Robredo, Leila solicit support from women
(The Freeman) - March 31, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The annual gathering of women in Cebu province turned into an opportunity for female candidates to ask for support in the May 9 general elections.

Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Camarines Sur third district Representative Leni Robredo were invited as resource speakers during the 16th Women’s Congress at the Capitol Social Hall yesterday. Both are running for senator and vice president, respectively, under the Liberal Party.

Robredo, however, was not able to attend the event yesterday and sent her eldest daughter, Aika, in her stead.

Aika, in her speech, asked different women organizations in Cebu to vote for her mother.

“…I’m asking your help and support na sana po ay tulungan niyo ang mama ko,” she asked.

Aika said her mom has been instrumental in upholding the rights of women when she became a lawyer and worked at the Public Attorney’s Office and, later, in a non-government organization.

She expressed how she admired her mother’s ability to manage time and stress, the traits which she believes most women possess.

Aika said her mother had been very much committed to charity works even before she became a congresswoman.

“Idol ko po ang ina ko. Sana po tulongan niyo siya. Si Leni, di na kailangan pag-aralan kung ano ang kahirapan. When she was a lawyer, she already knew kung ano ang mga pinagdaanan ng mga mahihirap at kliyente nya… Even before she became a congresswoman, ‘yan na ang alam niyang career-ang tumulong,” she said.

She said the country needs a woman leader who will serve as the voice of all women.

After her speech, Aika joined the participants of the congress in performing a choreographed routine to “Lakas ng Kababaihan Para kay Leni,” a campaign jingle which was also used during the “National Zumba for Leni Robredo Day” held nationwide by Leni’s supporters yesterday.

The commencement of the Women’s Month celebration was filled with political promises from the national and local bets.

De Lima also promised to reduce or eliminate the cases of discrimination and violence against women (VAW) and uphold women empowerment and gender equality if elected.

De Lima said lots of social aspects remain unaided, citing that cases of rape and abuse are still rampant nowadays.

Citing a national study, she said one out of five women experience physical abuse, while one out of 10 women experience sexual abuse. She added that one woman is raped in every 80 minutes.

She also cited reports from the Philippine National Police in 2014 that showed a 50 percent increase in domestic violence, VAW, and rape.

“We need to act. We need to do something about it to end these forms of violence. Let’s not stop until the statistics become zero. I’m here to help end violence against women,” she said.

“I will campaign against violence to end human trafficking, to end sexual harassment, to end emotional battering, to end domestic violence, and to end rape,” she said referring to her “High Five” platform.

Another keynote speaker, Provincial Board Member Grecilda-Sanchez Zaballero, also delivered her piece. Zaballero is running for Congress in the third district against Representative Gwendolyn Garcia, the former Cebu governor.

“If give a chance to pursue in work in Congress, I would like to see more help on healthcare for women and children, improved pre-natal care and pediatric care for every person regardless of income bracket or influence,” she said. (FREEMAN)

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