“As women, we don’t only talk the talk. We walk the talk.”
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said this as she vowed to push more laws in the 18th Congress that will empower women and address foremost challenges to Filipinas like teenage pregnancy, abuse of young women and toxic marriages.
As the key speaker at the “Juana Talks: Bakit Mahalaga ang Agenda ni Juana?,” an event organized by the Philippine Commission on Women, Hontiveros said women’s rights advocates are working hard to build on legislative accomplishments made in the 17th Congress and advance new laws that respond to the needs and concerns of women.
Hontiveros is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.
“This 18th Congress, we aim to pass laws that will fully empower women, stop abusive practices and end gender-based discrimination and inequality. I am confident that the determination, brilliance, and solidarity of our fellow Filipinas will allow us to succeed in these goals,” she said.
Hontiveros added that her committee is working on priority measures on women’s rights such as the “Girls not Brides Act,” which will protect young girls from sexual abuse by prohibiting child marriages, and its partner measure the “Raising the Age of Sexual Consent bill which will raise the age of sexual consent in the country from 12 to 18 years old.
She said her committee is also tackling the “Teenage Pregnancy Prevention” bill, which will provide a comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education for children to help reduce cases of teenage pregnancy.
The senator added her committee is also working on the “Dissolution of Marriage” bill which will provide “second chances” for spouses to end abusive and loveless relationships.
Hontiveros noted that persistent efforts by women’s rights groups have led to the passage of landmark pro-women measures in the last 17th Congress, such as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law and the Safe Spaces Act or “Bawal Bastos Law.”
“We will not stop with our present triumphs. Instead, we will treat them as inspiration to make new achievements in behalf of all women,” she said.