Grace Poe to Filipino women: Be financially independent


MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe – one of only two women candidates vying for the highest office in the land – urged Filipino women to be financially independent from their husbands.

"Iba pa rin 'pag may sarili kang pera, iba pa rin kung ikaw ang nagtatrabaho…. Hindi p'wedeng ipanakot sa iyo na saan ka na lang pupulutin kung malasin ang pagsasama ninyong mag-asawa – mga babaeng nagtitiis sa pagsasama dahil nakadepende sa kanilang asawa," Poe said during the 8th GoNegosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit held on Thursday, February 18, at the World Trade Center.

(It's still different if you have your own money, it's still different if you're the one working.... Others can't threaten you and say you'd end up nowhere if your marriage with your husband does not work out – this is for wives who suffer in silence because they are dependent on their husbands.)

If women, especially single mothers, are financially independent, Poe said they would not have to "beg" the fathers of their children for support.

"Sa mga single mothers, di nila kailangang manlimos ng suporta sa mga ama ng kanilang anak, dahil kaya nilang panindigan ang pagsuporta sa mga pangangailangan nito," she said.

(Single mothers don't have to beg for support from the fathers of their children, because they can very well support their needs.)

On Thursday, the presidential candidate said there is a need to empower Filipino women, especially mothers who juggle their responsibilities at home and work.

"Importante na magkaroon tayo ng TESDA women's centers across the nation, with courses that will be tailor-fit according to which thriving regional industries the local women will best work for. Importante rin na magkaroon ng public-private partnerships sa pagpapalakas ng women entrepreneurs," Poe explained.

(It is important to establish TESDA women's centers across the nation, with courses that will be tailor-fit according to which thriving regional industries the local women will best work for. It is also important to have public-private partnerships that will empower women entrepreneurs.)

She also lauded the strength of a Filipina, and cited as example a few of those in government: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and fellow senators Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, and Miriam Defensor Santiago (another presidential candidate).

"Marami pang p'westo sa gobyerno kung saan kailangan ng tapang, galing, at malasakit [ng] babae," she added. (Many other positions in government need the courage, ability, and the empathy of a woman.)

Strengthening MSMEs

Poe's audience on Thursday comprised of entrepreneurs and students from different schools. In her speech, she laid out her plan to strengthen the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), giving them better access to financial mechanisms and better opportunities to compete in foreign markets.

She proposed lowering taxes for MSMEs, amending the Anti-Red Tape Act to shorten the process of establishing a business, and strengthening the country's agro-industrial and tourism zones.

Poe also briefly talked about fighting corruption, passing the Freedom of Information bill, maintaining peace and order, making tertiary education affordable, and making Internet connection faster.

She also took a jab at the government's underspending, which she said amounts to almost P700 billion.

"Kung nilaan nila 'yun sa mga tamang proyekto, marami na tayong natatamasang mga development ngayon," she added. (If only they spent that on the right projects, we would already be enjoying much development today)

Underspending was the same criticism that another presidential candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, aired against the Aquino government. On Wednesday in Pangasinan, he said: "Matatapos ang administrasyong na ito, sasabihin niya (President Aquino), 'Ang savings po ganito.' Wow, when you are given a budget, you are supposed to spend that!"

(At the end of this administration [Aquino] will say, "This is our savings." Wow, when you are given a budget, you are supposed to spend that!)

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.