(Screenshot by Team Leni Robredo - Palawan)

Vice President Leni Robredo vowed to strengthen the country’s “traditional alliances” with the United States as a cornerstone of her administration’s foreign policy if she is elected president.

“Ang atin ay atin. Meron tayong dalang armas at ito ‘yong panalo natin sa arbitral tribunal. Kailangan magamit natin ‘yon para magbuild tayo ng coalition of nations na pagtulung-tulungan natin ‘yong protection ng West PH Sea,” Robredo said in a virtual meet and greet organized by Team Leni Robredo -Palawan volunteers on Friday afternoon.

Robredo’s stance represents a turnaround from the current administration’s China bias, ushered early on by President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-US rhetoric.

Robredo promised to “rigorously uphold” the final and binding decision of the Arbitral Tribunal in 2016, which ruled in favor of the Philippines.

She said that the tightening of partnerships with regional and international communities like the emerging security partners, Japan, South Korea, and Australia and the revival of the US Defense Treaty would help the Philippines assert and protect its sovereignty, especially with the continuous threats and “bullying” that the country is facing from China.

“Kung ako ang mamumuno, hindi po pwede na papasok ako sa pakikipag-usap na madedehado ang ating bansa,” she added.

Robredo also committed to strengthen the capabilities of the Navy and Coast Guard.

Responding to a question about her plans for the tourism sector, Robredo vowed to initiate measures to usher its full recovery from the pandemic.

“Mahalaga ang turismo sa pag-unlad natin. Plano natin ay palakasin at paunlarin ang buong industriya at lahat ng kabahagi nito – empleyado, negosyo, at komunidad,” Robredo mentioned.

She said that it is important to invest in social protection amid a pandemic, level up service standards, push through “greener tourism,” develop a culture of safety among the sector’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by providing them with low-interest loans, so businesses can start and get the economy rolling once again.

Robredo also noted the lack of safety nets among tourism workers. She promised to implement the wage subsidy program and unemployment insurance to aid in the recovery of the businesses during the lockdowns.

“Ang daming tourism workers na nawalan ng trabaho at walang safety nets.’Yong ayudang binibigay ay kulang na kulang. Kaya kailangan natin ng maasahan na social protection plan gaya ng wage subsidy program at magkakaroon na rin tayo ng unemployment insurance para mas makabilis makabangon ang negosyo habang nagrerecover sa lockdown,” she said.

Robredo has proposed a P100 billion stimulus package for MSMEs that will be utilized for the upscaling of human resources through skills and business development.

Robredo also urged local governments to invest in infrastructure, which means better ports, roads, and public transportation systems, so tourists will be more encouraged to visit their places.

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