Editor's note: As we begin our countdown to the May 9 election, we put a spotlight on the three women, all mothers, running in the presidential and vice presidential election, and their stand on issues close to a parent's heart. Read Congresswoman Leni Robredo here and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago here.
Although not the lone female in the presidential race (she shares that honor with her fellow Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago), Grace Poe is the virtual underdog of the presidential race. She has been in public office for only three years, having won her senatorial seat in 2013. This lack of experience has been the main focus of her critics, citing her inexperience as a legislator could very well be her weakness in her bid to assume the highest executive post in the land.
Last year, Grace Poe endured questions about the the issue of her citizenship. Her political rivals have gone the distance in their fight to have her disqualified from the presidential race, claiming that her American citizenship bars her from running for president. The Supreme Court ruled in her favor. On same-sex marriage "We have to be able to include in our laws 'unions.' Maybe not exactly marriages but to be able to recognize the rights of partners…Maybe that can be done by mere administrative fiat.” (msn.com)
On divorce “I welcome the move by some sectors to push for the divorce bill. But before talking about divorce, there are other family-related issues that should simultaneously be discussed. Why push for divorce if we can still introduce amendments to what we have right now on marriage? Our current Family Code today implies that marriage has both unitive and procreative worth. The provisions on declaration of nullity, annulment and legal separation were included there to highlight that our Philippine laws are oriented toward strengthening marriage rather than its dissolution.” (filipinofreethinkers.org) On cybercrime “The Anti-Cybercrime Law should be amended. I am against some of the provisions in the anti-Cybercrime law that go against our essential freedoms. I am bothered by the cyberlibel and take-down clause and very much concerned with how government will use these on circumstances that are still beyond the ken of current Philippine laws… I realize, however, that the Anti-Cybercrime Law has good intentions: it can be used by our citizens and other entities to protect themselves, and their interests, in cyberspace—against identify theft, hacking, cybersex, etc. But good intentions can not be used to justify the possible suppression of free speech.” (filipinofreethinkers.org)
On reproductive health “[The RH law] is a good progress in our struggle to address the high prevalence of maternal deaths in the country. I believe, however, that the RH law can still be strengthened by introducing new provisions that would allow Filipino couples to receive financial assistance in their efforts to conceive a child. The concept of ‘reproductive health’ should also include couples who are having difficulties conceiving a child naturally.” (filipinofreethinkers.org)
On Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) "I am [filing this CNSP bill] no longer for myself but for the thousands of children who were abandoned, who might grow up never knowing their biological parents and whose dreams and aspirations may be limited because of their status…As a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, CNSP are in greater need of the State’s protective arm. The non-registration of their births makes them more invisible to the State’s developmental radar that could otherwise include them in priority programs on health, nutrition, education and protections… An unregistered child not only will have diminished access to medical, educational, and social benefits provided by the State; he/she is likewise susceptible to the abuses on account of minority such as commercial and sexual exploitation, abuse, and human trafficking.” (interaksyon.com)
On income tax reduction “This is one of the things that I advocated. In fact, when I announced my candidacy… I feel this will benefit a lot of our contrymen. We’re one of the highest-taxed countries in Asia, and in fact the government has unspent about P600B since 2011. Reducing taxes would only take away P20B. Therefore, I don’t think any programs in government will be cut because of this.” (rappler.com) On education “Siguro nothing political, but I would like to tell you I sympathize with all of your needs, particularly to be able to continue to afford quality education, so that we are pushing for the continued 'study now pay later.' We should have paid internship program in the government, and, third, aside from the traffic congestion in Cebu or Metro Manila, I’m talking about Internet congestion.” (rappler.com) On improving the traffic situation "I will guarantee to you that if I become president, I think we can help ease the traffic at least within a year… Just add the necessary number of trains. Start finishing the lines that are already supposed to be done. Enforcing the rules, making sure that there's a proper drop-off for provincial buses outside of Metro Manila. It can ease traffic.” (cnnphilippines.com) On delivering high-speed Internet "'Di ito dapat kasing-bagal ng mga sasakyan sa EDSA… Kung di kaya ng pribadong sektor, isusulong ko ang isang government-supported industrialization at IT plan para makalikha ng industriya.” (newsbytes.ph)
On the death penalty “Sanctioning capital punishment is equivalent to allowing the state to be an instrument of death rather than an entity that promotes life in our society. Instead of death penalty, what the government can do to curb criminality today is to reform the criminal justice system.” (filipinofreethinkers.org) On Freedom of Information bill "In the first 100 days in office, we would prompt Congress for bills to be passed with dispatch. First is the freedom of information bill, which I have sponsored and debated on in the Senate.” (inquirer.net)
“The absence of an FOI law makes it hard for the government to be transparent, [in which] the environment for corruption will still be present. [It also] undermines the ability of people to engage their government (e.g. making informed choices during elections, making critical statements about a policy)… An FOI law can be used by government to institutionalize a more systematic gathering, management, and utilization of all data in its offices.” (filipinofreethinkers.org)
On territorial dispute “Kung kinakailangan, bilang isang pangulo, ay katukin ko ang pinto ng bawa't bansa para tayuan nila ang kasunduan dito sa UNCLOS ay gagawin ko… Meron tayong Visiting Forces Agreement. Meron tayong kasunduan sa ibang bansa kung paano tayo dedepensahan.” (rappler.com) On Martial Law "We thought that [society] was always like that, that you are not free to share your views, that you can’t be sure you would be allowed to roam around at night… For our students, when they say that it was peaceful and quiet, we should think about why there was peace and quiet. Were our rights diminished, which was why we were quiet, or was it because there was real protection for us?” (inquirer.net)
“Importante sa mga kabataan ay ganito: Alam ko minsan boring ang history books, pero meron namang mga online na documentary na mga interesting na mga nangyayari noong mga nakaraan. Maraming nangyari sa ating kasaysayan na dapat wag nating kalimutan.” (gmanetwork.com)
On women empowerment "Sa Gobyernong may puso, hindi maiiwanan ang mga kababaihan. We affirm our full faith in women’s power and potential to be active agents of change, charting a bright future for themselves, their communities, and society in general, and in developing our national identity and heritage. Gender equality is a critical driver of development. When women are empowered, they fully realize their potential and become significant partners and voices in achieving inclusive growth and development.” (gracepoe.ph)