Robredo lauds pandemic response volunteers in her own final SONA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday thanked volunteers who helped healthcare workers during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in her State of the Nation Address, which she said aims to fill the gaps in President Rodrigo Duterte's nearly three-hour SONA.

In a 14-minute video entitled "Ulat sa Bayan," Robredo said the truth needs to be told.

"Humaharap ako ngayon sa inyo para punan ang isang puwang... Ang totoo: Pilipino ang tumulong sa kapwa Pilipino. Nakaraos lang tayo sa nakaraang isa't kalahating taon dahil sa lakas na ibinigay natin sa isa't isa," she said.

[Translation: I come before you today to fill in the gaps... The truth: Filipinos helped their fellow countrymen. We were able to survive a year and a half into the pandemic because of the strength we gave each other.]

Robredo also acknowledged the local dressmakers who manufactured affordable personal protective equipment, private partners who offered free rides and transportation services, educators, and other workers who gave their services for free when the Office of the Vice President sought for help in March 2020.

"Walang malaking budget ang OVP; wala kaming malaking makinarya tulad ng ibang ahensya. Ang budget namin, tiwala. Ang makinarya namin, taong nagkakawang-gawa," she said.

[Translation: The OVP does not have a big budget; we don't have the machineries of other agencies. Our budget works around trust. Our workforce is the people who are willing to help.]

The Vice President said she remains focused on finding better ways to respond to the health crisis, despite the nearing 2022 national elections. She also urged politicians to do the same.

'Yung magkakabit ng billboard at tarp, sana tungkol sa kung paanong makakaiwas sa sakit. Kung may ipapagawa sa isang batalyong graphic artists, sana ang layunin, para dumami pa ang magpapabakuna," she said.

[Translation: Those who will install billboards and tarpaulins, I hope it's about how to avoid getting COVID-19. If you're going to use your battalion of graphic artists, I hope it's to raise vaccine confidence.]

The OVP will release policy recommendations for a strengthened COVID-19 response, Robredo said.

Health reform advocate and former Inter-Agency Task Force adviser Dr. Tony Leachon criticized Duterte's speech on Monday, saying a comprehensive pandemic report and roadmap was not discussed halfway through the longest post-EDSA SONA.