Samira Gutoc Wants to Champion 'Bakwit' Cause in the Senate

'Readiness is always vital,' the senatorial aspirant said.
Photo/s: Facebook/Samira Gutoc

Owing to her experience dealing with crises in Mindanao, senatorial aspirant Samira Gutoc on Monday said she would push for bills catering to bakwits or individuals displaced by conflict if she wins a seat in the Senate in the 2022 elections.

Gutoc, a civic leader from Marawi who is running her second campaign, said one of the biggest lessons she learned from the pandemic and from witnessing the tragedy during the Marawi siege first hand is that "readiness is always vital."

"Because that is my lesson sa crisis, sa pandemic, I would want the displacement bill, which covers a recovery plan, how to protect the vulnerable sectors, the women and all these sectors in need," she told CNN Philippines in an interview.

According to Gutoc, her proposed bill for displaced individuals will lay down the framework on how to assist and give protection to those who were forced out of their homes due to violence and conflict.

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"Displaced persons bill is something very specific to me," she added.

Gutoc previously ran for the Senate in 2019 under the Otso Diresto slate, but failed to make the cut.

Before joining the 2019 polls, Gutoc made headlines for her emotional plea before Congress as it deliberated on the extension of martial law in Mindanao following the Marawi siege. She called on lawmakers to listen to the plight of internally displaced individuals.

Apart from a bill catering to displaced persons, Gutoc said she would also support an anti-discrimination measure as she recalled her experience being discriminated against when she applied for a job.

"Alam ko how it is for any person, LGBT man siya o hindi. Sana mga Muslims, they would understand that we are waiting for recognition of a national polity of 70 million if not 60 million and there are things that I would really have to reach out to," she said.

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Gutoc recognized that it would still be an uphill battle for her even as it's her second time to run for senator.

"There would be more places to cover because there are more male candidates. But you know God has his ways. Harder but more acceptable in a way na kaya," she said.

Gutoc, who filed her certificate of candidacy for senator on Sunday, is running under the slate of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. She previously joined the mayor's Aksyon Demokratiko party as part of its national executive board.

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