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    Message for the International Day of the Girl

    11 October 2016

    Gateway Mall, Cubao

    Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.

    I am very happy to be with you today to celebrate the International day of the Girl. Hindi iyon masyadong kilala, International day of the Girl. And I’m very thankful to SPARK for spearheading this celebration in the sense that when we talk of women empowerment yung ating mga kabataan hindi masyadong interesado. And I believe in that advocacy of SPARK that if we talk of women empowerment, we have to start with very very young girls.

    Because it is not something that we can teach overnight. It is something that has to grow in each and in everyone of our girls who will assume turn into women. I have always beyond, even before I became a politician, I am always being involved in the advocacy for, in the fight against abuse, violence against women, in the fight for women empowerment at dati po, magkukwento ako sa ating mga estudyante.

    Dati I was a human rights lawyer and one of the main advocacies of my being an alternative lawyer was fighting for abuses committed against women. Parati pong sinasabi when you look at the statistics, Filipino women are better off than most other women around the world. In fact, if you look at the global ranking, Filipino women are [unitelligible], iyong sasabihin talo pa natin iyong United Kingdom, talo pa natin yung mas developed countries.

    And it’s a source of pride, its a source of gratitude for all Filipino Women. But if the question is, are we contented with where we are now, and the answer is always no. Like what I’ve been telling you, I’ve been saying earlier, when I was lawyering for abused women.

    I would often find myself rescuing women who are victims of domestic abuse. Going to the extent of making our own home a haven for them, when there’s still recuperating from the abuse we would always assist them every step of the way.

    There would be times when they would most of the time they would decide to file cases against the abusers, pero pag nandoon na po kami sa korte, they would not want to pursue the case anymore.

    Sometimes I’m left in court with no client at all after going through all the hard work of preparing for our biddings, our complaint, our case, and what is the reason behind this, the reason behind this is, women do not want to pursue cases against the abusers anymore because most of the time the abusers are either their husbands or their boyfriends or their live-in partners and most of the time these women are financially dependent on the abusers. So, pag hindi po independent ang babae, pag umaasa lamang doon sa abuser it doesn’t give them much comfort. It doesn’t give them the confidence that they would need to fight the abuse.

    So, what we are saying now, this celebration of the International day of the Girl is very important in the sense if the advocacy starts, when women are in their prime of their age already it might be too late an intervention.

    So, this very important that we inculcate upon our girls already. How they should value themselves as girls, on how they value themselves as women who will be mothers, who will be valuable members of the society later on.

    So, this particular occasion, I think should be, should not be in one month, one time, one-time occasion in the sense that, promoting the value of our girls, promoting women empowerment should be an everyday thing and I’m grateful that SPARK has decided to partner with the Quezon City government through Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte decided to invite all our High School girls because we would like to think this is the perfect opportunity to start pushing for women empowerment.

    Women empowerment is not a fight between men and women it is a fight for equal treatment for both genders. It is a fight for giving value to the status of women in society, so sana po the Office of the Vice President is very much willing to partner with SPARK in pushing for women, more women empowerment, in fact most of you have joined as yesterday in our Partnerships Against Poverty and one of the main advocacy areas that we want to pursue is really women empowerment and baka po puwedeng we start with our very young children already.

    I understand that this morning you will have films to be shown to our young ladies and we are very grateful to the members of the diplomatic core and international organizations who are here to provide a resource for all our girls to listen to.

    It is very important that they feel that they are part of an international community. Because that would get them the strength that would give them confidence, that they are in the same mode, in the same length all in the other women in the world.

    Paminsan Ma’am kasi diba, Filipino women think less of themselves because also of the culture that we grow up in and this occasion is significant specially, specially made significant by your presence.

    So, thank you very much, Vice Mayor Joy is not here yet, ay she’s here na pala.

    Vice Mayor Joy, thank you very much, Vice Mayor Joy has always been a staunch advocate of women’s rise and women empowerment.

    You could not find a better partner than her.

    Kaya maraming Salamat, Vice Mayor Joy.

    Maraming salamat po sa ating mga estudyante, at sa ating mga guro.

    Happy International Day of the Girl to all of you!

    Posted in Speeches on Oct 12, 2016