MANILA, Philippines – The nursing community reportedly applauded Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for her decision not to resign from the Senate until she is called to duty in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“I was elected in 2010 for a six-year term. I am duty-bound to serve as long as I can. The ICC itself advised me not to resign until I am called to The Hague,” the senator said in a statement issued by her office.
More than 3,000 nurses gave Santiago, who was invited as a keynote speaker, a standing ovation during the annual national convention of the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP) at the Manila Hotel Fiesta Pavilion on Saturday.
“I am happily surprised at this ovation. I think the Filipinos are expressing their appreciation and wishing me well in my career abroad,” she said after her speech.
At the convention, Santiago also pushed for the passage of two bills that aim to address the issues faced by nurses, such as long-work hours and scholarships.
Santiago said the two bills she filed, Senate Bill No. 1565 also known as “An Act Limiting the Consecutive Hours of Work by Nurses,” and Senate Bill No. 1589, also known as the “Nurse Faculty Higher Education Act,” have not been acted upon.
The senator urged the nursing community to pass a resolution so that the bills will be given priority.
“My two bills have not been acted upon. If the nursing community thinks they are worthwhile, then they could pass a resolution, write a letter, or visit the chair of the Senate health committee, urging that these bills be given priority,” Santiago said.
Santiago also said she is willing to co-sponsor the two bills and defend them on the Senate floor during the debates.
After her speech, Santiago weighed in on the political alliances that will be formed for the upcoming 2013 elections.
Santiago believes that the alignment “is totally predictable,” citing the lack of an ideological or philosophical distinction between political parties as the reason for the shifting of parties among candidates.
“We should have a two-party system which should give the Filipino voter a choice between conservatives and liberals on the role of government in society,” she said.
“Normally, the result is that the rich gravitate to a conservative party, while the middle and lower classes gravitate to a liberal party,” she added.