Fixture

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    ‘Since the start of the pandemic and the recent devastating assaults of three typhoons, Robredo has become a fixture at disaster sites, a poster girl of sorts personifying prompt response, a sense of urgency, selflessness and empathy.’

    IT comes with age and Vice President Leni Robredo certainly has the advantage. President Duterte cannot keep up with the pace and energy of a zealous 50-year-old or so determined to put her compassion in action which seems patently etched in the Robredo name. If the President now thinks that his Vice President has been overshadowing him in numerous relief efforts, it is because through his complacency and the indifference of national government officials, he has let her so.

    But no one can fault the President entirely for his latest tirade against Robredo, whose constant presence at calamity-stricken areas has highlighted his absence. People should understand that the President’s graying years and health have limited his mobility, despite his earnestness to uplift the sick and the suffering, as well as the policemen and soldiers.

    Since the start of the pandemic and the recent devastating assaults of three typhoons, Robredo has become a fixture at disaster sites, a poster girl of sorts personifying prompt response, a sense of urgency, selflessness and empathy.

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    Instead of conducting an investigation into the massive flooding in Metro Manila, Bicol, Cagayan and Isabela, senators should instead worry about the hapless fate of thousands of typhoon and flood victims. Politics, business and mining interests have long reigned in Cagayan and Isabela and the ruling elite there should be the first to face any Senate or Congressional probe.

    But colleagues in the two houses of Congress will simply turn any probe into a “moro-moro” and, as in the past, similar probes would turn out to be worthless.

    Meanwhile, some former local officials in Isabela led by former mayor Noli Siquian have been pressing the Ombudsman to file graft charges against top provincial officials for an anomalous P2 billion road construction that violated procurement and environmental laws and may yet spell another disaster in the province.

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    Instead of issuing press statements sympathizing with the victims, wouldn’t it be more welcome if they get their feet wet literally and lead in the current relief, rescue and rehabilitation activities? Wouldn’t it be less politicking if they are shown in the news visiting evacuation centers carrying food and clothes instead of berating officials of irrigation and disaster agencies in a Senate hearing?

    This country has been wearied by countless legislative hearings on mostly man-made crises that included uncontrolled flooding, deforestation, illegal mining and ravaged watersheds.

    Robredo seems to bask not in the adulation of already admiring millions but in her regular back-breaking travels to most disaster areas, pushing her at the forefront of relief and rehabilitation efforts that should be side by side with that of the national government.

    Ironically, her office is not mandated to respond to calamities the way it does and yet she is able to accomplish much, and seemed much more with her presence.