LAGAWE, Ifugao – Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat has urged Congress to immediately deliberate on and pass a slew of bills that are aimed at upholding and protecting the rights of women.
Baguilat said his bill seeking to extend the maternity leave of female employees in the government and private sector to 100 days from the current 60/78 days had already passed the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, but has yet to be taken up in the plenary.
“The authors including our Chair Emeline Aglipay-Villar believe that a 100-day leave is justified to optimize care by the mother of her baby,” Baguilat said.
Citing Public Health Reports, Baguilat said in the bill that an increase in the length of paid maternity leave can reduce infant mortality by as much as 10 percent and goes a long way in strengthening family ties.
“We have to do what we can to ensure the health of mothers and infants and promote child rearing, given that the family is the basic unit of our society. To strengthen the family is to ultimately strengthen our country,” Baguilat had said.
He also cited the need to pass the anti-discrimination bill to guarantee equal rights for the LGBT community and the proposed amendments to the anti-rape bill.
Baguilat listed other bills like amendments to marital infidelity and anti-prostitution laws that had passed committee levels in previous Congresses but also did not make it to the plenary for deliberations.
“Congress in the past has not been accommodating of pro-women’s rights bills. We hope that the Committee on Rules in the current 17th Congress will not hold these pro-women’s bills hostage,” said Baguilat.
Recently, the Priority Legislative Agenda for Women was presented and Baguilat is one of the champions, and has encouraged both men and women to take a firm stand for women’ rights.
“We all have to contribute to maximizing women’s potential and guaranteeing equal protection under the law,” he said, “Men and women are equal partners in economic and social development.”/PIA/Congressional Office