Dynasties way for women to enter politics, says poll exec
WHILE the proposal to ban political dynasties may be good, an election official has seen something positive about clans in politics.
Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon suggested that one of the easiest ways for women to get elected is through political dynasties, after she lamented that only 19 percent of the candidates who ran in the May 2016 national and local elections were women.
“The easiest way for women to get into politics here is through political dynasties. We have to think about the antipolitical dynasty law, what are its disadvantages to women, what are its advantages,” she said in an interview.
Comelec data showed that in last May’s election, 80 percent or 36,904 of the candidates were male, while 19 percent or 8,873 were female. The remaining 1 percent included the party-list groups that ran for seats to be occupied by their nominees.
Voter records meanwhile showed that of the 54,365,193 registered voters, 51 percent or 27,896,668 were women, while 48 percent or 26,181,371 were men.
While the Constitution prohibits political dynasties, an enabling law is required to implement this provision.
Efforts to pass an antidynasty law have been unsuccessful, however, due mainly to lack of support from legislators, most of them members of political dynasties themselves.
Lack of funds
Guanzon said that banning political dynasties might make it harder for women to enter politics.
The main reason women do not enter politics despite being qualified is lack of money. Another is that they are seen as caretakers of the home and children.
“But mostly the number one problem is financing, it’s expensive to run. The women don’t have support,” Guanzon said.
“Men control the finances of the family and they’re traditionally the ones pushed by the clan to run. But women get into politics in the Philippines through political dynasties, yes. In Sulu, the mother of the governor is his vice governor, Tan. In ARMM, the wife of Governor Hataman is the congresswoman,” she said.
Guanzon heads the Commission on Election’s gender and development program and has steadfastly campaigned for women to get more involved in politics, especially at the local level.
“I think the values system of women is really different in general. They make good examples, they teach the children to be honest, studious. And I think they carry it over when they become elected officials and leaders,” she said.
They also have a relatively higher winnability rate, she added.
She acknowledged that there were women who ran for public office despite not belonging to a political dynasty.
How about Padaca?
Guanzon cited former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, who defeated members of the Dy family in the 2004 and 2007 elections, ending the clan’s three-decade reign in the province.
In 2010, however, Padaca lost reelection against another member of the Dy family.
“She was the first in her generation, in her family, but she did not last long… It’s possible but not sustainable right now because financing is the problem,” Guanzon said.