Answer to our prayers | Philstar.com
“I am not the answer to your prayer. We are the answers to each other’s prayers.
This quote is typical of Leni, exuding a rare humility among our public servants as she embraces the concept of working together to solve the problems we face in our country. Indeed, in another quote, she amplifies the need to work together:
“The biggest challenge in administration is keeping people involved, making them feel part of the solution. How to make them own the problems besetting the nation, kasi otherwise we will fail again.
These quotes are not just campaign speeches. This is how she has worked for the past six years with her grossly underfunded vice president’s office.
All she had was a billion pesos, less than the money the Duterte administration gave to Pharmally…and there was so much work to do…so many disaster victims to bring relief…help the workers and patients during a pandemic with everything from personal protective equipment to bus rides to hospitals, and a call center to help families of patients find an available hospital bed and more.
How does she manage? Where does it find the funds and the manpower? She gets all the help she needs by inspiring donors and volunteers. For example, logistics entrepreneur Bert Lina offered free use of its luxurious Ube buses to transport medical personnel.
His office often looks like a relief warehouse, with bags of rice, assorted canned goods, medicine, clothes, and other things the victims need immediately. The volunteers sort and make a careful inventory of everything that is sent to the ÖVP and possibly help with the distribution.
They have assembled care kits containing alcohol, some over-the-counter medications, an oximeter and a digital thermometer, along with doctors’ guidelines for families of COVID patients who are being treated at home. Doctors and nurses monitor patients until they recover.
Strictly speaking, the ÖVP has no real functions other than waiting for a position to become available in Malacañang. She didn’t have to spend sleepless nights during the typhoons and the pandemic. Now his successor will have such a high bar for performance to achieve.
And to think she was a reluctant candidate, agreeing to run more out of a sense of duty, not for power, fame or wealth.
She lives simply, with a net worth of around 12 million pesos. She is the only major presidential candidate who does not live in Forbes Park or Ayala Alabang. She lives in her in-laws’ unassuming condo in town and in a middle-class townhouse in Naga.
She showed that it is possible to run a government office efficiently and honestly with every penny accounted for. She is uncomfortable with the bells and whistles that come with high public office. No wang wang for her.
She launched a campaign with a strict warning to show everyone radical love. This is how it led to a “popular campaign” of volunteers from various persuasions, but united in their conviction that our country deserves better.
In the beginning, the campaign went here and there. The professional communicator in me worried that there wasn’t a dominant theme, the way we used to run such campaigns back then with advertising.
But I was wrong. This is a civic campaign. People made their own tarps, leaflets, t-shirts and funded their own participation in rallies and spending on their own door-to-door campaign.
There was no mandatory visual theme, but somehow the volunteer artists painting all of these murals managed to convey a singular message of hope.
Poet and sportswriter Krip Yuson observed that “he moved forward and showed his true colors, not just pink for hope and good cheer, but also a daily rainbow of inspiration beaming with a woman of infinite grace, courage, tirelessness and apparent destiny, the power of willpower unleashed a tidal wave of creativity, generosity, personal determination and committed energy.
Obviously, there are enough people who are fed up with our rotten politics that have held back the development of our country for decades. Thus, as Krip puts it, “the idea of a single champion who could take down a cabal of corrupt families with a single blow struck rational Filipinos as a simple and desirable equation.”
Krip continues, “The Kakampinks’ enthusiasm has been unbridled and undeniable. Leni was the champion of hope – that a political system linked to corruption could undergo major changes. Filipinos who uphold positive principles and values easily chose the woman of integrity who had already done a lot, and promised to do more…
“Our champion of hope has become that of feverish inspiration; what started as a political campaign quickly became a tireless movement. Voluntary organizations involving doctors and frontliners, lawyers, architects, engineers, educators, students, farmers, fishermen and indigenous people were joined by the creative community who armed the symbols of rallying, l image to word through music…”
The Leni campaign is not only political. It has been as much a cultural outpouring of talent with visual, musical, theatrical and popular showbiz stars contributing to a feel-good fiesta where kindred spirits gave it their all as if their lives were on the line. In fact, their lives are at stake and ours too.
People realized that we couldn’t afford to waste another presidential term. Several generations of Filipinos have chosen our presidents poorly, allowing them to put personal power and glory ahead of the common good. Thanks to our former presidents, who were only second to Japan, our neighbors have passed us and many of our fellow citizens are left poor, uneducated and hungry.
If she wins, Leni can inspire many of our employees to devote time, talent and money to the task of transforming our government and our lives.
A Leni Robredo presidency will be participatory. Citizens will have to commit to help achieve all that it represents. It will be as voluntary as her pink campaign had been.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to elect a leader who will surely not steal, who will spend our tax dollars wisely, and who will ensure a bright future for our grandchildren.
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Boo Chanco’s email address is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco