Women Councilors Block Move to Laud Davaoea Beauty Queen

Mar. 10, 2006

By Cheryll D. Fiel

DAVAO CITY (March 8, 2006) — Two women legislators blocked on Wednesday a proposal for the City Council to pass a resolution congratulating Lian Andrea Ramos, the Davaoea who won the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title last week.

Lian Andrea Ramos (PHOTO BY REUTERSCouncilor Angela Librado, who heads the Committee on Women and Children at the City Council, and Councilor Suzabel Reta, chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, convinced their colleagues to shelve the idea, which they deem offensive to women, particularly during the celebration today of the International Womens day.

“I don’t like the idea,” said Reta in a televised interview Wednesday.

The resolution was proposed by Councilor Leo Avila during a City Council the day before International Women’s Day.

Ramos, who was educated at the Ateneo de Davao University, was reported to have been invited to grace the Araw ng Dabaw celebration on March 16. Librado said she would be willing discuss her views with Ramos if given the opportunity during the beauty queens visit.

Librado said that while Ramos should be commended for her achievements, the City Council should not be the one to do it, especially since the local legislature has been recognized for its passage of the first ever Women Development Code in the country. The code promotes the rights of women and opposes what the councilors call the “commodification of women.”

Recently, Librado, one of the staunchest women activists in the city, opposed the holding of beauty pageants in the city, saying that these events commodify women and distort the publics view of womanhood.

Meanwhile, women’s groups in the city held a series of activities this week for the commemoration of International Womens Day, one of them a summit last Monday where around 500 women discussed resolutions on issues hounding Davaos women.

During the summit, Librado, in her presentation, criticized the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the conditions, mainly brought about by a poor economy, that afflict women, such as their failure to afford basic health and social services for their children, domestic violence caused by the poor implementation of laws, and what Librado called womens undermined roles in politics and governance.

Trinidad, in an interview with davaotoday.com, said it is important that the crisis in the country’s economy and politics be resolved first to pave the way for genuine improvement of the lives of women.

Trinidad said the current political crisis, in which Arroyo has been battling allegations of election fraud, called for “more vigilance, for women to act collectively and act publicly, if possible being at the forefront.”

Trinidad cited the case of Gabriela partylist representative Liza Masa, who, among with five of her colleagues in the Left, is effectively under arreset. Librado said she believed Mazas plight will “inspire more women to struggle more for their rights.” (Cheryll D. Fiel/ davaotoday.com)

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