Senator presses review of laws discriminating women
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano said Tuesday that Philippine laws discriminating against women should be reviewed.
During the plenary session, Cayetano explained that while the Philippines is often ranked among the most gender-equal countries in the world by the World Economic Forum, “we have been regressing in gender parity in the last few years.”
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“As legislators, it is our primary job to ensure that we pass laws that advance the status and protect the rights of women. However, while we do this, we must also acknowledge that the laws with provisions that are discriminatory against women are relics from the past and must be amended or repealed,” she said.
Cayetano then enumerated some of the laws “which are discriminatory or contain distinctions, exclusions or restrictions against women”:
A. Family Code
- Article 14 on Parental Consent
- Article 96 on joint Administration of Community Property
- Article 124 on Joint Administration of Conjugal Property
- Article 211 on Joint Parental Authority
- Article 225 on Joint Legal Guardianship over the Property of the Unemancipated Common Child
B. Revised Penal Code
- Article 333 on Adultery
- Article 334 on Concubinage
- Article 247 on Death or Physical Injuries under Exceptional Circumstances
C. Provisions on the code of Muslim personal laws
Cayetano said it is the man favored by the law for the provisions in the Family Code.
“Why? No other reason than he is the husband, and he is the man. In many cases, there are families where the woman–and in many families, actually–is more involved, and it is the man who is given these decision-making roles. So, these are things that we really need to review,” she said.
Cayetano argued that a review of discriminatory laws against women is not to give preference to women, but instead establish gender partnership.
“We give preference to women because like other sectors that have been traditionally given less opportunities, that is the reason why we create opportunities for them to rise above the discriminatory practices that they have experienced in life. But the ultimate goal is gender equality among all,” she explained.
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva gave Cayetano his “utmost support” as he recalled legislation he had proposed as a congressman.
The Anti-Marital Infidelity bill, according to Villanueva, sought to equalize the penalty for marital adultery. He said it was approved on the third and final reading at the lower chamber “but it fell on the deaf ears of the then Senate.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who chairs the upper chamber’s panel on women, children, family relations and gender equality, also appreciated Cayetano for raising the discussion on the Senate floor in time for women’s month.
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Cayetano had earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 25, which urges the Hontiveros-led committee to conduct a review, in aid of legislation, of the existing laws that hold provisions deemed discriminatory to women.
The resolution also seeks to amend or repeal the provisions of the laws as mandated by the Magna Carta of Women.
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