What Risa Hontiveros learned from her 2010 defeat

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Risa Hontiveros

For Risa Hontiveros, 2013 is a year of trying again at that elusive Senate seat, following her defeat in the 2010 National elections.

“I learned a couple of lessons,” Hontiveros explains, as she narrates the lessons she learned the hard way.

Now Risa believes it's never too early to prepare. Recalling that back in 2010 she decided to run for senator late in the game, for this polls she filed her certificate of candidacy earlier.

The second lesson is related to the first.  “I learned to work harder (at the campaign),”  Hontivers adds.

Lesson number three is that running for public office is “an uphill battle.”

Hontiveros admits she doesn’t have a familiar surname that would have helped her in entering politics. Her family is steeped in the arts (she is related to National Artist for  Theater Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana).  And the last family member to get elected into public office was her grandfather who became provincial governor of Capiz even before she was born.

But she has big dreams, especially in restoring the old glory of the Senate, after that issue about ‘Christmas gifts’ dragged the institution’s reputation down.

“Senate funds should be audited,” Hontiveros said.  She’s also for stamping out corruption and upholding Pres. Aquino’s “matuwid na daan.”

Hontiveros vows to champion civil and political rights, like freedom of the press,  freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully assemble to air grievances.

And this time, the mother of four won’t be content in emerging number 13 or below.

The story of her 'alampay'

Hontiveros is known as the lady with the alampay, which she wears with formal gowns and casual dresses so often it has become a fashion statement.

But the truth is, the colorful hand-woven piece of cloth she drapes over her dainty shoulders is more than just a fashion statement. It’s a symbol of her signature cause: women empowerment.

Hontiveros admits keeping a lot of alampay  -- many of them gifts from friends near and far.  She matches the color of her alampay with her advocacy for the day.  If she’s rooting for the environment, for instance, Risa will come in a green alampay.

But her all-time favorite alampay? The indigo shawl.

“It’s the global color of women empowerment around the world,” she told reporters.

She also lobbied for better opportunities for women  in education, employment and health care.   Risa pushed the Anti-Prostitution Bill, the Gender Balance Bill and lately, the Reproductive Health of RH Bill.

You think someone so keen on women’s rights will scoff at beauty contests? Not Risa. They also empower women and bring out the best in them, she reasons out.

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