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PIA Press Release

Commentary: PGMA tells of RP's women empowerment

Cebu, Philippines (1 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tells of the Philippines' experience on women empowerment as she capped her New York visit with an early meeting with the Women Leaders' Working Group led by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Empire Suite of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Women in the Philippines have been enjoying the right of suffrage for the past 70 years via the Women's Suffrage Act in 1937, ahead of many other nations in the world, President Arroyo told some 50 women leaders attending the group's 3rd meeting recently in New York .

Arroyo proudly told the group that she is the 2nd female president of the Philippines and that there were other Filipino women having occupied high positions early on in Philippine society and "we are justifiably proud of this tradition," she beamed.

According to Press secretary Ignacio Bunye, the President acknowledged Lilian Hefti, the latest woman head of the country's Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR) that turned the tide against revenue shortfalls at mid-year this year.

Bunye added that she also cited country's strong laws protecting women, like the laws on anti-trafficking, anti-domestic violence, and anti-sexual harassment.

President Arroyo also stressed that the Philippines is broadening its health care program through intensifying micro finance to increase women's opportunities for self-development. "Our Philippine plan for gender-responsive development recognizes women in peace-building efforts."

She then cited two US-assisted projects in Mindanao, one of which focuses on conflict prevention in the Mindanao island of Sulu through skills training, networking and economic development while other US-assisted project empowers women in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by providing them with training and technical assistance on livelihood, financial management, and marketing skills, as well as seed loans or grants for their livelihood projects.

The President's Filipina-friendly report is seconded by the 2006 Global Gender Gap Report which ranked the Philippines No. 6 out of 115 countries in terms of gender equality. The report was released by the Women Leaders' Program of the World Economic Forum. (PIA-Cebu/MBCN) [top]

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