FOR Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, 2017 has not been a good year for Filipinos. That’s why she hopes that the coming year would be better for her fellow countrymen.
In a media interview on Thursday, December 28, Robredo shared her New Year’s wish for the country: a more united Filipino people, fewer calamities, and zero violence and killings.
“Sa akin, hindi lang siguro isa, pero una, katahimikan para sa ating bansa. Pangalawa, sana mabawasan na iyong mga sakuna. (For me, it’s not just one, but first, peace for our country. Second, I wish there will be less calamities),” she said.
She continued, “Maiwasan na iyong away, maiwasan na iyong patayan; at magkaisa tayong mga Pilipino. (I wish we can avoid fighting, killings; and that Filipinos will become united).”
Robredo, a vocal critic of the drug war, has repeatedly called in the past to put a stop to the killings of thousands of suspects amid the implementation of the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The vice president also remarked that the year 2017 “didn’t end very well” for Filipinos due to the recent natural calamities that struck different parts of country this December.
“Parang hindi naging masyadong maganda iyong pagtatapos ng taon para sa ating lahat. Sunud-sunod iyong mga sakuna na nangyari, at iyong nakakalungkot doon, maraming namatay. (The year didn’t end very well for all of us. There were calamities that happened one after the other, and what’s saddening is that many people died),” she said.
Last week, typhoon Vinta (international name Tembin) battered the southern Philippines, leaving at least 240 people dead. Prior to typhoon Vinta, typhoon Urduja (international name Kai-tak) ripped through Visayas and Mindanao, claiming at least 41 lives.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said it is also monitoring clusters of clouds east of Mindanao as of early Friday, December 29.
According to the weather bureau, the clusters of clouds are likely to develop into a low-pressure area that could enter the Philippine area of responsibility on or before New Year’s Day. PAGASA said the low-pressure area may later develop into a tropical depression.
Lamenting the deaths of Filipinos due to the recent typhoons despite the government’s efforts to aim for zero casualties, Robredo said it’s time to reassess the government’s disaster preparedness.
“Matagal na nating pinagtatrabahuhan na zero casualties sana tayo sa mga sakuna, pero iyong tanong ngayon, bakit ang daming namatay? Tingin ko panahon ito para i-assess ulit kung ano iyong mali na ginagawa natin. (We have been working for a long time on achieving zero casualties in times of disaster, but my question now is, why were there so many deaths? I think it’s time to reassess what we’ve been doing wrong),” she said.
The vice president also lamented the supposed divisiveness between Filipinos. She expressed hope that things will be different in 2018.
“Tingin ko hindi naging maganda iyong 2017 as far as pagkakaisa is concerned. Masyadong polarized iyong mga Pilipino noong mga nakaraang buwan at nakaraang taon. (I think what happened in 2017 wasn’t good as far as unity was concerned. Filipinos were too polarized in the past year),” Robredo said.
“Sana mag-iba na iyon sa 2018, kasi iyong susi lang naman para umasenso tayo bilang isang bansa ay iyong magkaisa tayong lahat (I hope this will change in 2018, because the key to progress as a nation is national unity),” she added.