AS WOMEN, we don’t only talk the talk. We walk the talk. I vow to push more laws in the 18th Congress that will empower women and address foremost challenges to Filipinas like teenage pregnancy, abuse of young women and toxic marriages.
Women’s rights advocates are working hard to build on legislative accomplishments made in the 17th Congress and advance new laws that respond to the needs and concerns of women.
This 18th Congress, we aim to pass laws that will fully empower women, stop abusive practices and end gender-based discrimination and inequality. I am confident that the determination, brilliance, and solidarity of our fellow Filipinas will allow us to succeed in these goals.
My committee is working on priority measures on women’s rights such as the “Girls not Brides Act,” which will protect young girls from sexual abuse by prohibiting child marriages, and its partner measure the “Raising the Age of Sexual Consent Bill,” which will raise the age of sexual consent in the country from 12 to 18 years old.
My committee is also likewise tackling the “Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Bill,” which will provide a comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education for children to help reduce cases of teenage pregnancy.
My committee is also working on the “Dissolution of Marriage Bill,” which will provide “second chances” for spouses to end abusive and loveless relationships. The bill will strengthen the institution of marriage and would address the many cases of Filipinas suffering from domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
Persistent efforts by women’s rights groups have led to the passage of landmark pro-women measures in the last 17th Congress, such as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law and the Safe Spaces Act, or “Bawal Bastos Law.”
We will not stop with our present triumphs. Instead, we will treat them as inspiration to make new achievements in behalf of all women.
(Hontiveros is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality. She was the key speaker at the “Juana Talks: Bakit Mahalaga ang Agenda ni Juana?,” an event organized by the Philippine Commission on Women.)