Incentivizing political parties to promote women participation, solon urges

Published August 1, 2020, 12:32 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The chairperson of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality has proposed to incentivize political parties that promote women participation and equitable representation.

Bukidnon 1st District Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba laments that until now, women “remain underrepresented” within the sphere of politics and governance. 

“In the 2019 national and local elections, only 20.16 percent (8, 782) of the candidates were female. In the recent years, the trend was that women occupy only less than one-third of third level positions in the government, more than one-third in government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), less than 20 percent in local government units (LGUs), and more than one-third in the judiciary,” she said, citing the Philippine Commission on Women. 

She filed House Bill No. 7179 or the proposed “Women Participation and Representation in Political Parties Act of 2020” , citing the urgent need for the government “to adopt measures to attain gender equality between women and men in terms of political participation and representation.”

Under HB 7179, political parties are mandated to craft and implement a clear women and gender and development agenda and program consistent with their party philosophy and ideals. 

It provides that women representation in a political party shall be equitable whenever women leaders occupy at least 30 percent of the leadership and internal policy-making structures of the political party.

The measure calls for the establishment of a Women in Political Parties Empowerment Fund, which shall be the sources of incentives for political parties that promote women participation and equitable representation.

A political party registered with and certified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to have equitable  women representation shall be allowed to access the proposed fund “to finance their women and gender and development agenda, and to augment funds for the lawful election propaganda of their women candidates,” it provides. 

According to the bill, the incentives given to political parties from the Fund shall be used directly and exclusively for the following purposes: development and implementation of the political party’s women and gender and development agenda, and finance of the campaign activities of the political party’s women candidates.

HB 7179 provides that all releases from the Fund during a non-election year shall be exclusively used for the political party’s women and gender and development agenda.

While, the amounts released from the Fund during an election year shall be divided as follows: 60 percent shall be used for lawful election propaganda, and 40 percent shall be used for women and gender and development agenda. 

The amount necessary for the implementation of the proposed Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). 

The bill tasks the Comelec to be the lead implementing arm of the proposed Act.

 
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