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Commentary: PGMA calls on women to lobby for electoral computerization

Manila, Philippines (16 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on women leaders to campaign for the modernization of voting, counting and canvassing as she pointed out that funds for the computerization of elections has long been provided.

Arroyo said that women must help to liberate every Filipina from a life of poverty and exploitation not only through electoral reforms but in every other way to fulfill their hopes and dreams, free from fear and full of opportunity.

The president connected her call to the Philippine Suffrage Act of 1937 which gave women the power to vote, "to have more economic choice, to determine the future of their lives of their families."

"Let's campaign for the modernization of voting, counting and canvassing -- starting with the forthcoming barangay elections," President Arroyo told the participants of the Women's National Electoral Assembly 2007 which is celebrating 70 years of women's suffrage in the Philippines at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

According to the President, to achieve the right of suffrage to its fullest, women and their organizations must empower other women at the grassroots level training them on leadership, communication, negotiation and assertiveness for them to crusade on electoral reforms and to lobby strongly for a law to fund poll watchdogs and a stronger law against election-related violence.

The President also extolled the Filipino women suffrage champions saying that women in the Philippines got to vote ahead and they also rose to the very top of political and corporate world ahead of women in many parts of the world.

And aside from being champions in the workplace, Filipino women are also champions in the home. "We hold the purse strings, unlike in many other parts of the world," she said. (PIA) [top]

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