Stressing their desire to protect human rights enshrined in the Constitution, women leaders from different sectors threw their support behind Sen. Grace Poe, saying she is the kind of leader that the country needs.
At a press event in Quezon City where the “Kababaihan para kay Grace Poe” was launched, former senator Santanina Rasul said Poe “will be good for the country.”
“She is the embodiment of the modern Filipina: manifestly intelligent, honest, sincere and effective,” Rasul said in a statement read by her daughter, Fatima Rasul.
“Her governance program tackles head-on our country’s present and lingering problems and concerns. She is an out-of-the-box problem solver which is what we need today,” she said.
Rasul noted that Poe clearly supports Mindanao, with a promise to allocate one-third of the national budget, or P1 trillion, for the region’s development.
Another former senator, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, said she also picked Poe because she could not let anyone trample on women’s rights.
“I was the main author and sponsor of the Rape bill, which defined rape as a crime against women and not against chastity. It took us 11 years before it was passed. How come Duterte said rape was a joke? He does not know his constitutional duties as a local government executive,” said Shahani, who also supported Poe’s father in the 2004 presidential race.
“Please do not vote for people who do not know women’s rights and gender equality. Matagal na laban ito ng mga kababaihan (This has been a long fight),” she said.
Aside from the two former senators, the “Kababaihan para kay Grace Poe” includes Sr.
Mary John Mananzan of the St. Scholastica’s College; Kakay Tolentino of the Indigenous Women Network; Socorro Reyes, regional governance adviser of the Center for Legislative Development; law professor and family law expert Katrina Legarda; film director Bibeth Orteza; Patricia Camille Salvador, student leader at the University of the Philippines Manila; Nitz Gonzaga of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Women; Nere Guerrero of Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihan Nagkakaisa (SAMAKANA); Arlene Brosas of Gabriela; sociologist Anna Leah Serabia; senatorial bets Susan Ople and Lorna Kapunan; and Poe supporters Barbee Chuidian and Yvette Fernandez.
A key figure in fighting for Philippine democracy, Mananzan rallied women to partner with Poe’s “Gobyernong may Puso” in tackling the country’s problems because no leader can do it alone.
“’Wag natin sabihin na si Grace lang ang makakagawa nito dahil hindi siya superwoman (Grace can’t do this alone because she is no superwoman). That’s why Grace made this partnership. Kailangan niya tayo (she needs us),” the Benedictine educator said. “As a nun, I’m not supposed to endorse anybody but my presence is stronger than words.”
“Grace Poe has manifested the strength of mind and character to protect our children and families. I am here today as the voice of children who cannot vote on May 9,” Legarda said.
Gabriela, which launched its own Girl Power (GP), said the party-list group supported Poe because she has a heart for children and poor workers. Poe has vowed to end contractualization if she wins in the May 9 elections.
“Na-appreciate namin ang kanyang pagsasabi na tigilan na ang endo (We appreciated her statement on stopping end of contract). Mahalaga sa kababaihan ang trabaho at mawala ang constractualization (work is important to women),” said Brosas, Gabriela spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Poe commended workers on the even of Labor Day.
She said workers feed their families and continue to labor in dignity despite the burden of poverty.
“Nawa’y makamit ng bawat manggagawang Pilipino ang hangad nating buhay na may dignidad at pantay na pagkakataon para sa lahat (I wish that all Filipinos will attain their dream of a life with dignity and equal opportunities to all),” she said.