The annual commemoration of Women’s Month in the House of Representatives kicked off today with a mass and a luncheon press conference, with women legislators setting off into the air white and purple balloons calling for women’s health, rights and development.

Lady Legislators release balloons for women

At the Plenary today, women took the helm with the privilege hour focusing on speeches from women legislators on the plight of Filipino women.

In the midst of calls for Mrs. Arroyo to step down due to anomalous deals and large-scale corruption, Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza in her speech gave emphasis on the impact of widespread corruption on the worsening situation of Filipino women.

Maza scored the Cyber Education Project which has been exposed as overpriced by US$ 6.7 Billion. “This could have produced 13,530 classrooms, 12,300 houses for the poor and financed 492,071 college scholars at Php13,784 per year. Moreover, this could support our maternal and child care program at the Department of Health which needs additional budgetary allocation of Php2.312 B to service poor women.

Clearly, the Arroyo administration benefits tremendously from the unbridled corruption pervading the political and economic system.  The series of corruption scandals that is rocking the administration, the most recent of which is the multimillion dollar ZTE contract, is the clearest indication.  It is no wonder that the administration consciously protects such a flawed system.  It does this by 1) weakening the very institutions meant to provide transparency and protect the country’s interest, as seen in the formation of the inter-agency Investment Coordination Committee, the NEDACabinet Group and the Pro-Performance System Steering Committee, which effectively usurped NEDA’s power to evaluate and recommend projects; and 2) preventing the people from exercising their constitutional right to get at the bottom of the truth, through executive issuances such as E.O. 464, and often enough, through resorting to hooliganism by harassing media and by kidnapping and/or physically eliminating whistleblowers and oppositors.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Ilagan in her speech decried the Arroyo government’s culpability for the woes of migrant Filipino women. She cited government state exactions, the corruption of migrant workers funds and the lack of genuine service of migrant workers and their families as policies and practices condoned by the Arroyo government to the detrimetn of migrant workers.

The week-long commemoration involves several activities including a  photo exhibit, medical missions, among several others, including a forum that will be hosted by Gabriela Women’s Party, the Lady Legislators of the 14th Congress and the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality on Tuesday, March 4. The forum, “Women’s Insights and Perspectives on Good Governance” features as guests, Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, former Civil Service Commission Chief Karina David, Rep. Nanette Daza and Rep. Liza Maza.


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