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The VP’s ‘Piso’ houses

Earlier this week, Vice President Leni Robredo led the turnover ceremony of 60 houses, called “transition shelter units,” to the Marawi City government for the use of families dislocated by the Marawi siege last year. The 60 houses, the first of an envisioned 100 shelters, is known as the “Angat Buhay Village,” named after the OVP’s main antipoverty program.

But even more interesting for readers is that the construction of most of the houses was funded by the P7.5 million raised by the “Piso para sa Laban ni Leni” campaign. It was launched last year to help defray the balance of the Vice President’s share in the expenses involved in the election protest filed by her losing opponent Bongbong Marcos.

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Some 25,000 donors sent in their contributions, with the average share amounting to P100. Heartwarming were stories shared by the donors, including a millennial employee who donated money meant for her vacation, a fisherman who motored to the nearest town where he could deposit his donation, and a waiter who, seeing a fund-raising can on the table of a customer, turned over his “tip,” saying it was his way of supporting the Vice President.

However, when the women behind the “Piso” campaign petitioned the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to accept the gathered donations which they said was their way of protecting their votes, the PET turned them down, saying that, as a public official, the VP was forbidden from accepting gifts or donations.

The “Piso” women met with the OVP, and it was decided to use the money instead for housing for the Marawi bakwit (evacuees), in cooperation with Xavier University and other civil society organizations. The VP’s classmates and other donors also pooled together over a million pesos to help build additional houses.

In her talk after the turnover, Robredo said she hopes that Angat Buhay could continue helping the Marawi community, including finding sources of livelihood for them and building a public market to hasten their return to normalcy.

No one knows how the VP’s presence at tomorrow’s State of the Nation Address will be treated by the President and his allies in Congress. But Robredo need not say a word in rebuttal, for by her and her supporters’ and friends’ deeds, she has gone beyond proving her worth. She has shown what a caring heart and helping hand can do to make lives better. Certainly not what an “incompetent” leader would do!

It seems uncanny that the original “Mamma Mia!” movie was released all of 10 years ago, since memories of its livelier scenes and songs remain fresh and energizing.

A decade later, the makers of the sequel (also partly a prequel) “Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again” try their darndest to rekindle the verve and energy of the original. But maybe it’s because its senior stars have frayed a bit at the edges, or that the story has lost much of its surprising sparkle—or maybe it’s just me, along with many in the audience, for whom the years have not been kind—that “Mamma Mia 2” seems a little tired. However, young viewers I encountered right after the movie showing seemed still enamored of the Abba-infused musical.

That’s the best part of the movie, by the way. The music of the Swedish band, with some new numbers thrown in, remains lively and catchy and hummable. A little-known song, “My Love, My Life,” the last entry in the last Abba album, captures perfectly the bittersweet emotions of Donna (Meryl Streep and Lily James) and Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as they look back on the years full of trials and tribulations, but also of joy and jubilation.

Seyfried was a whiff of fresh air in “Mamma Mia 1,” and she still retains much of that dewy quality in “Mamma Mia 2.” But her sunshine and stellar stature are “owned” this time around by James who plays the young Donna, throwing herself into the role with aplomb.

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Cher and Andy Garcia make surprise appearances as a pair of aging star-crossed lovers, but much missed is Streep, who makes too few cameo appearances and would have livened things up without breaking a sweat. If you’re hankering for some fresh air during these damp days, you could do worse than see “Mamma Mia 2!”

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TAGS: Angat Buhay Village, leni robredo, Marawi, marawi city, Marawi siege
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