Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed hope that more national and local candidates who genuinely advocate for the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of women get elected into public office this coming May 13 elections.
De Lima, a known human rights and social justice champion, made the call in her message read during the kick-off program to mark the start of this year’s celebration of Women’s Month at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Building, Quezon City.
“At stake at the polls are key positions in government and the prospective winners can either reinforce the role of women in nation-building and demand accountability for the crimes,” she said.
“Or (they can) just simply fortify the glass ceilings that subordinate women in the Philippines and throughout the world. Sana naman ay maka-babaeng mga lider ang ating ihalal,” she added.
In the Senate, there are six women lawmakers, three of whom are seeking a second term this coming May 13 elections. Senators De Lima and Risa Hontiveros will continue to serve the remaining half of their respective six-year term of office until June 2022.
Recognizing remarkable women leaders in the country’s recent political history, De Lima however pointed out there is more work to be done in elevating the status of women in our society and in protecting them from threat, harassment and intimidation.
According to her, Filipino women leaders and rights activists like herself, ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, and Rappler President Maria Ressa have been subjected to attacks, ridicule, and intimidation under the present administration.
“Sa kasalukuyan, lubhang mahirap at minsan pa’y delikado ang maging babae, lalo pa kung babaeng aktibista. Saksi tayo sa patuloy na panggigipit, pag-atake at minsan pa’y karahasang ipinapamalas ni Duterte at mga alipores nya,” she said.
The former justice secretary underscored the need to vote for pro-women leaders as thousands of widows are still crying for justice for the loss of their loved ones under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that killed more than 23,000 in the past years.
“Idagdag pa natin ang libu-libong mga balo na madugong ‘war on drugs’ na patuloy na sumisigaw ng katarungan, mga babaeng nabubuhay sa takot na baka sila at mga anak nila ang maging susunod na biktima ng extrajudicial killings,” she said.
Despite her unjust detention over trumped-up illegal drug trading charges, the lady Senator from Bicol has remained committed in fulfilling her mandate as she continued to file measures advocating women’s rights and promoting their welfare. Among these measures she filed include Senate Bill No. 1438 focusing on the protection of women in state custody and Senate Resolution No. 670 calling for a Senate investigation into the implementation of the GAD plans and programs under the present administration, among others.