Velasco asks fellow legislators to enact more laws on women's rights, gender equality

Velasco asks fellow legislators to enact more laws on women's rights, gender equality

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Lord Allan Velasco asked his colleagues Monday to pass more laws that would further promote women’s rights and gender equality.

During the virtual launch of the “How to be a Gender-Responsive Legislator” handbook, Velasco said Congress “has the capacity to enact transformative laws for women and girls through its legislative priorities, structures, policies, and processes.”

“Magkaisa nating isulong ang wastong paraan kung paano natin inilalarawan ang mga babae—bilang pantay na nilalang sa mga lalaki na may pantay na karapatang pantao—maging sa pagsusulat ng mga panukalang batas, o sa pakikipagdebate sa plenaryo, sapagkat ang bawat hakbang na tatahakin natin ay makakaapekto sa kalalabasang batas at polisiya ng ating gobyerno,” Velasco said.

(Let us all unite in promoting how women should rightfully be seen—as equals having equal rights—whether in crafting laws, or debating in the plenary, as these processes will greatly affect the resulting bills and policies of the government.)

Velasco likewise recognized the important contribution of women in the efforts to fight COVID-19.

“During this pandemic, women have held up more than their share of the sky as doctors, nurses, medical personnel, teachers, BPO workers, grocery cashiers, and market vendors—many risking their health in the process,” Velasco said.

“Women are now better educated, and many have been occupying seats of power in business circles,” he added.

While Velasco said “significant progress” has been made on promoting gender equality and empowering women, he said more needs to be done, pointing out that women’s participation in politics and decision-making “is still sorely lacking.”

“Hence, even if we appreciate women’s roles and sacrifices during this crisis, we cannot, for instance, turn a blind eye to the reports of gender violence that have dramatically increased during community lockdowns. We cannot afford to be tone-deaf on women’s issues,” Velasco said.

Velasco said the handbook intends to remind the predominantly male Congress that “women are human beings with equal rights and that women’s rights are human rights.”

“And to have meaningful progress in our country means to ensure the advancement of women’s issues and concerns, as well,” the Speaker said.