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Hontiveros exhorts Fil-Ams to nurture ideals of democracy

10 June 2019 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post
Senator Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel speaks before a crowd of mostly Filipino Americans during the Kalayaan Inc., grand gala in celebration of the 121st Philippine Independence Day in a posh hotel in Los Angeles last Saturday (June 1).
Photo by Bobby Crisostomo

Hontiveros exhorts Fil-Ams to nurture ideals of democracy

By Abner Galino

Senator Ana
Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel told Filipino Americans that “checks and
balances” would keep a “vibrant and healthy democracy” in the Philippines.

          And the crowd cheered.

In a largely cheery
speech, Hontiveros-Baraquel, did not criticize anyone in the administration of
President Rodrigo Duterte but simply spelled out the textbook definition of political
opposition in a democratic government.

“As President Trump
needs a Pelosi  (Speaker of the US House
of Representatives)  — President Duterte
needs as many independent legislators for a more stable and healthy democracy,”
Hontiveros-Baraquel said as she was winding down her speech at the 121st
anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence grand gala in a posh
hotel in Los Angeles.

The senator was the
guest of honor and speaker at the event hosted by the Kalayaan Inc., led by Annie

Senator Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel poses with incumbent Kalayaan Inc., chair/president Annie Cuevas-Lim (left) and incoming chair/president Lydia Solis.
Photo by Bobby Crisostomo

According to the
lady solon, the opposition carries the responsibility of “protecting our women
from mysogynistic attacks, preserving our territory and natural resources,
protecting innocent people from the excesses of, at times, of our national
police and of our armed forces, and in stirring the freedom of the press.”

“We hope that
someday we will be free from poverty, inequality, from patronage and dirty
politics, from Beijing and from other foreign — overt foreign interests,”
Hontiveros said.

Mga Dilag ng Kalayaan 2019 — (from left to right) Binibining Kalayaan Stacey Ree Wuthrich, Ginang Kalayaan Lourdes Garcia and Mutya ng Kalayaan Samantha Babasa. Photo by Rudy Autor

The main body of
the senator’s speech was about the legislative successes that she and her
party-list, Akbayan, have achieved in the past three years, chief of them: the
Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 (6 weeks to 105 days) which also enables
single mothers to get as much as 120 days of paid leave. Fathers and alternate
caregivers can also avail benefits from the said law.

The senator also said
her party helped in the passage of the Philippine Mental Health Law, or Republic
Act 11036, which aims to give better access to mental health care; the Republic
Act. 10932, or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law; the Cheaper Medicines
Law; the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law
(CARPER) and the Reproductive Health Law.

Akbayan, according to
Hontiveros-Baraquel, has been instrumental in the passing of least 14 laws
since its existence.

Hontiveros was
recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Peace and Advocacy
for her work in the peace talks between the government and the National
Democratic Front (NDF).

Journalist and broadcaster, Janelle So-Perkins, the only Filipina immigrant seen regularly on American TV. Janelle was the event’s master of ceremonies. Photo by Vics Magsaysay

She was one of the
27 Filipino women among the 1,000 women worldwide who were nominated for the
Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Hontiveros graduated cum laude with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Ateneo De Manila
University. She was a community organizer, and later on, became a journalist
and TV news anchor.

She is a widow who takes care of four children.

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