Leni: Next president should appoint more women to Cabinet

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo proposed yesterday that the next administration should be even more aggressive in appointing women to Cabinet posts and other key positions in government.

Robredo cited the 2015 Gender Gap Report where the Philippines ranked 7th in the world. The country also earned the No. 1 spot in Asia.

Under the Political Empowerment Category, the country only ranked 17th, she noted, adding that the numbers could still be improved by the incoming administration.

“It’s a major factor in our rankings if there are more women in critical posts in government,” Robredo said in a statement.

“There’s a beneficial effect if there are more women in public service so there will be more role models for young Filipinas to pursue a career in government. The bigger picture, we’ll show that in the Philippines, gender is not an issue anymore,” she said.

She mentioned some officials in the administration that have made their mark, including former justice secretary Leila de Lima, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Ombudsman Conchina Carpio-Morales and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

She also highlighted the accomplishment of former Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza, who left the agency after she was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as undersecretary-general for internal oversight services in October last year.

As part of her advocacy, Robredo is pushing for the creation of programs at the local and national level to continue the quest for economic empowerment of women, with a bigger focus on those that belong to the poorest sectors of society.

“Let us give women more seats at the table and let them be partners in shaping policies and government initiatives that can drastically improve the way our programs address their needs when it comes to creating opportunities for better educational assistance, health care, employment,” she said.

Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II defended yesterday the distribution of benefits under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) during his campaign sorties.

Roxas issued the statement after critics claimed that Malacañang was using the P64-billion 4Ps to buy votes with its beneficiaries being ferried to pack campaign rallies of the LP-led Daang Matuwid coalition.

“You know our rivals will say anything just to hit us. But this (4Ps) is about performance and this is what we’re proud of, this is our curriculum vitae, so what’s wrong with that,” Roxas told reporters in Tubigon, Bohol.

During campaign rallies, 4Ps beneficiaries were visibly present and sometimes asked to deliver testimonials on stage.

Roxas also hit Vice President Jejomar Binay, who promised to expand the 4Ps if elected president.

Binay’s ally, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, in the past had pushed for cutting the budget of the 4Ps, Roxas said.

Roxas also challenged yesterday what he said was a small group in the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) to come out and show their numbers to prove their claim that the party was really endorsing Sen. Grace Poe.

Roxas claimed that the NPC endorsement of Poe and her runningmate Sen. Francis Escudero is unofficial and also not sanctioned by the NPC leadership. – With Alexis Romero

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