WE put no high hopes on the election results to resolve the persisting violence against women. we do not see a change in scenario with more spaces alloted to the rich and the powerful, even in the party-list system.

Party-list groups need to provide legislation for the sectors that they represent. So if the traditional political clans and businessmen dominate the party-list groups, more seats in Congress means better protection for their interests. The party-list system means additional leverage for trapo and negosyo and not for the common tao.

Media has reported that 52 of 56 party-list representatives in the 16th Congress are multimillionaires. For the upcoming 17th Congress, political clans observably dominate party-list groups like the Abono partylist of Estrella and Ortega clans of the North, Abyan Ilonggo of the Tupas clan of Iloilo, Ang Kasangga of the Quimpo clan of Aklan, SBP of the Belmontes in Metro Manila, among others.

The leading party-list group in the recent poll survey is Ako Bicol, comprising of rich entrepreneurs and professionals. Its social media newsletter boasts of scholarships and livelihood support for Bicolanos.

Even if a party-list group of a political clan or businessman claims to advocate the cause of the underrepresented, it would only be a patronizing act since most of their programs are dole-outs.

Based from the records of Philippine Statistics Authority, Bicol is one of the regions that exhibited high poverty incidence during the first half of 2014, obtaining 48.2 percent while the other two regions are Eastern Visayas (54.9 percent) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM (54 percent).

The recent news of a mother in Bicol region pimping her young daughters to foreigners through cyberpornography depicts of how poverty morphs people into savages for survival. The accountability rests in the political leaders who neglect their constituents. Bicol region is consistently included as having provinces with high poverty incidence, such as Camarines Sur, Masbate and Sorsogon.”

The little space provided for marginalized sectors like women has even been snatched by traditional political families and businessmen. Women should never allow that trapos and profit-oriented politicos dominate their acquired space. Women should show their power of collective action.--Center for Women’s Resources