Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Risa Hontiveros as Women and Reproductive Health Advocate

April 21, Quezon City, Philippines – One of the most controversial female members of the House of the Representatives, Risa Hontiveros sits with me for a short interview about her platforms and issues connected to her race for senate under Liberal Party. Hontiveros is a representative from Akbayan Party-list and it is her second term in the position. She was invited by LP to join their senatorial slate, where she takes the lead on women and agrarian reform. She is one of the authors of the cheap medicines bill, reproductive health bill (RH Bill) and comprehensive agrarian reform program.

Hontiveros wanted to focus on the area of health, women and agriculture once she assumes a senatorial seat. She mentioned that the cheap medicines law in the country should be fully implemented. She would also like to extend the coverage of Philhealth to 100 percent, where it would give free hospitalization to the poorest members. In addition, she also planned to help women with cancer to avail of free testing, diagnosis and treatment. Lisa Maza one of her co-authors for RH Bill is part of competing party NP. When asked what were the differences between her and Maza she answered that in spite of both of them are leftist, they have fundamental differences on bills like the agrarian reform she passed. Maza was one of those who opposed it. She was not surprised seeing the group of Maza joining the opposing team.

If assumed office as senator, Hontiveros wanted to focus on four areas in her first year in senate: anti-corruption, health, women and giving voice to the powerless. On anti-corruption she mentioned that she is planning to propose raising the salaries of the public officials where it would attract the best and the brightest possible and to minimize or avoid the culture of corruption amongst the employees. On health, she wanted to do reform Philhealth; Third would be on women, giving livelihood programs to single mothers, who need financial support. Lastly, bringing the principle of the party-list system, where she is a member (Akbayan), she wanted to give voices to the minorities and brought up the concerns of women, senior citizens, people with disabilities and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans-gender) group.

Like the rest of my interview Hontiveros answers 5 questions:

Question: What is the current status of maternal health in the Philippines?

Hontiveros: Dismal, we’re not going to achieve our MDG target on reducing maternal mortality.

Question: On the issue of reproductive health, the Church is saying not to support enactors of the bill. What is your opinion on this?

Hontiveros: Naniniwala pa rin ako na sa araw ng halalan, makikinig ang mga botante sa kanilang mga konsensya, yung free will na tinuturo ng mga Obispo na handog ng Maylikha sa atin. (I believe that on the day of election that the voters will listen to the conscience with the free will that the bishops is teaching)

Question: What is your reaction when Ampatuan included you on the list of the senators that their family will be supporting?
Hontiveros: Before my opinion, my feeling was horrified someone texted me, a radio reporter telling this news, I’m sure that it was planted by the “Villarroyo.” (opposing political party).

Question: What are the committees in senate would you like to join?

Hontiveros: I will be asking health and agrarian reform.

Question: How will you perform as a senator if the president and vice president in your party didn’t win?

Hontiveros: I will be sad; I see them as second chance for the country. I will just continue my work and implement my principles since I became an activist in high school.

Everything lights up when she was ask on how was she as a mother, she smilingly says that she is a hands-on mother of four. Her eldest is 17 and youngest is 6. Like other mothers, she is a total supporter of her children where she actively participate school activities like the parent-teachers association. She considers rest days as family days. Hontiveros is not expecting that her children would join politics soon. Hontiveros sees her political party as a big family and she ended the discussion telling that she is happy and she would not trade anything in the world from the things that she experiencing with them.

Watch the complete interview below:

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1 comment:

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