AS the country celebrates the National Women’s Month and yearly takes an active part in the International Women’s Day observance, news reports say that the women sector continues to be under represented in the field of legislation, judging from the current composition of the 17th Congress.
In order to put into action his plans for the country and its people as well as push for his administration’s legislative agenda, the president of the country works hand-in-hand with the Senate and the House of Representatives. The current batch of lawmakers is composed of 24 in the Senate while in Congress, it is 59 representatives of different party-list groups and 238 representatives of various districts in the entire country. Among those gunning for a seat in the Senate, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has noted that Congress remains to be a male-dominated institution.
At the House of Representatives, she notes with dismay that there are only 89 women legislators out of 291 members and 23 of them are on their last term. The number includes her mother, former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Marcos who is the oldest at 87 and Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, who happens to be the first Filipino transgender lawmaker ever elected to Congress.
Over at the Senate, out of 23 members, there are only six women senators and one of them is in her last term, the other is in jail, and three are seeking reelection.
Given the bad balance, Marcos said it will really be difficult to push for the enactment of laws that will promote the welfare and interests of women.
‘Iba kasi ang mangyayari kung marami ang bilang ng mga babaeng mambabatas sa Kamara at Senado. Dapat talagang makapaghalal tayo ng mas maraming babae ngayong darating na halalan sa Mayo, Marcos said.
She thus urged Filipino voters, both men and women and those in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community to take a hard look at female candidates running for the Senate and the Lower House.
Marcos said she believes needed in Congress are more women who will serve as a major voice in all policy-making aspects.
‘When you put more women in Congress, you are making a stand against bigoted view that women are mere sex objects and only second best to men. Hindi ba dapat equal na dapat lahat ngayon?,’ she underscores.
Marcos said the incoming 18th Congress should see a solid ‘women bloc’ that would be working together on advocacies from their own perspective.
All representatives currently sitting in Congress will finish their term of three years this year. In the case of the Senate, half of the members who won in the May 2016 elections will serve for six years or until 2022. The other half, who were elected in 2013, will only be serving until 2019.
Now this leaves us, women voters, a lot of room to make sure that we put more women in both Houses of Congress.
Indeed, the only guarantee that the interests and welfare of women could be attained is when members of the same gender are well-represented in both the Senate and Congress.
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