HomeNewsWomen’s group to senators: Enough whining, respond to issues besetting Filipino women

Women’s group to senators: Enough whining, respond to issues besetting Filipino women

The women’s reaction came after what they dubbed as Senator Robin Padilla’s “macho, misogynist rant” in the Senate

Women’s group Gabriela on Thursday, February 23, lambasted senators for their alleged “incessant, senseless whining” while grave issues abound under their watch.

The women’s reaction came after what they dubbed as Senator Robin Padilla’s “macho, misogynist rant” in Wednesday’s hearing on the proposal to change the Constitution.

Padilla maintained that the key to alleviating the plight of farmers is to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution even as the Senate ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Padilla, who voted for the ratification, said that if the RCEP will not be properly implemented, it could have a similar effect on farmers as the Rice Tariffication Law, which allowed the importation of rice and allowed palay prices to drop.

Of the senators who registered their vote, Senator Risa Hontiveros did not favor the ratification of the RCEP, while Senator Imee Marcos abstained.

The Philippines is the latest RCEP signatory to concur in the ratification of the trade deal, joining fellow members in the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and trade partners Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Padilla is seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions to allow the entry of foreign investments, which are restricted to a maximum of 40 percent.

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“These strong-man theatrics will not disguise the Senate’s weak leadership in the face of grave crises plaguing the lives of Filipino women,” said Gabriela secretary general Clarice Palce in a statement.

Other than Myanmar, the Philippines is the last country to ratify the deal, which eases market access among signatory countries. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had expressed reservations about the agreement but had a change of heart.

Marcos was worried about the detrimental effects of foreign competition on the local farming sector, which he has vowed to revitalize in his dual role as agriculture secretary.

But the president, speaking to investors in Tokyo earlier this month, declared his support for RCEP.

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri, sponsor of Senate Resolution No. 485, concurring in the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, defends the proposed measure on Feb. 21, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)

The shift came as Marcos advocates for an increase in agricultural product imports to tackle inflation, which has surged to a 14-year high.

After wrapping up deliberations late on Tuesday, 20 senators voted in favor of ratification.

“Where were the macho-man acts of our mighty senators when Marcos Jr. was pushing for the RCEP which will result in the rape and plunder of our people and our resources by foreign vultures?” said Palce.

“Where was the senate’s backbone when the president decided that 30 years of free-trade thru GATT-WTO wreaking havoc in the lives and livelihoods of the Filipino people wasn’t enough?” she added.

Palce said the RCEP would mean “furthering landlessness among Filipino farmers” as seen in countries like Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos.

She said the “economic insecurity brought by such will leave Filipino women even more vulnerable to violence and inclined to enter into precarious working conditions with low wages.”

“Instead of disgusting misogynistic remarks, senators — if they are truly for the people’s welfare — should condemn anti-women and anti-people policies like RCEP,” said Palce.

“We say, if they can’t handle the heat and responsibility that comes with the position, they are welcome to step down,” she added. – with a report from PNA

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