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Leni Robredo Took To Sydney Train During Her Visit Last Year

May 6, 2016 – Riding Sydney’s   Tangara train was a feature of Philippine Vice Presidential candidate and Congresswoman Leni Robredo’s visit of  Sydney April last year as part of her three Australian cities tour under official invitation by the Australian government.

Scene of the Congresswoman’s taking Sydney’s public transport  must have stirred  the imagination of many once more. A few months before, a picture in social media of the lady lawmaker patiently waiting for  an inter-provincial bus  for her  travel back to her constituency in Camarines Sur  province were much admired and went viral in social media. It was a  touching scene of an honourable member of the country’s legislature using ordinary passenger bus instead of a luxury vehicle complete with bodyguards, for one’s long trip to the province.

Robredo is one of the hopeful leaders who can inspire the country these decade like  Aung Sang Suu Kyi of Myanmar or Narendra Modi of India.

Today three days before the Philippine national election, many Bicolano Sydneysiders are quiet excited of news from the Philippines that Camarines Sur congresswoman Leni Robredo finally leads the poll survey and might just win the vice presidency.

From being known as a mere widow of the late  cabinet secretary Jessie Robredo,   Leni Robredo and her  decade long work as NGO lawyer for fringe dwellers and disadvantaged members of society were brought to public knowledge during the election campaign. Now she is  poll survey front liner by slim margin of point of one per cent.

Congresswoman Robredo  is a political figure in the province of Camarines Sur in the Philippines.   She was elected as representative for the third district of  Camarines Sur  in 2012, a few months after  her husband and  stalwart for good and efficient governance the late Secretary  Jesse Robredo  died in a plane crash. Mrs Robredo visited Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne under the Department of Foreign Affair and Trade’s special visit program.

During the election campaign for May 9 2016 election, Robredo strongly campaigned on a platform of inclusiveness and transparency of government including participation of  citizens networks in the business of government, as vice presidential team mate of Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas.

Congresswoman Robredo visited Sydney last year under Australian government program to bring influential foreign officials, academics and business people to Australia. They are personalities who are likely in positions which deals with issues of direct relevance to Australia’s  foreign and trade policy interests.

As legislator, Mrs Robredo continued the humble and faithful public servant’s  lifestyle  of her husband  Jesse who had been vastly admired  for his government service.  The late Robredo was  a recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award achievement  for government  service.

The public in the Philippines had also lauded  Mrs Robredo’s  transparent   and honest lifestyle as a congresswoman, even most admired for her decision to take a provincial bus like common travellers on her monthly trip  to and from Manila and her residence in Camarines Sur,  rather than the expensive  public funded congressman’s  car.

Honest, dedicated and effective public servants who can provide popular inspiration, Mrs Robredo has not escaped the eyes of  Manila’s opinion  and king makers  who were looking for more fresh and electable “presidentiable  candidate,

Last year, whilst Mrs Robredo  enjoyed the support  of a Facebook group  promoting  her election as president, close and loyal supporters in Camarines Sur say Mrs, Robredo may instead decide for the realistic goal of running  either as  Senator or for congressional relection.

As it turned out later, President Benigno Aquino III and the declared Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas convinced her to run for vice president. She decided after much prayer and consultation with family, relatives and close political supporters.

In Sydney, Mrs Robredo said in her Facebook posts that she met with Commissioner Megan Latham and Deputy Director Stephen Osborne of the Independent Commission Against Corruption and was briefed on the role and function of the anticorruption agency ICAC, the enabling law and its impact on the problem of corruption in the government.

Mrs. Robredo also had luncheon meeting with Mr Eduard Alcordo, of Australia-Philippine Business Council (APBC), PH Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Consul Marford Angeles and Tourism Attache Consuelo Jones.

They discussed  AustraliaPhilippines business relations, investment and opportunities for partnership in her electoral district.  Mrs Robredo also met with Commissioner John McMillian, Head of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or OAIC, the office that ensures the proper implementation of the Freedom of Information Act of Australia,

Mrs Robredo  said,  she had requested for orientation of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Campaign , which is the brainchild of the present Lord Mayor of Sydney , outlining the vision of  what Sydney would like to be by 2030. She said the vision identified 10 very ambitious but  doable targets on health, education, employment, environment and provides for yearly assessment and publication of results.

Mrs Robredo arrived in Canberra the next day and met with Deputy Secretary Greg Moriarty of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who briefed  her  about the work they are doing  and news about  Philippine politics.

She was  given a private tour of the Australian Parliamen in the afternoon .  Mrs Robredo sai d she was guided by Mr. Kevin Condon, an Australian married to a Filipina from La Union. He knows so much about the Philippines and speaks and acts like a local. He said he visits the Philippines every so often.

Mrs Robredo later on went  to Melbourne, continuing her fact finding  tour.