GHW Bill: Next big fight in the Senate?

News Release

17 July 2013

 

Highlights of interview with Senator Pia S. Cayetano

Topics: Graphic Health Warning Bill, Extension of SQOA on RH law, PDAF scam, Anti-age Discrimination in Employment bill

Philippine Senate

16 July 2013

Will the Graphic Health Warning (GHW) bill be the ‘next big fight’ in the Senate?

“I don’t know if it will be a big fight. But it [will be] very interesting. Two Congresses na ito na nag-hearing at inisponsor ko ito. And I’m definitely ready to defend it. If it means a fight, then okay. I’m in fighting mode all the time.”

“I make this humanitarian appeal to the corporate citizens out there who are involved in the tobacco industry: Panindigan naman po natin ang responsibilidad natin sa [lipunan].”

“Kung tayo ho ay nagbebenta ng produkto na alam naman ng lahat na nakakasama sa publiko, tama lang naman na yung mga safeguards ay ilagay naman natin para mabawas-bawasan o kaya’y mabigyan ng tamang impormasyon ang publiko… dun sa ginagamit nyang produkto nyo.” “I find it the height of irresponsibility that corporate citizens, and companies, will fight and object to very responsible measures such as this.”

“[W]e live in a society na kung gusto mong patayin ang sarili mo sa kakasigarilyo, eh di patayin mo yung sarili mo. The most that government can do is regulate the practices to make it safer, as safe as possible, for the majority of people.”

“Lung cancer is a preventable cancer, because if you do not smoke then the incidents of lung cancer go down drastically. So para sabihin sa akin on the Senate floor na hindi importante ito, you know who’s talking di ba?”

 

On the indefinite extension of SQAO on the RH Law:

“I have to say that I am quite disappointed… I believe that the evidence was very clear during the oral arguments last week that the case presented by the petitioner was quite weak.”

“But as a member of the bar, as a member of a co-equal branch, I will respect the decision, although I am extremely disappointed to hear that there was a need to extend it despite the fact that the arguments initially presented already show that the petition is really without basis.”

“As we debate this, yung mga kababaihan ang nagsasakripisyo, sila ang dinudugo, sila ang namamatay, sila ang nawawalan ng anak, sila ang nalalagay sa sitwasyon na nagpapa-abort sila.

“I suffer for these women who are just waiting for government to make up its mind to extend these human rights to them. Malungkot po ako.”

 

On her next role in the 16th Congress:

“Kung saan ako makakatrabaho ng maayos, kung saan ko maibibigay kung ano mang talent na mayroon ako, yun na lang. I think I have a diverse-enough set of talents na pwede naman ako ilagay sa iba-ibang posisyon.”

 

On PDAF scam and calls for its abolition:

“For now I support the view na pabayaan na natin yung ongoing investigation [by the NBI and DOJ]. In due time, we will see if there’s a need [for a parallel probe by the Senate]. If there is a showing na kulang pa yon, may need pa ng parallel probe, then that’s the time we tackle it.”

“The sad thing is naniniwala ako, and you can scrutinize my list of PDAF, na because of our efforts, na may natatayong eskwela sa bundok. Kaisa-isa siguro akong senador na nakaakyat sa iba-ibang bundok. I mean, I do that, nakakapaglagay ako ng eskwelahan doon sa mga lugar na napuntahan ko. Ang sad reality, kung iaabolish natin di ba? But we have to weigh the consequences kasi it is unacceptable that people’s money are being wasted.”

“Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin that there are enough safeguards, kasi obviously there are not, if these things are happening. So I don’t know how it happens kasi nga yung mga project ko, maya’t maya nakakatanggap ako [ng notice from DBM] na hindi yan pasok sa requirements ng DBM, and therefore hindi naa-approve. So I don’t know kung paano na-approve yang mga yan.”

 

On Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Bill:

“It’s in our face, if you open the papers, andami mong makikita doon [job opening ads requiring] age 20-25, di ba? Or 29? Bakit? Pag 30 ka na ba wala ka nang utak? Di ka na ba nag-iisip noon? Lahat na ba ng pinag-aralan mo ay lumabas na sa tenga mo? I mean it’s in our face.”

“And I feel so bad, pag nagpupunta ako sa mga probinsya saan man, mas bata pa sa akin, hindi na sila makakuha ng trabaho. So that’s the reason why I filed the bill. I mean it’s in our face, we’re violating the Constitution. We have age discrimination in this country.”

“Of course people are attracted to beautiful faces. But you cannot deprive a person of their job for that reason.  Hindi kita pwedeng pigilan na attracted ka sa maganda, pero hindi ka pwedeng hindi mag-hire ng tao dahil pangit sya, or dahil 26 na sya, or dahil 30 na sya.”

“Feeling ko lang, and studies have shown, that [age discrimination] tends to be a practice more for jobs held by women. Na gusto kasi nga na mukhang bata, na mukhang maganda pa. Eh bakit pangit ka na ba pag 30? Pangit ba ako, I’m way above 30? Siguro naman may magha-hire pa sa akin pag hindi na ako senador.” [laughs]

“Di ba we have a lot of underemployment? There are a lot of people na mismatched [with their jobs] or may be highly qualified pero ayaw nang i-hire dahil 29. And we’re not even talking… of similar issues that because of, I guess financial reasons, some companies would offer early retirement to those who are only maybe 35 or 40, 45. Di bale na if it’s mutually agreed upon. Pero if it’s with coercion, if it’s really their practice, kawawa naman yun. At 39, at 35, tapos na ang career mo. Mahirap naman yun.” #

 

Photo: Sen. Pia Cayetano’s first press conference at the Senate in the 16th Congress.

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