Santiago: Next PHL president should be female

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago said the next Philippine President should be a woman to achieve equality between males and females.

Santiago, in a speech celebrating International Women’s Month at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna, said that to ensure the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of gender equality, the next president of the Philippines should be female.

"We've had 13 male and only two female presidents so far. The Philippines has had a total of 15 presidents. To achieve equality between males and females, since we have had 13 males, the next 11 presidents should be female," she said.

"We should have a female president in 2016. Research shows that when women are empowered as political leaders, countries often experience higher standards of living with positive developments in education, infrastructure, and health care," Santiago said.

Santiago also said that to meet the standard of gender equality, in the 2016 elections, voters should pick at least six female candidates in order to balance the male and female senators in the Senate.

According to the feisty senator, in numerical terms alone, there is still a wide gender gap in public office between the sexes.

"Numerically, half of our high government officials should be women, and half should be men. And yet the division between the sexes is highly disproportionate in favor of men. In the Philippine Senate, in the 16th Congress, of 24 senators, only six of us are women," she said.

'Grace Poe for 2016'

At this juncture another female senator, Cynthia Villar, said it could be Senator Grace Poe for 2016.

Villar said the Senate in the current 16th Congress sets the record for having the most number of female legislators. Aside from Villar, the other five female senators are Santiago, Poe, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, and Nancy Binay.

"It is also my belief that women play an important role in nation building, we need more empowered women to participate and take the lead," Villar said during the celebration of international women day.

Poe in a radio interview said she is not focusing her energy in 2016 presidential elections considering her loads of work in the Senate.

Poe said it is up to God to decide for her fate as she further explained that destiny is something that no one can decide.

"Let destiny decide. Tulad ng kanta ni Rico Puno na kapalaran na ito ay lumalapit ng di mo alam. Hinahayaan ko na lamang po na ang kapalaran ang mag desisyon para sa akin. Naging aral na po sa akin ang nangyari sa aking ama na si Fernando Poe Jr. napakarami po ang sumaksak sa kanyang likod. Dala ko ang pangalan ng aking ama at ayoko na ipakipagsapalaran ito lalo pa kung walang kasiguruhan," said Poe.

Poe said the memory of her father the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., is something that she will protect and guard and will be her guiding force in her political career.

When asked to comment on her possible tandem with another Senator Francis Escudero, the neophyte senator said, "Malayo pa po ang 2016. Magtrabaho na po muna tayo para sa kapakanan ng taong bayan."

Poe said it is important for her to pursue the dream of her late father to serve the poor and to do what is right for the country and the people.

Black propaganda

At least two senators, who include Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. made a declaration of their intent to run for the highest position in the coming May 2016 elections.

Meanwhile, Cayetano said he expects black propaganda against him following his early announcement.

"Actually it already started, that's part of our lives," he said.

For Revilla, the pork barrel controversy will not affect his chances of winning. Revilla is among the three senators accused of pocketing their pork barrel allocations though fake nongovernment organizations.

He said he has nothing to fear about the pork barrel issue as he maintained that he has done nothing wrong.

Revilla is likely to be the standard bearer of the Lakas party while Cayetano is from the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former senator Manuel Villar.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also from the NP has also indicated his presidential ambition but refused to neither confirm nor deny. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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