Bernadette M. Gavino-Gumba
Before the elections, I wrote two articles on PNOY. One was about "A Longing" for sincerity and truthfulness amidst a national government of dishonesty and fraud. The second one was about "Depth of Character" of a presidential aspirant with unquestioned integrity, unbelievable humility and simplicity, strong commitment to principled governance and public accountability, and trust in the power of the people.
The Magna Carta of Women ensures equal access and elimination of discrimination in education, scholarships and training. To this end, the state shall remove gender stereotypes and images in educational materials and curricula. Textbooks at all levels of school should be free from gender stereotyping like for instance a father is portrayed as working in an office and a mother staying at home to clean.
Women victims of violence who seek justice normally go through series of questioning from the police. The investigation process forces them to recall and report their ordeal, painfully, from start to finish, making sure all details are documented. In most cases, it involves medical examinations that require women to undress or allow their bodies to be checked.
Since women are not represented in development planning and development councils, their interest and welfare are more often left out or unrecognized in the process. In the end, they do not receive maximum benefits of development efforts and programs, particularly those rendered by the government.
Finally, the Magna Carta of Women has been signed into law last August 14, 2009. It is the Philippines' concrete action toward the implementation of CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the country. CEDAW is an international human rights standards set up by the United Nations in 1989, specially designed for women.
Philippine politics is riddled with fraud, deceit, corruption, bribery, and manipulation. Politicians have been used to capitalizing on the weakness and powerlessness of the poor, and profiting from the silence and poverty of Filipinos. The son and daughter of a dictator mustered the callousness to run for senator and governor. An ousted president has filed his candidacy in a desperate attempt to go back to Malacanang.
Our government leaders have grown up and survived in a culture of scratching each other's backs. Presently led by Gloria Arroyo, this government has inherited a political culture carried down from past administrations. Except the administration of Cory Aquino, I think.
I learned about a new mechanism that ensures substantial and sustained involvement of civil society in addressing human rights issues in our country. In a Training Conference on Human Rights of Women in Southeast Asia sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency, a representative from the United Nations Human Rights Council introduced this mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
In the middle of dishonesty, fraud and cheating that plague the present national government, I long for sincerity and truthfulness. Amid extravagance and squandering by government officials from the illegitimate president and her cabinet to the congressmen and women down to the barangay captains, I long for decency and prudence. In the midst of self-enrichment and wealth accumulation of politicians, I long for simplicity and self-sacrifice.
Both Philippine and American media have reported about the dinner splurges of Gloria Arroyo and her entourage in the July US visit. One dinner was at Le Cirque, a posh French restaurant in Manhattan , New York , where the group had caviar, bottles of champagne and a big meal worth $20,000 or P960,000. Another one was at Bobby Van's Steakhouse in Washington D.C.