KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania (JGL) – Vice President Leni G. Robredo told a press conference here Saturday that “extra-judicial killings” have got to stop, “pero (but) I’m just one voice even if I am vice president. I think media can do a lot as far as creating a mindset that this is not right. There have been few voices already out there against extrajudicial killings.”
In her second foray outside the Philippines after her election as vice president, Robredo said, “But I think the public outcry is not there yet. I think all of us should do our share in making sure that this has to stop. The President (Duterte) has made several statements already, saying the rule or law and due process would be honored.”
The vice president was the guest of honor, speaker and inducting officer of the newly elected members of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) in the 12th National Empowerment Conference from Aug. 4-7 at Valley Forge Casino & Resort at King of Prussia, 19.4-miles (26-minute car drive) northwest of Philadelphia, the meeting place that gave birth to the signing of Declaration of Independence in 1776.
“But you know everyone of us should have a stake in this. Just last week, I lost two of my friends. One is a barangay captain, one is a sheriff to senseless deaths. I was in the wake of a high school teacher, who was a batchmate of my second daughter.”
She said, “The high school math teacher in Ateneo was gunned down outside his house. Until now, no leads.
“The barangay captain is in his late sixties or 70s. Very simple, very humble man. No enemies. He was also gunned down by motorcycling riding men. Parang (it seems) there is pervading culture of impunity.
“Not only that. If you look at social media, there is also a sense of culture of hatred already. Parang kakaiba ngayon, di ba? (It’s very odd this time, isn’t it?) Parang (it seems), I think this started during the campaign period.
Speaking candidly but haltingly, the vice president added, “Parang hindi naman tayo ganito. (It seems, we were not this way). And you will ask yourself, saan ba tayong, parang may nag-snap sa ating lahat. (Where are we, it seems as if something snapped). But if you will also look around the world, I think we are not alone in this.
She added, “Parang (it seems), there is a global phenomenon right now. That there is a culture of hatred going around. Pero (but) we should not feel helpless. It’s scary. “Ito paghindi kasi enough ang public outcry, (If there is not enough outcry) that brings a sense of hopelessness and you ask yourself, is this really what the majority wants?
NO VOICING OUT
“Bakit walang ganon? So, tatanongin natin ang sarili natin. Ito ba yong gusto natin? Kasi kung ito ang gusto natin, yong mga ayaw noon, talagang hindi dapat matakot. Pero kung hindi naman ang gusto natin, marami lang sa atin ang hindi bomoboses. (Why is there none such? Let’s ask ourselves questions. Is this what we want? Because if this is what we want, those who did not like this then, they will not be scared. But we don’t like this, there are a lot who are not voicing out.) Then, we are then, we are not doing enough. So, ako naman (For me), (I’m) very vocal about it. But people have been grateful about it. Pero (but), our voices are not enough, eh. We should be more (vocal). Para yong pressure na. parang ano (So, the pressure will be strange). Medyo kakaiba (It seems very odd). Tama po kayo (you are right), it’s scary in the sense that maraming nangyayari (many things are happening).
Those inducted into office as newly elected NaFFAA executive officers are Branden Flores, national chair; Emraida Kiram, vice chair; and Marialla Fletcher, treasurer; the newly elected Board of Governors are Steven Raga, Brad Baldia, Marie Cunning, Giselle Rushford and Bing Branigin.
As NaFFAA’s fundraising for $100 for each guest, who would like to have a meet-and-greet and photo-op with the Vice Presided netted nearly $3,500 that will go to the Leni’s government poverty alleviation program.
At the press conference, Vice President Robredo thanked the Filipino voters in the United States for letting her win in her election. The Philippine Consulate General in New York, which covers Pennsylvania arranged the Vice President’s press conference thru Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon.
She later flew to San Francisco, California to speak before various Filipino American organizations.
Robredo just returned from Thailand where she attended the celebration of Thai Women’s Day and received the Queen Sirikit’s recognition as one of the “Honorary Outstanding Women of 2016.”
While in Thailand, she also met with representatives from the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and discussed Thais’ housing program called Baan Mankong, which she said the Philippines can replicate.
“In 10 years naayos niya ang problema niya sa housing. Kung pupunta ka ngayon doon, iyong mga dating nakikitang blighted areas di mo na makikita. I think marami tayong lessons na makukuha doon,” she added.
The community of King of Prussia took its name in the 18th century from a local tavern named the King of Prussia Inn, which was named after King Frederick II of Prussia. King of Prussia of the Montgomery County hosts the largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of leaseable space and size (nearly 3 million square feet).