Vice President Leni Robredo, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto and other public officials were recognized in this year’s “People of the Year” list by a lifestyle publication.
During the virtual awards night on Monday, Robredo and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez were named this year’s “Special Awardees.”
For this year’s roster, lifestyle magazine People Asia highlighted public figures who made great service and provided hope during trying times.
“It is an extraordinary list in an extraordinary time. From public servants to physicians, power women to those who power our country, from guardians of the truth to stewards of clean energy, they are PeopleAsia’s ‘People of the Year’ 2021,” said editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez.
People Asia recognized the vice president’s continuous relief operations in response to natural disasters since the previous year—the Taal eruption in January, the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the onslaught of typhoons.
These activities were conducted through Robredo’s signature anti-poverty program called Angat Buhay and the Office of the Vice President.
In her speech during the virtual event, Robredo dedicated the award to the people who helped her reach out to communities that needed help.
“From donors to volunteers, to our hardworking staff who go above and beyond in providing service, we have proven that no one makes the way or succeeds alone,” Robredo said.
“Our journey towards being a more responsive, more advocacy-driven office geared towards uplifting the lives of our people could only have been possible through a vast consolidation of efforts,” she added.
Since the tough lockdowns last March, Robredo, her office and the Angat Buhay program launched various initiatives to help the public cope with the pandemic. These include the free transportation system for front-liners, a job finding platform for displaced workers, a free mobile swab testing aid and a free teleconsulting initiative for COVID-19 patients.
Lopez, meanwhile, was recognized for his efforts in helping the micro-small-medium enterprises or the MSMEs during the economic crisis.
The lifestyle magazine noted the trade secretary’s efforts in “giving assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises at the height of the pandemic before gradually reopening the economy with the easing of quarantine restrictions.”
In his speech, Lopez underscored the importance of the MSME sector in the Philippine economy.
“The MSME sector is the backbone of the Philippine economy and comprises 99% of businesses in the country. As such, as we recover from the pandemic, instead of just adapting to the ‘new normal’, we should create a ‘better normal’,” he said.
Another prominent awardee is Pasig Mayor Sotto, who bagged the title “People’s Choice” awardee after being voted the magazine’s readers.
People Asia cited the local chief executive’s “unconventional” pandemic response that earned the young mayor praise among his constituents and from other Filipinos.
“The young mayor is being recognized after his unconventional response to the COVID-19 crisis (among other things) garnered positive feedback, both from Pasig City’s constituents and netizens from all over the Philippines,” the article read.
Sotto was also previously named among the 12 International Anticorruption Champions by the United States Secretary of State Department.