By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla is encouraging women colleagues to vie for the Speakership in the coming 18th Congress.
She said there was nothing wrong if the top House post will be occupied by another woman-Speaker.
“Walang masama. And I hope meron din tayong women lawmakers who will vie for the position (There is nothing wrong with having another woman-Speaker. And I hope we will have women lawmakers who will vie for the position),” Deloso-Montalla, chairperson of the Committee on Human Rights, said.
She even hailed the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the country’s first woman-Speaker.
“I have high regard for our Speaker, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She’s workaholic, when I say workaholic, in a short span of time, ang dami naming na-passed na laws dahil tinututukan niya kaming lahat and makes sure we do our job,” Deloso-Montalla said.
“Ang gusto ko kay SGMA, pag may responsibility ka, you really have to do your job. Be a responsible lawmaker. Naiinis siya pag di ginawa ung trabaho, which I really admire. Kasi yun talaga ang leader na kailangan natin. Sayang nga lang at maikling panahon lang. How I wish mahaba-haba ang panahon na naging Speaker siya. She is very generous and takes care of the Members of Congress,” she added.
Arroyo earlier chose to keep mum on who her preferred successor would be.
She explained that since she was not going to be part of the 18th Congress, she will no longer comment on her possible bet for the Speakership post.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, chairperson of the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), had endorsed former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco as the next Speaker.
Among those who are expected to join the Speakership race are former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, Cavite Rep. Alex Advincula, Cavite Rep. Bambol Tolentino, Malabon Rep. Ricky Sandoval, and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres.
Deloso-Montalla also cited as crucial the role of women in choosing political and community leaders, who would fight for the rights of women.
“We want to encourage women to participate not just in the political arena, but to be active in being part of the voices that can really determine and choose the correct leaders in the community,” she said.
“Umaangat ang kababaihan lalo na sa larangan ng pulitika. Nagiging malaking boses na sa ating bansa ang kababaihan. Even the men are looking at women as their partners in development and policy-making, which is good, nawawala na ung stereotyping of women,” she said.
Deloso-Montalla also described women as a “strong force” in the policy-making processes. “On any violation against women, we have a program that not only addresses their concerns but programs that can prevent possible abuses on women,” she said.