PCW Statement on the 79th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the Philippines

Practice Women’s Vote!

The 79th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the country today comes very timely as the 2016 National Elections is fast approaching.

As we cast our votes, let us give justice to the women and men who worked hard for women’s right to suffrage not only through exercising our right to vote but actually showing our force through the women’s vote.

Recent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) data revealed that of the 54.3 million registered Filipino voters, 27,896,668 (51%) are women. This data highlights the vital role of women in the elections thus, proving that women’s voices should never be ignored.

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the lead agency that makes government work for the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of women’s human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, is calling all Filipino women voters to elect leaders who are qualified and competent, and who possess a character that values and respects the rights of all people. Filipino women voters, at the very least, must be conscious in electing their leaders and include gender perspective in their processes of selection. Aside from the character, integrity and clean track record, it is important that we should look into the candidates’ sensitivity to the needs and plight of all women.

We appeal to all Filipinos to become responsible voters. We should all be critical and we should not allow ourselves to be fumbled and lured by the candidates’ promises. We can only move forward as a nation if we choose leaders wisely. Vote for candidates based on their qualifications and platforms that consider the real needs of all people.

Lastly, the Commission is calling on the next Congress to include in electoral reforms the passage of a quota system as a temporary special measure to ensure that women will be equally represented in all spheres of decision-making and leadership. Women’s participation in governance brings in women’s perspectives in public discourse thus, expands the scope of policies and programs to improve the lives of women and men, girls and boys in their communities. This quota system can guarantee that women’s issues and concerns can be addressed in various levels of governance.

“Each of us has the responsibility to guarantee an inclusive and shared prosperity to attain a better world. And the only way to advance human condition is to ensure that no one is left behind—and this includes women and girls,” said PCW Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken.

Let us empower ourselves and vote wisely. Choosing the right leaders can change the world and at the same time, change the way the world see us, women.