Women continue to play ‘minor’ role in politics

AT LEAST 1,600,362, or more than half of the 3,082,620 registered voters in Cebu, as of May 2019, are women, but the local political scene is still dominated by men.

Of the 1,338 candidates who ran in Cebu in the May 13, 2019 elections, only 21 percent, or 282 contenders, were female.

The gubernatorial race was a battle between two women—then congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu, 3rd) and former vice governor Agnes Magpale, both scions of prominent political families. (The third gubernatorial candidate, Roliveth “Klasmit Boyet” Cortes, died in February 2019.) Garcia’s running mate Daphne Salimbangon was up against former governor Hilario Davide III.

Only seven of the 28 contenders for a seat at the House of Representatives were female, while only six of the 26 bets for the Provincial Board (PB) from the seven districts of Cebu Province were female.

Of the 29 city mayoralty bets, only five were female. Of the 24 vice mayoral aspirants, only four were female. Women only accounted for 36 of the 246 contenders for city councilor.

In the municipal level, there were only 22 women out of 104 bets for the mayoralty race, 20 out of 90 vice mayoral aspirants and 179 of the 786 contenders for councilor.

Records from the Commission on Elections official website, though, showed that only 129 out of 282 female candidates in the 51 local government units under Cebu Province and the highly urbanized cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu won in the last polls.

Garcia became the first woman governor to serve four terms following her election.

Her running mate Salimbangon, though, failed to win against now Vice Governor Davide.

There are three female congresswomen in Cebu: Fourth District Rep. Janice Salimbangon (Daphne’s mother), Sixth District Rep. Emmarie Ouano-Dizon and Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza.

At the PB, two female members, Yolanda Daan of the first district and Victoria Corominas-Toribio of the third district, were reelected. They were joined by neophyte legislator Kerrie Keane Shimura of the fourth district.

In the 44 municipalities, eight women won the mayoralty race.

The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter, though, is led by Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, who was unanimously voted by her colleagues.

Frasco, the governor’s daughter, was later elected national LMP vice president for the Visayas. No one challenged her candidacy.

Only eight women serve as town vice mayors.

As for councilors, there are 98 women seated in the towns and component cities of the province.

In Cebu City, there are only two women councilors both coming from the northern district.

Lapu-Lapu City, on the other hand, only has one female councilor out of 12 local legislators. (RTF)