The House of Representatives kept in sync with the entire nation once more as it celebrated the 2023 National Women’s Month, highlighted by the traditional women-led session on Monday.
The All-Women Session was run by Tingog Party-list Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez and Fourth District of Bulacan Representative Linabelle Ruth Villarica sharing the speakership role.
“Women have become trailblazers and powerful figures in their own fields of specialization and the world can no longer deny us our rightful place in society’s leadership,” said Romualdez, who is the chairperson of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI), in her brief opening remark before the plenary session. She also chairs the powerful House Committee on Accounts.
Villarica, who is on her second term as AWLFI President, urged that it is time to revisit the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women as it reaches its milestone of 15 years.
“To date, our Gender Development Index or GDI value is not yet at the ideal ratio of one. It is at 0.990,” she noted.
Apart from Romualdez and Villarica, pursuant to Section 15 (H), Rule IV of the rules of the House of Representatives, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez designated Representatives Florida Robes, Rosanna Vergara, Lorna Silverio, Anna York Bondoc, Ma. Lucille Nava, M.SD., Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, Midy Cua, Ysabel Maria Zamora, and Margarita Nograles as presiding officers during Monday’s session.
Representative Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong was designated Majority Floor Leader with Representatives Maria Theresa Collantes, Rachel Marguerite Del Mar, Emmarie Ouano-Dizon and Augustina Dominique Pancho as Deputy Majority Floor Leaders. Representative Bernadette Herrera was Minority Floor Leader, while Representative Marissa Magsino acted as Deputy Minority Floor Leader.
Representative Maria Victoria Co-Pilar led the invocation. Representative Janice Salimbangon served as the over-all floor facilitator for the day.
The plenary session was a platform for persuasive privilege speeches on various women’s issues. House Committee on Women and Gender Equality Chairperson Geraldine Roman spoke on discrimination as the primary enemy of gender equality, while Representatives Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay focused on the plight and roles of women elderlies, Arlene Brosas on women’s struggle in their workplace, Drixie Mae Cardema on helping mothers recover their children from communist rebels, France Castro on women teachers, Marie Bernadette Escudero on sexual exploitation of women and children, Lani Mercado-Revilla on women’s low labor force participation, Bai Dimple Mastura on Muslim women in leadership and governance, Divina Grace Yu on the country’s women centers, and Rene Ann Lourdes Matibag on violence against women and children at workplace.
During the session, the House of Representatives also paid tribute to two women achievers – actress Dolly Earnshaw De Leon and the late Lualhati Bautista . The body adopted House Resolution No. 802, as amended, congratulating and commending De Leon for awards and nominations on her acting performances abroad. The House also adopted House Resolution No. 787, expressing its profound condolences on the passing of Bautista last February 12, 2023.
Currently in the Nineteenth Congress, 86 or approximately 27 percent out of the 314 House members are women. Among the deputy speakers, three are women : Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Deputy Speakers Kristine Singson-Meehan and Camille Villar.