My HAPI perception on this Midterm elections 2019 in the Philippines.
I was informed that CNN took interest for a HAPI representative to discuss women’s vote certainly took some time. CNN researcher called me twice and had us waiting for a couple of weeks. I didn’t know that before you can be included in the panel, a thorough research on you will be done. I think my fb account and my articles in hapihumanist.org added some credence on why I can be included in the panel. I was just informed that I am included on Saturday, May 11 and the panel interview will be done on May 13th, 4pm to 6pm, supposedly, the panel will include Prof. Ramon Casiple, political analyst and Jonathan Ong, communication expert and myself. On the day itself, Mr. Casiple, myself and Ms. Arizza Dizon, Social Media Analyst sat with CNN anchor, Ruth Cabal and Menchu Macapagal.
Call time was 3pm and my “HADAVENGERS” were all making plans what to do after we watch GoT. I had to be told that I have to put a make up on, otherwise people from the studio will do it for me, so I opted to go with my friends, because am pretty sure they will have my back. And true enough, Laura did an awesome job in dolling me up. I had that make up on since 1pm until 11pm and it did not leave my face. J Ping was the erstwhile PA meaning “tagabitbit ng gamit”, as we intend to go home after CNN afterall. Mutya was the designated photographer, “I am terrible in picture taking J” and of course, our HAPI CFO, Edwin Bulaclac acted as my referee, cheerleader and my fact- finding buddy. He fed me the statistics while was sitting there about to say something stupid hahaha.
Nothing earth shaking about it, except I had a very uncomfortable feeling sitting on a high chair and a dolled up face, courtesy of my HAPI friends. My worry all the while is how to be a good HAPI representative on live TV, and not embarrass our organization. I am very opinionated and for those who know me can attest that I can curse mid-sentence if something irks me and tell it straight to your face if you are a shithead. It was hard because I have to sit there and listen to garbage, some of those opinions are not even true in real life. I was asking myself if these people lived under a rock up to this day. It is such ” garbled facts” they are spewing. They are very eloquent, but what am certain is that they have not been outside the boxes, because some of those views are not from real life.
The discussion revolves around WOMEN VOTES, since according to the registry of voters, 51% are women. Total registered voters from Comelec data is said to be 61,843,750. The numbers are just numbers of statistics. We can all surmise that these are strong numbers if you are able to get them all to vote for you. But how many women candidates are voted by women voters? RUTH CABAL said last election about 19% of that strong women voters voted for women candidates. It speaks therefore loud and clear, women may have the number of votes, but it shall not translate to actual votes. And why is that? Women vary in opinion and priority, we still lack the education to back it up. Informed decision can only happen if you give them the education.
The panel can spew numbers of their own belief on why women vote is stronger than most, but it does not speak what the women do in hard core reality. Distorted reality is that women will vote for women because they are assumed to vote for the same gender. The reality is even if the last election is national, women shall vote for what their local politicians dictate them to vote for. That is the reality. This does not have to do with gender votes. It has something to do with how women are treated in our society. We are still patriarchal and most women do not have the resources to say otherwise. We can argue that there is women empowerment in place and that there is gender equality, but it does not state the women economic empowerment.
I ask this yesterday and I did not get an answer either from the two women I am with in the studio. Would they think a mother will vote for who they prefer, in this case a women candidate over what the Barangay Captain asks them to vote for? Simply put, if a local politician, especially those in a poverty trodden community, treats mothers in his community properly, he can be assured that whoever he endorses for the next national election will get the women’s vote. And that is the terrifying truth. Mothers can account for 75% of those 51% women voters. And those mothers are located below poverty line. This is not therefore a question of how strong the women vote can be, but the realization that women are strong in numbers, but weak in preference because of economic oppression.
Once you gave women those in poverty line and those who cannot decide for themselves and those that need to break the shackles of religious bigotry a chance to speak for themselves, then we can say truly there is WOMEN EMPOWERMENT. Let’s not dupe ourselves that all women are empowered, yeah city women, educated women yes these are the empowered ones. But look around you and visit your ground roots then and only then you will realize that ALL WOMEN ARE NOT EMPOWERED.
Laws for women drafted by men are all abundant but does this translate to the total women’s right? I doubt it. When those in the city gets to tell me that the women’s equal rights are practiced in as far flung areas as it could or that all these laws in place are enforced in all areas/communities then and only then shall I accept that WOMEN ARE EMPOWERED. The laws are not the problem. The proper enforcement of the law for women should be observed and then women can appreciate what the law has for them.
So what’s next for me after CNN? A realization that TV has a different perspective of what reality is. What is my take on the MIDTERM ELECTION RESULT? Women voters need to be educated and empowered. I will take what I have learned and utilize it to further the cause of WOMEN EDUCATION in the far flung barrio. Being humanist should not stop me from being an educator. A power of one multiplied HAPI-ly can create a thousand mini ripples than can turn into successive waves. Imagine one of me influencing 10 girls and those girls can become EMPOWERED WOMEN someday. It can happen. We live not for the present but for the future. Be humane at all times and so all shall be HUMANIST eventually.
P.S. the current senator standing as of 94% of canvassing, women did vote for their women candidate 🙂