LGBT group welcomes ‘formidable voices for women’ in Duterte Cabinet
A group advocating the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has welcomed the “chivalrous gesture of goodwill” of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to offer Cabinet positions to “progressive forces” from the Left.
Kapederasyon LGBT Organization on Saturday said University of the Philippines professor and development worker Judy Taguiwalo and former Gabriela and Bayan Muna representative Liza Maza would be good choices to head the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), respectively.
The group said Maza’s “brand of dedication” and “her inexorable resolve in fighting for the uplifting of the socio-economic situation of majority of Filipinos” would be a “great leap forward” for Duterte’s social welfare agenda.
“Despite constant recurrence in our presence, we seem perpetually enthralled by Maza’s ardor in effecting processes that redound to quality social services most beneficial for basic sectors. Similarly, her well-known integrity as fearless fighter for the oppressed in divergent fronts and battlefields, even inside the stronghold of tyrants, never fails startling us, a character too rare it leaves us all too frequently with no choice other than kowtow and emulate,” Kapederasyon said in a statement.
“During her terms as Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) and Bayan Muna representative, Maza succeeded in etching essential lawmaking imprint with the passage of legislative measures that guaranteed security, safety and thus a better societal environment for women, children and other oppressed minorities, making her an iconic champion of equal rights and gender justice,” it added.
Kapederasyon also lauded Taguiwalo’s inclusion in the nominees, saying that her “expansive experience” and “incontestable expertise” in the academe would make her a “paramount preference” for Ched chairperson. Taguiwalo served as head of the UP Center for Women Studies in Diliman before retiring.
The National Democratic Front recently submitted its nominees for Duterte’s Cabinet, and Taguiwalo was reportedly nominated as social welfare secretary.
Kapederasyon said Maza and Taguiwalo’s inclusion in the shortlist of possible appointees in the incoming administration would mean a “gender-balanced leadership” in a male-dominated Cabinet.
“Maza being internationally known to be a steadfast human rights activist and Taguiwalo as an authority in the educational arena, they both perfectly fit whatever fissures in the male-dominated Duterte Cabinet as the formidable voices for women, LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders), and all minorities hitherto undermined in previous administrations and of stakeholders in the academic community,” the group said.
“While we toe the line of critical collaboration with his presumptive regime, we perceive this confidence-building effort by President Duterte to be brimming with hope, his adroit demonstration of diplomacy quite astounding, it being depictive of inroads for lasting solutions to roots of half a century of armed conflict, with ramifications leading in all probability to enduring peace,” it added.
Aside from Taguiwalo, other nominees reportedly submitted by the NDF to the Duterte Cabinet include Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate as environment secretary; former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano to the agrarian reform portfolio; and Silvestre Bello III as labor secretary. But Zarate has reportedly begged off in favor of former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño. IDL
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