Robredo vows to protect IP rights, gets support from laity

VICE PRESIDENT LENI ROBREDO displays her certificate of candidacy for president in this file photo.

BORACAY, Malay, Aklan – Vice President Leni Robredo  vowed to protect the rights and wellbeing of the indigenous peoples (IPs), stressing that they will not be left behind by the government if she gets elected as President.

During her visit to an Ati community in Boracay island, Robredo said she envisions that IPs would live in communities without the fear of being evicted from their lands to make way for development programs or projects.

Earlier, the Council of the Laity of the Philippines has endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo in the May 9 elections. Earlier, at least 35 economists, many of whom served as NEDA chief, backed Robredo in her candidacy.

“With our current political-economic turmoil and the pandemic situation in the Philippines, we firmly believe that Vice President Leni Robredo, a God-fearing person, is the most capable candidate for the Presidency, and we urge our constituents, if possible, to consider the same,” they said.

Eleven of the council’s 15 officials decided to support Robredo.

The council said it made the decision after evaluating the track record and platforms of each candidate running for the highest elective post in the country.

An official also agreed to support the presidential candidate but with reservations because of her stance on same-sex union and decriminalization of abortion.

The group said there are still other issues that need further dialogue and cooperation but most of them agreed that Robredo “has the ability to implement partnerships for the advancement of the people especially the marginalized and her unassailable integrity, bested the others”.

“Hence, we explicitly endorse Vice President Leni Robredo to the highest position of our land,” they added.

“Ito po talaga ‘yung pangarap natin sa mga IP communities: na number one, masiguro na nakakatulog kayo gabi-gabi na panatag ‘yung kalooban na hindi kayo papaalisin, na araw araw tahimik ‘yung inyong pakiramdam, na ‘yung kinatitirikan ninyo ay walang pangamba na kakamkamin ng iba (This is really our dream for our IP communities: number one is to ensure that you are able to sleep every night without worries that you would be evicted or that your homes would be claimed by others),” Robredo said.

Robredo ensured that in her administration, the national government would give IPs the opportunity to live with dignity.

“Ang akin lang din na assurance sa inyo na pag tayo po binigyan ng pagkakataon, gaano man kakaunti kayo, gaano man kalayo kayo, sisiguraduhin po natin na ‘yung ating gobyerno ay inaalagaan kayo (My assurance if I am given the chance to be president is that even if you are a minority, no matter how far you are, the government will take care of you),” she said.

She also stressed the need to preserve the cultural heritage of IPs, particularly noting that the world-famous Boracay Island is being developed to promote tourism.

“’Yung kultura niyo mas mahalaga pa sa kahit anong negosyo, na ‘yung inyong kultura, ‘yung pangangalaga dito ay bahagi ng ating pagiging Pilipino (Your culture is more important than any type of business. The preservation of your culture is part of our being Filipinos),” she said.