Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday, March 7 paid tribute to all Filipino women “for their pivotal role in nation building” notwithstanding the threats of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Velasco lauded Filipino women as he joined the celebration of the National Women’s Month and International Women’s Day to be held Monday, March 8.
“In the past year, COVID-19 has changed the world and affected us all, but the impact of the crisis has been particularly significant for women,” Velasco said.
“As we continue to face the worst public health crisis in a generation, let us pause for a moment to pay tribute to all the women of this country for their resilience and invaluable contributions to society and nation,” he added.
At the start of Women’s Month last Monday, Velasco particularly praised the women leaders and employees of the House of Representatives who helped keep the legislative mill running so Congress could continue to pass pieces of legislation that respond to the needs of the people amid the pandemic.
“Allow me to recognize all the strong, empowered and empowering women of the House. Kinaya at kinakaya natin ang laban sa pandemya because you kept everything steady here at work even as you faced the challenges with your families at home,” the House leader said during the House flag ceremony.
He added: “The strength, fortitude and resilience of the House as an institution is truly a reflection of the many women that make it strong, while giving it a heart.”
House records indicated that women make up 48 percent of the chamber’s workforce.
Records from the chamber’s Human Resource Management Service show that out of the 4,037 members and employees of the House, 1,941 are women.
The women representation in the House is broken down as follows: 85 legislators, 649 Secretariat employees, 940 congressional staff members, and 267 co-terminus and contractual workers.
The House currently has eight female deputy speakers, namely, Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon, 1st District), Loren Legarda (Antique, Lone District), Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon Party-list), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur, 2nd District), Divina Grace Yu (Zamboanga del Sur, 1st District), Camille Villar (Las Piñas City, Lone District), Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas (Pangasinan, 3rd District), and Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas, 6th District).
Immediately after Velasco’s election as Speaker last October 12, the House elected a female Secretary General—Atty. Jocelia Bighani Sipin.
Sipin spearheaded the House Secretariat through a period of transition from October 12 to November 18 last year.
She is currently the Deputy Secretary General assigned at the Office of the Speaker.
On March 8, female lawmakers will take full control of the plenary session as part of the annual tradition in the legislative chamber to mark the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day.
The all-women session will be led by Deputy Speaker Arenas, president of the 85-strong Association of Women Legislators Foundation Inc. of the 18th Congress, which is a non-profit, non-partisan organization composed of all lady lawmakers at the House.
One of the highlights of the session will be the adoption of House resolutions congratulating two Filipino-American appointees of United States President Joe Biden—Gloria Steele and Camille Calimlim Touton.