Vice President and presidential bet Leni Robredo on Friday said the new year brings “renewed hopes, renewed chances, and renewed strength to face what lies ahead,” as she wished the Filipino people a “blessed and hopeful 2022.”
“This is a time for renewed hopes, renewed chances, and renewed strength to face what lies ahead. This is also a time to look back at the year that passed, and the lesson that came along with it: That despite the many difficulties we faced, we pulled through because we joined hands and helped one another,” she said.
She wished that every Filipino would choose the path of sharing “each other’s burdens and opening our hearts to the truth that all of our experiences and futures are connected and intertwined.”
“We look forward to a brighter and more prosperous 2022 because we understand that there is strength to be drawn from each other and that this strength will always be enough to get us through any challenge that lies ahead,” she said.
Robredo also said she sees a more prosperous year for Filipinos in 2022, as she noted that Filipinos have the strength that can be drawn from each other during difficult times.
Robredo’s running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meanwhile has continued to serve the interests of Filipino farmers, fisherfolk, and the agriculture sector through his legislative work amid the challenges and difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It can be recalled that at the height of the price increase of basic commodities in January, Pangilinan immediately called on the national government to strictly monitor the same to ensure that all Filipinos will be able to afford food for their families.
He attributed the price increase to the negative effects of importing products, thus advcating to strengthen support for local farmers.
During the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in March, meanwhile, Pangilinan lobbied – through Senate Resolution No. 676 – for a declaration of a state of calamity to aid hog growers recover from the devastating effects of said hog disease.
In April, when faced with the possibility of stricter lockdowns due to rising COVID-19 cases, Pangilinan pressed the national government to release funds for financial assistance to families who will again
be greatly affected by lockdowns.
Pangilinan also suggested that the government purchase food “ayuda” from local farmers and fisherfolk in order for the government to hit two birds with one stone: one in helping poor Filipino families, and two, providing additional income to the agriculture sector.
The Sagip Saka Act aims to provide higher incomes for farmers and fisherfolk through enterprise development and direct purchases by government agencies, LGUs, and the private sector.
Apart from his pro-agriculture sector advocacies in the Senate this year, Pangilinan also spoke sharply on several issues, including the West Philippine Sea dispute, the brazen killings of lawyers, the need
for the youth to register and vote for the upcoming national elections, the Senate hearing on the Pharmally fiasco, among others.
Although he has some reservations due to a number of changes in some of the law’s provisions, one of Pangilinan’s big wins this year is the passage of Republic Act 11524, othe wise known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
“This is the fruit of almost half a century of struggle against the injustice suffered by our coconut farmers. Our coconut farmers and their families must now reap the benefits of their hard-earned money,” Pangilinan said.
“Yes, I have mixed feelings about the law. Having said that, we will guard, we will be vigilant, and we will continue to see how this is going to be implemented,” he added.
This year also posed challenges on Pangilinan’s personal life, in particular involving his being a husband, after two YouTube channels released malicious videos accusing him of committing domestic violence
against his wife, Sharon.
As the allegations were baseless, the lawmaker requested YouTube to take down the videos but was ignored, prompting him to file cybercrime cases against Google Philippines and the owners behind the
“There is a gap somewhere. This needs to stop. Social media sites need to step up and be more responsive to reports and more especially to legal complaints. These are harmful to individuals and to families,” Pangilinan said.
But despite the trials this year both in his personal and political life, Pangilinan still chooses to see the silver lining, saying there are various reasons to be optimistic come 2022.