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What is ABANSE! Pinay?

ABANSE! Pinay is the national movement of women and women’s organizations that
will participate in the 1998 Elections under the Party-List system. Its goal is to advance
the women’s agenda in Congress through the election of three women sectoral
representatives.

What is the Party-List System?

Sulong Kababaihan!The Party-list System, as provided for in the Constitution and in law through R.A. 7941,
provides for the election of at least 50 members of the House of Representatives who will
sit in the chamber as representatives of sectors that have been, for reasons of class,
culture, economics and gender, historically under-representated in the highest levels of
government. Under the law, these sectors have been identified as: labor, peasants,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, disabled, youth,
veterans, overseas workers, professionals, and women.

Voters will choose not among candidates but among sectoral parties, such as ABANSE!
Pinay. The law limits each party to a maximum of three seats, although each party is
required to submit a list of five candidates, the last two serving as alternates.

To be able to seat one candidate, ABANSE! Pinay must garner at least two percent of the
total votes cast for the party-list system (estimated at 500,000 votes, based on the voter
turn-out in previous elections). To be able to seat all three of its candidates, ABANSE!
Pinay must therefore secure a minimum of 1.5 million votes.

Why Women?

Women already play vital roles in the country’s political life. More Filipino women than
men participate in electoral politics as voters, as the statistics give women voters a slight
edge over men. Women form the backbone of most partisan political campaigns as staff,
campaigners and supporters. The life and welfare of neighborhoods and communities is
enhanced immeasurably by women volunteers, who lend their time and effort to concerns
ranging from the lack of basic services to violence in the home and community.
Government itself is run by women, as women predominate in the civil service.

The numbers, however, have not been translated into a women’s vote. It has yet to be
demonstrated that women voters vote on women’s issues or for women candidates. Few
women run for public office, with only a handful of them having a clearly-defined
agenda based on gender-equity.

In the meantime, challenges and problems continue to confront women, but society has
failed to adequately address them. The common notion is that women’s issues, as defined
by the men who run society and government, belong largely to the private world of the
family, the home and the community. They are not a priority, compared with the large,
public issues of the economy, technology, or defense, for example.

ABANSE! Pinay believes that all issues are women’s issues. Experience shows us that the
challenges and problems once considered personal and private are actually shared by
both women and men and that there is a political dimension to them. At the same time,
we realize that no matter how successful we are at organizing around these issues, its
impact is limited while we remain outside the circles where key policies and decisions
are made and implemented.

ABANSE! Pinay refuses to accept the traditional definitions of what is central and what
is marginal in the political agenda, asserting that the needs of women and children count
for as much as the needs and concerns of men. It is time that Filipino women contribute
directly to decision-making and influence the shaping of policies and laws that
determine our country’s future. More importantly, women in positions of power must
truly represent women’s interests.

ABANSE! Pinay will work for the following:

The selection of five nominees who will carry the ABANSE!
Pinay legislative agenda in the House of Representatives, and work for
its full realization;

The election of three sectoral representatives for women, and
continued monitoring of their legislative work in behalf of women;

And through their election, win public recognition of the
strength of the elusive ``women’s vote’’ and project women as the vital
political players we already are.

ABANSE! Pinay
Women’s Seven-Point Agenda

We, the Women of ABANSE! Pinay, Believe that:

All issues are women’s issues. Women’s voices must be heard in the articulation and
pursuit of a social change agenda, including agrarian reform and rural development,
sustainable livelihood, environmental protection, peace and good governance, cultural and
spiritual renewal. In particular, we pledged ourselves to pursue the following legislative
agenda:

1.FREEDOM FROM POVERTY IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. We will
work for the delivery of quality basic services, particularly water, shelter
and health- that most affect the quality of life of women and their
families. At the same time, women’s economic decision-making toward
equitable growth and sustainable development must be ensured.

2. A TRULY PEACEFUL SOCIETY CANNOT BE ACHIEVED WHILE
THERE IS VIOLENCE IN THE HOME. We will work for laws on family
violence and partner abuse as well as laws that will require the
establishment of crisis support services and mechanisms for survivors of
violence against women.

3. CHILDREN NEED PROTECTION IN THE LAW. We propose the
creation of the office of a Children’s Advocate and of special courts for
child offenders and child victims. The Barangay Day Care Law must also
be amended and improved.

4. QUALITY EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO A BETTER FUTURE.
Incentives should be provided for education of children from the poorest
families. Education must also be gender-fair in content as well as in
structures.

5. WOMEN ARE EQUAL TO MEN AND PARTNERS IN
DEVELOPMENT. We will strengthen the Family Code and the Women in
Nation Building and Development Law and enact more laws to ensure
equity for women in the home, workplace and in economic life.

6. GOVERNMENT MUST PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF OVERSEAS
FILIPINO WORKERS, ESPECIALLY MIGRANT WOMEN WORKERS.
We will work for laws requiring review of bilateral agreements, and
requiring women labor attachés and welfare officers where majority of
the overseas workers are women. Overseas Filipinos should also enjoy
the right to vote.

7. WOMEN MUST BE BETTER REPRESENTED IN GOVERNMENT
AND IN ALL LEVELS OF DECISION-MAKING. We will work for the
immediate passage of an enabling law on local sectoral elections and for
amendment of the local government Code to establish a quota of at least
30% women in mandatory consultations and assemblies.

How can I help?

Woman or man, young or old, you can help ABANSE! Pinay by:

Voting ABANSE! Pinay in the slot for party-list representative in the
May 1998 elections;

Informing your family, friends, neighbors, workmates, and
acquaintances about ABANSE! Pinay and our goals and principles, and
convincing them to vote for ABANSE! Pinay in next year’s polls;

Joining ABANSE! Pinay as a member and/or volunteer (click to see
form);

Committing resources (campaign contributions, printing materials,
providing lodging and transportation, food, etc.) to ABANSE! Pinay (click
to see form).

For more information, contact:

ABANSE! Pinay Secretariat
#10 Maka-Diyos Street
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Philippines
+(632) 433-1185/+9632) 433-1160
+(632) 925-1409

Or Contact your area ABANSE! Pinay Focal Point



lens.jpg (15783 bytes)CHAPEL NET
Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City
Tel. No. 924-4951 local 3588, Fax No. 924-4442

chapelnet@usa.net

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All Rights Reserved 1998