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Ganyan kami nabuhay! Pinoy scholars defend Robredo after DSWD exec calls her ‘basurera’

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Several prominent Filipinos who studied overseas have come to the defense of Vice President Leni Robredo after Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Lorraine Marie Badoy called her a “basurera” for rummaging through an American neighborhood for second-hand items that could be used to furnish the apartment of her eldest daughter, Aika.

Renowned painter and sculptor Toym Imao said he survived graduate studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore by doing what the Robredos did: look for hand-me-downs left on the streets in neighborhoods near academic institutions.

He said looking “repurposing garbage” was common among students.

“Yes, I am also a ‘basurero’- I dumpsterdive, and make do with what the street corners, and the recycling bins have to offer,” Imao said in a Facebook post.

Former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña, who attended Yale Law School in Connecticut, said Aika was “doing the time honored tradition of furnishing her place in Cambridge the cheapest way possible.”

He recalled how he and a friend also scoured through the streets for discarded furniture for their apartment when he was studying in the US.

La Viña said the habit of looking for second-hand items in good condition became ingrained in him that he still did it even when he was already working in Washington, DC and able to afford to buy brand new things.

Entrepreneur and Bloomberg Philippines host Quintin Pastrana, who obtained Master’s degrees from the University of Oxford and Georgetown University, said he also scoured for discarded furniture when he was a graduate student.

In a Facebook post featuring a photo of his old room, Pastrana said: “Save for the $50 bike and salvaged Buenaventura, everything here was reused and repurposed. No taxpayers’ money, no ill-gotten wealth, pure common sense.”

Former ABS-CBN reporter Ryan Chua, a Chevening scholar who studied in London, said he even had a bedsheet and duvet which came from the dumpster.

“Tipid eh. Bakit hindi? Ni minsan hindi ko inisip na pagpulot ‘yon sa tira mga imperyalista o kaya pagtataksil sa bayan,” he said.

Badoy said Robredo acted beneath her position as Vice President by scouring for hand-me-downs for Aika, who will be studying at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Edward S. Mason fellow.

“Duterte errs on the side of Sovereignty (‘Fuck you, America.’) while Leni errs on the side of Servitude. (‘Kleng, kleng, basura kayo jannnn!),” she said.

The DSWD official even compared Robredo’s actions to a fashionable person in New York who was suddenly asked to collect “kanin baboy (food for pigs).”

Related story: Biseng basurera! DSWD’s Lorraine Badoy insults Robredo for picking second-hand items for Aika’s Harvard flat