Blames men for corruption in Congress
MANILA - To achieve higher standards of living, Filipino voters should pick a woman president in 2016, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Tuesday.
In a speech at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna, Santiago – who lost her battle for the presidency in 1992 – said a woman president beginning 2016 will help ensure the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for gender equality will be reached.
“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,” she said.
“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."
The country has had two female presidents: Corazon Aquino (1986 to 1992) and Gloria Arroyo (2001 to 2010).
Santiago ran against Mrs. Aquino's handpicked candidate, Fidel V. Ramos, in 1992. She lost but filed an electoral protest.
She also urged voters to pick 6 female candidates for senator in 2016 to achieve gender equality in the upper house.
“The greater majority in both chambers of Congress has always been men. Possibly, this is one reason why there is so much corruption in Congress,” she said.
“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.
She said the Civil Service Commission has yet to reach its 50-50 target for representation of women and men in executive posts in government.
She said the commission found in 2011 that women occupy only less than one-third of third-level positions in the government; more than one-third in government-owned and -controlled corporations; less than twenty percent in local government units; and more than one-third in the judiciary.
Thus, the proportionate share is 1:2 in favor of men holding top posts in the government, she said.
She also expressed concern over feminization in agriculture, or the increase of women in the agricultural sector.
She said women in the sector are poorer, with their plot sizes smaller and production resources lower.