Female lawmakers dominate Monday’s House plenary session

To celebrate this year’s National Women’s Month and International Women’s Day, female lawmakers led Monday’s plenary session at the House of Representatives.

On the same day, it also adopted House resolutions commending two Filipino-American appointees of United States President Joe Biden—Gloria Steele and Camille Calimlim Touton.

The all-women session was led by Deputy Speaker Rose Marie “Baby” 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.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco also honored all women in the Philippines, underscoring their “pivotal role in nation-building” amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

“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.

Last 1 March during the flag-raising ceremony at the Batasang Pambansa, the Marinduque lawmaker hailed the female House members and employees who worked continuously despite the threat of Covid-19 in order to pass pandemic-responsive measures.

“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 chief said.

“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,” he went on.

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 or 48 percent of the House workforce.

Aside from Arenas, the House currently has seven other female deputy speakers, namely, Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon, 1st District), former senator 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) and actress-turned-lawmaker Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas, 6th District).

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