face in the video, it becomes evident that this is about everything the energy she would bring to her proposed presidency can cope with. What Filipinos will be subject to once again, if Robredo had her way, will be a government obssessed with “the poor”. Never mind that the future of the Philippines hangs on the quiet achievement of its most promising citizens — the ones who possess the skills, capital, and motivation to invent that longer-lasting lightbulb and develop processes that yield more for less input. It does not lie in people who are burdens to society, are public funds sinkholes, don’t pay income tax, and feel entitled to help from the “more fortunate”.
The fact is COVID is just another one of those things people will have to live with. It can’t be an emergency forever — and certainly not one of those “emergencies” that an administration bereft of any forward-looking strategy relies on for relevance. Many Filipinos, for example, lack running water, indoor plumbing, and access to safe and efficient transportation. All that’s been going on for decades. But are those things treated like some sort of ongoing crisis? Not really. “The poor” are happy to elect the same public officials who had long maintained those status quos. So who cares, right? Their vote, their accountability. What makes COVID any different? It’ll just be another one of those day-to-day risks in the Philippines that the poor are at a disadvantage to mitigate but are at the bottom of the List of Things to Worry About of the rich and promising. That’s the status quo.
Want to change that status quo? Having a COVID-19 “Strategy” will not do that for you — specially one that is full of all the Whats-to-Dos that lend well to media sound bytes and campaign slogans and utterly thin on the How-Tos. To change the status quo, a leader needs to be transformational — not one whose entire campaign platform rests on shrill reactiveness.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.