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Philippine Women's Group Gabriela blast President Aquino

A WOMEN'S group on Thursday criticized President Benigno Aquino III for comparing her mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, to Gabriela Silang, the first Filipino woman revolutionary leader.
Joan Mae Salvador, secretary general of the Gabriela National Alliance of Women, made the criticism following the women's month celebration of women entrepreneurs at the Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority in Pasay City.

She said the comparison was not only an insult to their group, which is named after Silang, wife of the Ilocano revolutionary leader Diego Silang, but also to the heroine herself.

She called on women to call for Aquino's resignation for his failure to look after the welfare of women.

"Only someone so out of touch with reality and desperate to raise his plummeting popularity rating could think of something as incredible as likening his mother to Gabriela Silang," Salvador said in a statement.

"The difference between Gabriela and Cory Aquino is as wide as the Pacific Ocean. Cory Aquino may have succeeded in taking up the fight of her husband Ninoy [Benigno Aquino Jr.], but it was never a fight against foreign domination. Cory in fact continued the centuries-old subservience to US economic and political interests, something which his son Noynoy is carrying on up to this very day."

Aquino met with Tesda's women entrepreneurs at the Tesda-Coke Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources program, comparing her mother to Gabriela who, like her husband, fought the Spaniards.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Sunday brushed aside criticisms from the Gabriela Women's Party, saying that instead of maligning President Benigno Aquino III and his mother former President Corazon Aquino, it should instead be mindful of the advancement of women's rights under the current administration.

"I think, masyadong myopic ang pagtingin ng Gabriela considering that they are a women's advocacy group, they should be celebrating what the President has signed, instead of politicizing it," Lacierda said, in reaction to a Gabriela statement hitting Aquino for comparing his mother Cory to revolutionary heroine Gabriela Silang.

"Only someone so out of touch with reality and desperate to raise his plummeting popularity rating could think of something as incredible as likening his mother to Gabriela Silang. The difference between Gabriela and Cory Aquino is as wide as the Pacific Ocean," the women's group said, after Aquino compared his mother to Silang in a speech.

Aquino made the reference after he enacted a law decriminalizing "premature marriage" or a widow remarrying less than a year after her husband's death.

Gabriela party-list Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, were the main proponents of the measure in the House. They said "premature marriage" discriminates against women and is outdated.

Lacierda further defended Aquino's statements, saying the president's mother contributed greatly in lifting the country from Martial Law.

"Filipino heroines that have marched through history have all shown the strength of the Filipino womanhood. Let us not take away the fact that in recent memory, President Cory Aquino has done so much for our county, and it has been acknowledged by international world leaders. So, I think Gabriela should expand its myopic vision and stop finding any nit to just criticize this administration," Lacierda said in a radio interview aired over state-run DZRB.

"This is for women's rights. What the President signed is an important step in removing some of the prejudices against women. Ano ang mali doon?" Lacierda added.