Assuring her supporters that nothing was wasted from their presidential campaign, outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo said she would spin off the outreach arm of her office, Angat Buhay, into one of the country's largest NGOs that's dedicated to uplifting the lives of those on the fringes.
Angat Buhay helped Robredo redefine her constitutional role as "spare tire" to President Rodrigo Duterte, serving as a vehicle for typhoon relief and COVID response. After she told supporters to respect the will of the majority, she also asked them to continue volunteer work after the elections.
"Iniimbita ko kayong lahat: Ang mga nagtrabaho, mga nag-alay ng oras at pawis sa ating kampanya; ang mga kumpanya at private partners na bumunot sa sariling bulsa. Itutuloy natin ito. Itutuloy natin ang ating pagsasama-sama. Bubuuin natin ang pinakamalawak na volunteer network sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa," she said in a thanksgiving event at the Ateneo on May 13.
Robredo said she would launch Angat Buhay on July 1, her first full day as a private citizen. Presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will be sworn into office at noon of June 30.
Here's what we know so far about Angat Buhay:
What is Angat Buhay?
Angat Buhay aims to fight poverty in the Philippines and has partnered with private companies and other NGOs to help fund its projects, given limited funding of Robredo's office.
Launched in October 2016, it seeks to address the needs of those in the "laylayan" or fringes in in six areas: food security and nutrition; housing and resettlement; public education; rural development; universal healthcare; and women empowerment.
As of December 2021, It has worked with 372 organizations, mobilized some P520 million worth of resources that benefitted 321,001 families and 305,223 individuals in 223 communities, according to its website.
What are the projects under Angat Buhay?
Angat Buhay has initiated feeding and nutrition programs, housing projects, classroom construction, scholarships, disaster relief and rehabilitation, livelihood opportunities.
Among the beneficiaries are the survivors of the 2017 Marawi siege, who were given hygiene kits, medicines, psychological aid, food packs and materials to rebuild their homes. The OVP also built temporary shelters.
It also provided aid such as food packs for survivors of the Taal Volcano eruption and shelter for Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) survivors in Lupi, Camarines Sur.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Robredo's office launched the following initiatives under Angat Buhay:
- Bayanihan E-Konsulta, a free teleconsultation service for outpatient cases in Metro Manila and nearby areas without access to doctors, providing free COVID Care Kits for those in need
- Swab Cab, a mobile COVID-19 testing service
- Vaccine Express, a drive-thru vaccination program
She also opened free dormitories and offered free shuttle service for medical frontliners in Metro Manila at the onset of the pandemic.
What is an NGO?
A non-government organization or NGO is civil society group that uses private funds for public benefit, political analyst Aries Arugay said in a series of tweets following criticism of Robredo's plan to spin off Angat Buhay.
"NGOs and other civil society orgs are essential for democracy. They are also guaranteed by our Constitution (freedom of assembly). NGOs were viable partners of our government for years. So please, do not demonize NGOs," said Arugay.
Some of the notable examples of NGOs in the Philippines are Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and Gawad Kalinga.
Is Angat Buhay on social media?
As of May 16, Robredo's team has yet to launch official pages for Angat Buhay NGO. Robredo asked her followers on Facebook to await official announcements.
"Pinaaalalahan din po ang lahat na maging maingat at mapanuri sa mga iba't ibang nagpapakilala bilang bahagi ng NGO at tumutulong sa pagkalap ng pondo para rito," Robredo said."
For those who have questions or want to connect with the NGO, you may send an email here: email@example.com.