OVP/Charlie Villega

If Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo becomes president after the elections in May, she is planning to prioritize infrastructure projects for water resources management, public transport and rural development, and reconstruction of public infrastructure and housing projects in calamity-stricken areas.

During the Meet the Presidentiables forum on Friday, she explained that infrastructure development must not be done just for the sake of it, rather be done for a purpose and with a proper strategy.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System has already raised concerns that water levels in Angat dam might go below the minimum by April, she noted, which could lead to a water shortage in the capital and surrounding areas. If she becomes president, she seeks to ensure there is an adequate water supply.

The long-term solution is definitely to invest in the country’s water systems and ensure that they are well maintained, she added.

As for her transport development agenda, Ms. Robredo said that the country has long had a problem with traffic as its “mass transport system remains inefficient.”

She called the issue a “stumbling block to growth” as time is more often than not wasted on the road rather than used more productively.

Her third program is to have a proper solution to what she said was a “cycle of devastation and reconstruction” experienced by areas that are regularly hit by typhoons.

Ms. Robredo proposes building permanent resettlement sites with climate-resilient public housing for those whose houses are completely destroyed and who live in climate-vulnerable areas.

In her economic platform, Ms. Robredo plans to create “a fully functioning national competitiveness council” to bridge the gap between government and the private sector, and craft a comprehensive strategy that involves all stakeholders to make the country more globally competitive.

“Spaces for dialogue, sectoral feedback, and consensus building will be created, enabling continued sustainable collaboration,” she said.

“Through the entire process, the imperative will be to unlock the energies of the entire economy, ensuring that the Ease of Doing Business Act is implemented, for example, or that roadblocks in the form of outdated policies and laws are removed,” she added.

In the same way, she is eyeing to accelerate the digital transition and reduce the amount of human intervention that can often be an avenue for corruption. “Under a more transparent, ethical, more trustworthy government, the right national priorities necessarily open the gates to progress,” she said at the forum.

“My commitment to the business community — we will create an environment where enterprises have a chance to compete fairly, we will not fixate on restrictions or merely a way to pounce or penalize those who set an inch out of line,” she added. “Your voice will be heard as we work for the common good.”

The presidential aspirant also said that she will encourage more private-public partnerships for critical projects including roads, expressways, airports, seaports, water concession projects, and hybrid models for mass transportation, among others.

“The leader you can trust beyond the elections is the one who should have already earned your trust today through their track record, and through the unshakable proof of what we have so far done in our time in public service, and in fact our entire lives,” Mr. Robredo said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan