Senatorial Candidates in the 1st National Womenitarian Summit #DareToLead the Country by Upholding Women’s Rights

On Monday, May 13, we are voting for the future of our nation. In this moment of history, how we choose our political leaders will shape the kind of society we want our young to inherit. Real change will happen only if we vote for candidates who strongly uphold human rights.

#WeDareToLead. Senatorial candidates (from left to right) Atty. Neri Colmenares, Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Atty. Erin Tañada, Ka Leody De Guzman, and Atty. Florin “Pilo” Hilbay (represented by Atty. Gideon Peña in the photo) accepted the challenge to lead the nation by upholding women’s rights. Photograph by: NCM Productions at D&D Media Photography

12 APRIL 2019, QUEZON CITY – Women rights advocates and rural women representatives from different sectors who are in the 1st National Womenitarian Summit joined in a unified call to challenge senatorial candidates in upholding women’s rights amidst issues of climate change, disaster risk reduction, and peace and security.

Among the candidates who accepted the #DareToLead were Atty. Neri Colmenares, Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Atty. Erin Tañada, Ka Leody De Guzman, and Atty. Florin “Pilo” Hilbay (represented by Atty. Gideon Peña).

Through a senatorial candidates forum, which is part of the summit, the senatorial candidates discussed the country’s current issues in connection with the vulnerability of women, and how women will be empowered through the help of legislation and proper governance.

“Dapat may special consideration ang legislator sa mga kababaihan whether sa disaster man or hindi. There are gender needs para sa kababaihan maliban sa mga noodles at de lata. May mga vulnerabilities rin ang mga kababaihan na kailangan i-consider ng mga mambabatas. As a legislator, we have to empower women to respond in a disaster. Long before the disaster, women must be armed, sinisimulan na habang maaga pa,” said Atty. Neri Colmenares on how the government must respond in times of disasters and emergencies.

Atty. Chel Diokno also added, “As far as mass disasters are concerned, dapat magkaroon tayo ng gender and women agenda sa pag –aayos natin sa urban planning for evacuation centers and temporary shelters. Kailangang sensitive ang ating pamahalaan sa pag-aasikaso sa ating mga kababaihan, mga kabataan.”

Peace and security, discrimination and prejudices, killings of Indigenous Peoples, and harassment among the marginalized sectors (women settlers, indigenous women, Moro women, women with disabilities, older women, etc.) were also raised in the discussion.

Aside from issues in relation to climate justice, among the matters raised by rural women were the worsening condition of food insecurity due to El Niño (drought) around the country. Aside from having difficulty of producing high quality crops due to climate change, prices of goods such as copra, coconut, corn, and rice remain really low.

Atty. Erin Tañada mentioned that RA 11203 or the rice tarrification law must be repealed. “Sa usapin ng rice trarification, kailangan balikan ang batas at ibasura dahil hindi ito ang magbibigay ng solusyon sa mga magsasaka. Wala naman sa batas kung kailan ilalabas ng importer ang bigas after importation. Pwedeng mag hoard ang mga importer, para lang ipanatili sa mataas na presyo ang bigas. Kailangan ding i-subsidize ng gobyerno ang cost sa pesticide at fertilizer.”

Ka Leody De Guzman shared the current situation of our country’s work force, and why the betterment of workers lives, despite hard work, were still slow. “Hangga’t ang konsentrasyon ng yaman ay nasa iilan lamang, nasa mga landlord lang,  hindi masosolusyunan ang problema natin sa kahirapan.  Dapat ang nagtatakda ng presyo ng mga produkto ng mga magsasaka ay ang magsasaka, hindi ang mga kapitalista. May mali sa patakaran—ang produkto ng kapitalista ay kaptalista ang nagtatakda, ang produkto ng magsasaka ay kapitalista pa rin ang nagtatakda. May problema na dapat ayusin sa sistema ng ating agrikultura at kahit tayong mga manggagawa.  Halimbawa, ang sweldo ng mga manggagawa, ang pag-angat ay once a year lamang, pero ang presyo ng produkto ay halos araw-araw. Buwan-buwan ay pwedeng magtaas. Yumayaman ang mga mayayaman at naghihirap lalo ang mga mahihirap,”

Atty. Gideon Peña, representative of Atty. Pilo Hilbay shared the importance of the reproductive health law, which can give significant contribution to women, youth, and to Filipino families.

The forum was ended through a mock election for senatorial candidates. Here are the results:

Mock election results from the Senatorial Forum of the 1st Womenitarian Summit, participated by women rights advocates and rural women from different parts of the country.

The 1st National Womenitarian Summit Womenitarian was a 2-day summit focusing on women’s rights in emergencies and call for greater support for women-led humanitarian action, which was supported by ActionAid Australia, Embassy of Canada in the Philippines through Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the Footprints Foundation, and OXFAM sa Pilipinas.

This event was organized by the Women in Emergencies Network (WENet) an alliance of civil society organizations in the Philippines formed out of the Typhoon Yolanda response, which promotes women-led and women-focused human rights and protection in emergencies, particularly in disasters and conflict situations.

WENet members include Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI), Central Visayas Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC), Lihok Pilipina Foundation, Inc. (LPFI), Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA-Visayas), Pagtambayayong Foundation, Inc. (PFI), Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK), and Women’s Education Development Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPro). ###

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