By Joshua Corcuera
Last July 1, former Vice President Leni Robredo launched the Angat Buhay non-governmental organization (NGO)—a means for her to continue serving the masses despite being a private citizen.
The former vice president ran for the presidency and garnered more than 15 million votes which is a huge number. In 1998 and 2004, former presidents Estrada and Macapagal-Arroyo received 10.7 million votes and 12.9 million votes, respectively (back then, however, there were less registered voters). Despite this considerably good electoral performance—and her track record of integrity—she ended up being second in the race having no match against Marcos’ well-oiled machinery and familiar political name who is now serving as the 17th President of the Republic. Despite the loss, Robredo launched an NGO which aims to be the largest volunteer network in the country. Considering the huge, passionate crowds she attracted during her campaign, this initiative could play an important role in helping the poor as well as responding to disasters such as typhoons.
The key advocacy programs of Angat Buhay included education, health, food security, and disaster risk response. In education, still existing community learning hubs established during the pandemic when she was Vice President would be converted into remedial centers with a concentration on reading and mathematics.
Funding of Angat Buhay as of writing was made possible by selling memorabilia and artworks received by Robredo from supporters during the campaign period. On its second day, the NGO reported that it raised more than P 1.7 million. The NGO can be accessed through its Facebook page, created last June 26, bearing the same name which has more than 219,000 likes and 263,000 followers as of writing.
Angat Buhay has been registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission as Angat Pinas Incorporated, though the program will remain to be publicly known as Angat Buhay, according to the former vice president.
Speaking of Angat Buhay, which translates to uplift lives, I am of the opinion that we must also uplift the country’s education and ensure that the youth appreciate education. For instance, it is saddening to see that history is labeled by some as mere gossip, when in reality, history is based on facts and empirical evidence. To some, historical facts are hurtful which is why they resist to believe in such. Certain historical lessons can hurt, and if it hurts more, the better—because it reinforces such important events into the mind of the learner which s/he can be more curious of, allowing him/her to learn and accept the truth from the past.
The challenge of history, however, is how one can learn from it. The simple answer would be books. But in the 21st century, where the internet can spread information in an instant, it is imperative for historians and educators to ensure that falsehoods and baseless conspiracies on historical facts online must be fought fiercely. Moreover, it is crucial to use social media as a tool to spread truthful history lessons—so that historical distortion can be stopped, so that no one would think of the three martyr Filipino priests as MaJoHa. To explain history in layman’s terms using the internet, in a systematic and organized manner, must be something considered by the academe. And more importantly, history has merely one version—and that is the truth.
Dear reader, always remember that the truth shall remain as the truth, even if no one believes in it, and falsehoods would remain as falsehoods even if everyone believes in it.