A Silent Leader: The Other Half of Change

FEU Advocate
July 20, 2016 19:28

Complementing the archipelago's iron-fisted father in his quest is a woman sporting velvet gloves, working in silence, and bearing her pusong mamon up her sleeves.

Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo stands on the second highest pedestal in the Philippine Islands as the Vice-President (VP), partnering with President Rodrigo Duterte in an attempt to revamp the country and yield positive results in six years top. From escaping the dark to finding her sunshine, this lady walked her way to the top with a torch emblazoned with passion and might.

Out of the shadows

VP Robredo stole the national spotlight when she became a widow of the Former Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Jesse Robredo. Albeit mourning, she rose to power with her prowess and determination to carry out her late husband's legacy.

However, some dance around the belief that it was sympathy and pity that catapulted her to her post. There are numerous mouths claiming that she seems to be living behind the shadows of her late husband, and even categorizing her as "inexperienced" and "unfit."

Little did they know that the person they labelled as unqualified has already been serving the public for 10 years, defending the less fortunate as a human rights lawyer in her hometown, and writing house bills as a former Congresswoman of her district.

"Tingin sa kanya ng mga taong nagtitiwala sa kanya, naging symbol siya ng pagbabago. Nakagawa and nakatulong na siya (People who trust her think of her as a symbol for change. She has done a lot and has helped a lot) even before Jesse died, even before the elections," Cherryne Rivera, an incoming 3rd year BS in Architecture student said.

Surely, this woman is not new to public service and administrative load. With the bills she has authored - like Full Disclosure Policy Bill, People Empowerment Bill, and Participatory Budget Process Bill - VP Robredo is an exponent of good governance and transparency for some time now.

She proves that she has been living out of her husband's shadow as she now serves as the beacon of hope for the people.

Quiet triumphs

As the quote goes: Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.

In retrospect, the echoes of VP Robredo’s achievements prior to the death of her husband may have been less heard off, but the long-standing support and trust of the people are somewhat proof of her great leadership.

VP Robredo chooses to be an advocate for the marginalized groups, keeping her focus on the basic sectors and the regions still "unreached" by the government. This keeps her advocacy and agenda silent and almost unknown to many.

Indeed, she is a silent worker. Before assuming a national post, she was known as a down-to-earth leader - taking the public bus in her travels and sporting down-to-earth attires in her public appearances. This simplicity of hers serves as her own brand of leadership like her late husband, which many describe as the 'tsinelas (slipper) leadership.'

An incoming 4th year BSBA major in Financial Management student Kenneth Chan commends her work and utter simplicity, saying “’Di siya extravagant. Pansin ko nga rin sa mga campaign advertisement niya. I salute her service. Genuine ‘yung humility niya. (She is not extravagant. I noticed it in her campaign ads and I salute her service. Her humility is genuine.)”

With the kind of politics in the Philippines, VP Robredo is a breath of fresh air for some people as she shines in all her yellow glory with her own 'tatak' in governance.

Epitome of a strong Filipina

She clawed and battled against males during the elections, Robredo became a symbol of female strength and resilience as she was hailed the winner of the national elections. Long before she became an icon in the eyes of women, she was already helping in raising the flag for Juanas.

As a woman fighting for human rights, VP Robredo walks with feminists in ending the oppression of women. Among her most notable advocacies is her fight for gender equality, stopping gender discrimination, and empowering females all over the archipelago.

Not only that, she is also a hands-on mom, proving her resilience as she was able to raise fine ladies of her own.

Now, upon her triumph, she works as the mother of the Philippines and all its citizens, showing the values of caring and the same love a mother has for her children. In the eyes of some Tamaraws, Robredo is not only a VP but the ideal woman of strength, grace, and dignity.

"She's the type of mother na makikita mong nabibigatan din kapag nakikita ka niyang hirap sa buhay. 'Yung nanay na sobrang nakakagaan ng loob 'yung ngiti na kapag tinitingnan ko, good intentions toward her people lang 'yung nakikita ko (... who you will see struggling when you are having a hard time. A kind of mother that lifts your spirits with just a smile, and I can see her good intentions towards her people)," observed Jemuel Cedrick Satumba, an incoming 4th year BA in International Studies student.

Her heart for the minority and her desire to empower her constituents are the contributing elements to her rise. More than her simplicity, it was her passion to serve and willingness to help that won the hearts and the trust of the majority.

- Arianne Jeanel F. Calumbiran