PCW Statement on the Occasion of the 81st Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the Philippines

Eighty-one years after Filipino women won the right to vote in elections, the quest for more women entering politics as candidates and winning seats has yet to be reached.

In February 2018, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) noted that although women comprised 51.5% of total registered voters and had higher voter turnout rates in the previous election, only 19.36% of the candidates for national and local posts were females.

Now, more than ever, there is a need to increase the representation of women and amplify their voices in the traditionally male-dominated political arena. Women’s meaningful participation as decision-makers brings in their perspective in governance and expands the scope of policies and programs to include issues and concerns that affect women, their children and their communities.

As the 2018 Barangay Elections fast approaches, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) acknowledges all the women who took courage to file their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs), run for elective positions and become leaders in their respective communities. Enabling women to lead and decide at this level will be instrumental in addressing their issues and concerns since they are more aware of their own needs.

We are calling on all women candidates in the upcoming Barangay Elections to challenge stereotypes and show the world that women are potent agents of positive change. Believe and prove that women are equally capable of leading and transforming communities to that which enable women and men to contribute to and benefit from inclusive development.

We also call on all voters to exercise their right responsibly and conscientiously. We can only move forward as a nation if we choose leaders based on their competence, honesty and track record in public service, be it in the local level or the national level. Let us put an end to the politics of personalities, patronage and payoffs which have led to corruption and the abandonment of people’s needs. Evaluate candidates based on their stances and platforms. Choose women leaders who stand in solidarity with women, bring women’s pressing issues to the table, and address women’s specific needs and concerns.

Lastly, we call on the members of the Congress to sponsor a bill in support of PCW’s Women Priority Legislative Agenda on Enacting a Women’s Political Participation and Representation Law. Once passed, this bill will promote and accelerate women’s political participation and representation in elective positions.

Let us all strive for an increased participation of women in politics and electoral processes by encouraging them to vote and supporting them when they run for office. Although much is yet to be done to ensure gender parity in the political sphere, these are steps toward the realization of our goal for inclusive development that we all yearn for.