By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo does not mind not being officially part of any activities related to the recently concluded 31st Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” Robredo told reporters in Iloilo on Wednesday.
“For me, I’m here to do my job,” she continued.
Robredo, who resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council after she was barred from attending Cabinet meetings, was commenting on Malacañang’s decision not to invite her to the ASEAN gala dinner for world leaders attending the summit.
She also had no official role in welcoming the visiting ASEAN delegates and leaders of the region’s dialogue partners, upon their arrival at the country’s airports last weekend — a task that has been delegated to vice presidents in the past.
The Vice President said it is up to the “discretion” of President Rodrigo Duterte who he wants to include in the list of invitees to the event.
“I don’t want to blow this issue out of proportion,” Robredo stressed.
The former housing chief made her presence felt at the ASEAN Summit by joining Philippine officials during its opening ceremony on November 13.
Robredo, in a Filipiniana-inspired attire, was seated between Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Last Tuesday, Robredo was a keynote speaker at the closing ceremony of the ASEAN Investment and Business Summit held at Solaire Resort and Casino in Pasay City.
In her speech, Robredo emphasized that ASEAN businessmen should ensure inclusive growth that would benefit even micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs.
“The problem of inclusivity is everyone’s job now, because inequality has turned the world’s poor into angry consumers,” said Robredo.
The Vice President underscored the crucial roles of both the government and private sector in helping the MSMEs.
“For too long, the world has treated micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises with casual concern. Their small economic footprint keeping them in the little boy’s room, unable to participate in global discussions,” she said.
“But if we are to solve inequality, we must ensure that MSMEs benefit from unclogged value chains, fair trade, and peace,” Robredo added.