Former vice president Leni Robredo stressed the need to develop strong civil society groups to be able to demand more from government.
“We have to act for us to achieve our dreams”, Robredo said in her speech at the Paghimud-os Negros Inc. first general assembly at the Acacia Hotel Bacolod grand pavilion in Bacolod City on Tuesday, May 23.
“Our dream for the whole country is that people will take it upon themselves to act…so that those in government will be forced to be transparent and accountable because that is what people demand from them,” she said.
She said if people come together, instead of just complaining in their homes and small circles, a lot can happen to bring about change.
Robredo said she is very hopeful Paghimud-os will be that platform for Negros Occidental, as she thanked its members and its chairman, former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela, for his leadership.
She also thanked the Negrenses who made her to win in Negros Occidental in the 2022 elections despite the odds.
“Our efforts did not go down the drain, we were able to achieve so much,” she said.
Robredo said when she filed her certificate of candidacy for the presidency she felt it was something she had to do “but I had no hope at all that I would be viable because my numbers in the surveys were very low”.
“But we finished second with 28 percent or 15 million of the votes,” she said.
“We did not get the results we wanted … but that was a great achievement for all of us,” Robredo said.
Her presidential campaign was the happiest of all the campaigns that she had participated in, Robredo said.
“In a traditional campaign the center of gravity is the candidate but our campaign was the other way around – the center of gravity was the people,” she said.
The fight for change did not end at the end of the election, the fight continues in the hands of the people, she said.
The 100 Paghimud-os Negros officers and members, who took their oaths before Robredo, pledged that as an organization, they will serve as a social conscience and as an instrument for bringing about holistic social, economic, and political transformation.
They also committed to bring about regenerative development within their communities.
Paghimud-os Negros is a civil society organization that started as an issue-based coalition in 2018, and was eventually registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2023, Coscolluela said.
Robredo on Tuesday afternoon also joined a “Tayo ang Liwanag” book signing event at the Acacia Hotel Bacolod convention hall.
The coffee table book “Tayo ang Liwanag” features photos and stories of volunteerism and of those who supported Robredo’s presidential campaign in 2022
She issued a similar challenge at the book signing event for civil society to work for change, and again thanked those present for their support in the 2022 elections.*