Press Release
February 21, 2010


Vice-Presidential candidate Loren Legarda urged Congress to pass the Women Empowerment Act and provide equal opportunity between men and women in public service. The bill seeks to mandate reserving certain percentages of positions in the different branches of government to qualified women.

"Although we have made significant progress in global surveys on gender quality, we still have room to improve, especially in government service where appointed positions are predominantly filled by men," Legarda reminded the crowd at her campaign rally in Laguna last week. "We must recognize the role of women in nation-building and ensure the fundamental equality of men and women before the law," she added.

Although the country has seen the surge of many laws and ordinances that promote and protect the welfare of women, AMONG WHICH IS THE MAGNACARTA FOR WOMEN ACT WHERE SHE IS CO-AUTHOR, there still are constraints that significantly affect [women's] participation in public governance. THE MAGNA CARTA FOR WOMEN ACT MANDATES AN INCREASE OF WOMEN GOVERNMENT WORKERS IN THIRD-LEVEL POSITIONS. Women's share in decision-making positions remains low. She added, "This pattern is true in institutions in both the government and private sectors where women's participation also decreases as the position level goes up."

"This is also one reason why I would like to lead the country. As a woman and as a mother, we have both the instinct and the capacity to guide the country through our journey to further economic, political and social progress. I want to give the women better opportunities for decision-making positions and children of this country a stronger voice of governance," Loren said.

Loren seeks to break the trend of discrimination experienced by women in the field of public service by allocating a certain percentage in appointive positions in both national and local government, including the AFP and the PNP, to qualified women.

The Civil Service Commission is mandated the following for women:

At least 1/3 of the Cabinet;
At least 1/3 of all undersecretaries and positions of comparable salary grade;
At least one in every line department of all public institutions;
At least 1/3 of all assistant secretaries in every department;
At least 1/3 of all directors in every department;
At least 1/3 of all chiefs of division in every department, bureau of agency;
At least 1/3 of all ambassadors and consular offices;
At least 1/3 of all judges in all lower courts; and
At least 1/3 of all prosecutors in department of justice

"We can never undermine the capacities of women. If we do this, we are not only denying women their rights; we are denying our countrymen the opportunity for growth based on the insights and values that women offer in any organization," Loren stressed.

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