March 3, 2013
Sen. Pia: Support ‘pro-women’ candidates in the May 13 polls
To mark the start of March as International Women’s Month, Senator Pia S. Cayetano today urged voters to support candidates with a clear ‘pro-women’ agenda in the coming May 13 elections.
Cayetano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, said being ‘pro-women’ means the candidate must consistently advocate the rights and welfare of women in his or her platform of government.
She added that a candidate with a ‘pro-women’ agenda must commit that all laws and ordinances that would be enacted under his or her watch are gender-sensitive. The candidate must also be willing to integrate the concept of gender budgeting in the allocation of government funds.
“Having a ‘pro-women’ agenda should be included in the criteria of voters when evaluating a candidate running for a national or local post,” said Cayetano, one of only three women members of the Philippine Senate, which currently has 23 members.
“We need more women and men public servants with a progressive attitude on issues like gender equality and women’s rights and empowerment,” she added.
She pointed out that Congress has already passed several landmark legislation for women such as the Magna Carta of Women, Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, Expanded Breastfeeding Law, and recently, the Reproductive Health Law.
“But much work remains to be done to address the specific concerns of women and sustain the reforms we have started,” she stressed.
“In addition, several local government units (LGUs) across the country have passed similar ordinances and programs to complement these national laws, such as a local Gender and Development Code. But there are still many LGUs that have not done so.”
Finally, Cayetano urged voters and local women’s organizations to challenge their candidates to come up with a clear agenda for women as a marginalized sector, as well as on issues closely related to women, including maternal and child health, environment and basic social services.
“Voters should actively engage their candidates about their programs for women, whether in town hall meetings, consultations and even on social media.”
They should not hesitate to ask their candidates: ‘What is your program of government for women?’ It’s their right to ask the stand of their candidates on issues that are important to them,” she concluded. #
File photo: Senator Pia Cayetano and Representative Edcel Lagman congratulate each other following the approval of the RH bill at the bicameral conference committee. Behind them are some of the legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives who also supported the measure.