It turns out a “coup” actually happened at the Batasang Pambansa – and women legislators pulled it off.
On Monday, March 2, lady lawmakers took the lead during the plenary session in the House of Representatives to mark Women’s Month, an annual tradition of the lower chamber.
For more than 3 hours, only women’s voices were heard echoing across the plenary hall. They were all dressed in their best Filipiniana attire. (READ: [OPINION] Women in legislature: Do they really matter?)
Deputy Speakers Rose Marie Arenas of Pangasinan 3rd District, Evelina Escudero of Sorsogon 1st District, and Vilma Santos Recto of Batangas 6th District took turns presiding over the session.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano also authorized the following legislators to be deputy speakers for the day:
- Cheryl Deloso Montalla, Zambales 2nd District
- Ma. Lucilla Nava, Guimaras
- Josephine Ramirez Sato, Occidental Mindoro
- Kristine Singson Meehan, Ilocos Sur 2nd District
- Marlyn Alonte, Biñan City
- Estrellita Suansing, Nueva Ecija 1st District
- Lorna Silverio, Bulacan 3rd District
- Yedda Marie Romualdez, Tingog Sinirangan
Eight congresswomen delivered privilege speeches on various issues faced by women today.
House committee on women and gender equality chair Ma. Lourdes Acosta Alba was first to speak, highlighting the crucial role women play in society today.
Her panel also hosted a number of events in the House on Monday, including the flag-raising ceremony in the morning when Alba pushed for women’s economic empowerment. The committee also opened the “Larawan: Babae sa Kanyang Katauhan, Kapanahunan, at Kasaysayan” exhihibit along with Art Ventures Advocacy Network at the Batasan’s North Wing.
Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, the country’s first transgender woman elected to Congress, delivered a speech about gender equality in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
Laguna 3rd District Sol Aragones did not mince words as she condemned the proliferation of “virtual spakol” or online prostitution in the Philippines. “Spakol” is colloquialism for massage parlors or spas being used as fronts for prostitution.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers France Castro, speaking as a mother herself, then gave a speech hailing the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act in 2019.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas’ speech focused on the difficult plight of women under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is notorious for his sexist remarks against women.
Kabataan Representative Sarah Jane Elago called for the elimination of discrimination against women in her privilege speech.
The alarming rise of incidents of teenage pregnancy was the focus of Kalinga Representative Irene Saulog’s privilege speech, where she pushed institutions like Congress to help stop children from bearing children.
Last to deliver a speech was Laguna 2nd District Representative Ruth Mariano Hernandez, who highlighted the role women play in disaster risk reduction and management in times of calamities.
The only time a man spoke during Monday’s session was when Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla moved to strip two House leaders of their posts due to the power struggle in the House, where Speaker Cayetano is accusing his rival Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco of trying to oust him. – Rappler.com