Senator Poe urges parties to “level up” campaign standards

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 03 October) – The lone woman Presidential aspirant and incumbent senator Grace Poe is urging political parties to raise the level of campaign standards and ensure respect for women and other sectors.

Poe, who visited this city Friday to meet with political and religious leaders, gave this response to a question on the controversial October 1 party of Laguna Rep. Benjie Agarao and oath-taking of Laguna members of the administration’s Liberal Party where three dancers in skimpy outfits performed lewd scenes on stage.

“Poor taste and uncalled for,” said Poe, who served as chair of the Movie Televisioon Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) before running for the Senate in 2013.

She said one of her advocacies as MTRCB chair was to ensure movies, television and stage shows do not depict women as sex objects and objects of ridicule.

“We should raise the level of political activities and not use women as sex objects,” Poe told reporters, adding political events usually have children and minors among the audience.

“I am the former MTRCB chair, protection and promotion of women were my priorities in movies, TV shows and any stage performance,” she stressed.

Like Poe, LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas also said the level of standards during campaigns should be raised to ensure respect for women and other sectors.

In a statement on October 2, Roxas said: “Naniniwala akong may sapat na talino ang publiko upang tumutok sa makabuluhang diskurso ukol sa mga isyu at pagkatao ng mga kandidato. I remind those who stand with us on the Daang Matuwid: Iwaksi natin ang ganitong klaseng mga gimik, lalo pa’t nakakabastos ito, at walang naitutulong sa pagtataas ng antas ng pampublikong diskurso,” (I believe the public is intelligent enough to engage in a meaningful discourse on issues and personalities of candidates. I remind those who stand with us on the straight path: let us do away with these kinds of gimmicks, especially if it disrespects others and do not help in raising the standards of political discourse).

Roxas said the incidente happened when he had left the place.

In a press release, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus expressed rage over the commodification of women in the Laguna party.

“We cannot simply dismiss this incident. LP was obviously taking cues from a rotten system of politics that the ruling classes maintain,” De Jesus, who plans to file a resolution to investigate violations of RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, said.

“The Gabriela Women’s Party asserts the need of strengthening the advocacy for politics of change in contrast to the moribund politics that uses and abuses women in aid of political ambitions. ” the press release said.

In a statement, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) said that while the personalities involved reasoned out that it was not part of the official function of the LP, “we cannot discount that the dance performance itself is an act of objectifying women’s bodies. Granting that it was not part of the party’s official function, we find it appalling that there were no reports of any action taken by LP leaders and members who were present in the event to stop the show.” (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)