How Leni Robredo Turned Adversity into Advocacy: Discover the Inspiring Journey of the Former Philippine VP and Her Vision for the Angat Buhay Foundation

Leni Robredo Angat Buhay Foundation
From VP to NGO Leader: Unveiling the Heart and Vision of Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay Foundation in an interview with Rico Hizon. Photos from Rico Hizon Facebook post.

Leni Robredo’s journey from the Philippines’ Vice President to a leading advocate for change is a story of resilience and determination. Having faced numerous challenges throughout her political career, Robredo has emerged as a beacon of hope and inspiration for many.

Her unwavering commitment to social justice and empowerment has led her to establish the Angat Buhay Foundation, an organization with a mission to uplift the lives of marginalized communities in the country. In this article, we will delve into the inspiring story of how Leni Robredo turned adversity into advocacy, transforming the lives of countless individuals through her work with the foundation, as shared in a recorded interview at the Museo ng Pag-Asa with international broadcast journalist Rico Hizon in his multi-awarded The Final Word program on CNN Philippines.

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Before becoming the country’s Vice President, Robredo had already made a name for herself as a human rights lawyer and legislator, championing policies that sought to improve the lives of the poor and disadvantaged. Despite the numerous obstacles she faced, she remained steadfast in her commitment to uplift the marginalized. As we trace her journey from the second-highest office in the land to her current role as the visionary behind the Angat Buhay Foundation, we will uncover the principles that drive her forward, and how her unwavering dedication to her cause continues to inspire hope and change in the Philippines.


Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling in Politics

“Being a woman politician is very difficult, the double standards are still there… but I do not have any regrets that I stood my ground.”

In a candid interview with CNN Philippines’ Rico Hizon during Women’s Month, former Vice President Leni Robredo opened up about the challenges she faced as a woman in politics. From gendered attacks to battling double standards, Robredo remained steadfast in her commitment to public service. Reflecting on her time in office, she admits that she would have confronted these issues head-on from the start, but nonetheless, she has no regrets in standing her ground.

Learning to Confront Gender Attacks

“I should have confronted everything at the very moment that they came out.”

Throughout her political career, Leni Robredo has faced her share of gender-based attacks and discrimination. As a woman in a male-dominated arena, she often found herself subjected to disparaging comments and unfounded rumors aimed at undermining her capabilities and accomplishments. However, Robredo has learned to confront these attacks head-on, recognizing the importance of addressing them as they occur.

“I should have confronted everything at the very moment that they came out,” she reflects, acknowledging that silence often only serves to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and biases. By speaking out against these injustices, Robredo has become an inspiring role model for women in the Philippines and around the world, demonstrating that gender should never be a barrier to achieving one’s goals and making a difference in the lives of others.

Transitioning from Vice President to Angat Buhay Foundation President

“Going back to the pattern of doing development work has been very easy for us.”

Robredo’s transition to her new role as President of the Angat Buhay Foundation was smooth, thanks to her background in civil society work. She shares how her experience in the private sector and her conscious decision not to indulge in the perks of her government positions made it easy to return to her roots in development work.

Building the Largest Volunteer Network in the Philippines

“We felt we started a movement that was worth building onto… the communities where we started programs can continue doing the programs by themselves.”

Under Leni Robredo’s leadership, the Angat Buhay Foundation has successfully established the largest volunteer network in the Philippines, creating a powerful movement that transcends geographical boundaries and social strata. Robredo’s vision for the organization was to foster self-sufficiency and sustainability within the communities it serves. This approach has resonated with countless individuals, who have since joined the foundation’s efforts as volunteers, lending their skills, resources, and time to help uplift the lives of marginalized Filipinos. Through this extensive network of dedicated individuals, the Angat Buhay Foundation has been able to create a meaningful and lasting impact, ensuring that the programs initiated by the organization continue to thrive and expand even in the absence of direct intervention.

Raising Empowered Daughters: A Mother’s Role in Shaping the Future Leni

“All of them were raised by both Jesse and myself… I was also lucky that Aika performed her role as my co-parent.”

Robredo’s daughters, Aika, Tricia, and Jillian, have all found success in their respective fields. As a mother who had to raise her children after the passing of her husband, Jesse Robredo, Leni emphasizes the importance of instilling strong values in her daughters and credits her husband’s influence in their lives.

Bridging the Gender Gap: The Fight for Women’s Empowerment in the Philippines

“No. Not enough is being done… I feel like women empowerment is more inaccessible to rural women.”

Despite the Philippines ranking well in global gender equality reports, Robredo believes more needs to be done, especially for rural women. She highlights the importance of providing economic opportunities, education, and services to uplift and empower women, and stresses the need for political will to implement existing laws that ensure women’s welfare.

A Role Model for the Modern Filipina: Leni Robredo’s Message of Hope and Inspiration

“There are no small acts… It’s not the titles. It’s not the office that defines you. It’s what you do in whatever role is given to you.”

Leni Robredo shares her message for those inspired by her journey, emphasizing that no act is too small and that one can be an agent of change in someone’s life. She encourages others to maximize their opportunities and fill whatever spaces are given to them, as it is not the titles or office that define a person, but what they do in their given roles.

WATCH the full interview of citizen Leni Robredo by Rico Hizon for multi-awarded The Final Word on CNN Philippines here:

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