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The Filipino women’s suffrage rights and UPink fight

By: ATTY. DENNIS R. GORECHO - Columnist/CDN Digital | April 26,2022 - 09:00 AM

Eighty five (85)  years ago, Filipino women would not find their names in the voting list until a plebiscite was held on April 30, 1937.

That day marked the first time women in the country exercised suffrage when an overwhelming majority of 447,725 Filipino women voted in a plebiscite in favor of their right to vote in political elections under Commonwealth Act No. 34.

Since the first national election in 1907 for the Philippine Assembly until the adoption of the 1935 Constitution, only Filipino men were allowed to vote in the country and women had no legal right.

Critics argued that it would ruin family unity since it will be giving less power to the husband or man of the house in the family.

Geronima Pecson became the first woman senator of the Philippines in 1947.

Since 1947, there have been 23 Filipino women senators in Philippine history. In the current 18th Congress, there are 7 incumbent female senators.

The country had two female presidents: Corazon Aquino (1986-1992) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-2010).

On March 29, 1984, Proclamation No. 2346 was enacted declaring April 30 as “Woman Suffrage Day” to enable Filipino women to “renew their advocacy and support for clean, honest and free elections and pursue with greater zeal their efforts towards this direction.”

Current Commission on Elections (Comelec) data reveal that registered female voters outnumber males by at least 1.5 million.

Out of the 65,721,230 eligible voters in the country, 33,644,237 are women while 32,076,993 are men. Regions with higher number of female than male voters are Calabarzon, National Capital Region , Quezon City, Manila, Central Luzon, Central Visayas and Western Visayas.

Regions where there are more male than women voters include Eastern Visayas, Soccksargen, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga.

The anniversary of women’s suffrage rights were celebrated across different campuses of University of the Philippines (UP) through events dubbed as “UPink Fight!” spearheaded by alumni and students as they also called for the conduct of a clean and honest election.

UP Fight is the cheer or slogan popularly used during the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) sports competition.

The events coincided with the birthday of Vice President Leni Robredo.

In UP Diliman, women rights advocates led the Parada ng mga Rosas solidarity walk last April 24 around the university academic oval with special participation from UPink Chorus and KontraGapi. UP Diliman alumni earlier organized similar activities around the academic oval: Parada ng Pagmamahal at Pag-asa pink lantern parade last December 21, 2021, Freedom Run last February 25 to celebrate EDSA people power and the Takbo ng mga Rosas fun run last March 27 as part of women’s month.

Organizers include Portia and Delta Lambda Sigma sororities, WinLaw, WiloCi. alumni from School of Economics, Colleges of Engineering and Social Work and Development, Taga-Up for LeniKiko, Babaylan and other student organizations.

For their part, hundreds of students and alumni of the UP Cebu staged a unity walk along Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City followed by house to house visits last April 23.

Members of the UP Visayas community participated in various election campaign-related activities like house to house, motorcades, legal and medical clinics, and mall swarm.

The UP Baguio team is set to join the people’s rally and kite flying activities on April 28.

The UP Los Banos group likewise actively participated in the Laguna wide house to house campaign from April 20 to 23.

“Every UP alumni and student must be loyal to our ideals of honor, excellence, and service to the people,” Brian Magalong, alumnus of UP Cebu, said in an interview.

The UPink Fight activities highlighted the continuing and emerging women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and concerns, challenges, and commitments.

The campus molded us to fight for the causes we believe in; trained us for the skills we need to communicate ideas and rally others to effect changes in society.

UP is known to be a sanctuary of advocates of civil rights and academic freedom, especially in times of uncertainty and social turmoil.

Iskolars ng Bayan have always been potent force in social organization and social change in Philippine society.

The university has taught us the vision of service to the people.

In her candidacy as vice president in 2016, Robredo stood against five male candidates. In a debate, she said “I am a mother who will always look after her children. I will always look after our country, To the six of us, may the best woman win.” She won.

For presidential race in 2022 election, Robredo is the only woman candidate while there are nine men.

Let the last man standing be a woman.

(Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, email [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786)

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Comelec, Robredo, UP Diliman, women

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