Risa Hontiveros is an incumbent senator who has served in Congress for more than 11 years. In that time, she authored several landmark laws on mental health, healthcare, women, children, and persons with disability.
She is also a main proponent of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill which has been stalled at the Senate level for years due to opposition from conservative lawmakers.
Risa Hontiveros launched two failed bids for the Senate in 2010 and 2013 before she finally managed to clinch a seat in 2016 as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party-led Daang Matuwid coalition.
She previously served as Akbayan representative in the lower house from 2004 to 2010 and as a director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. from 2014 to 2015.
Before she was a legislator, Hontiveros worked as a neighborhood organizer, peace advocate and award-winning broadcast journalist. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 along with 1,000 other women for her work as a member of the Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front.
Risa Hontiveros is campaigning on the platform “Healthy Buhay and Hanapbuhay,” vowing to pass more laws that will elevate Filipinos’ quality of life.
She is running under the Senate slate of Vice President Leni Robredo and has been endorsed by opposition coalition 1Sambayan.
She favors legalizing divorce, decriminalizing abortion, shifting to a federal system of government that is appropriate for the Philippines, requiring officials to disclose their wealth declarations to public, renewing ABS-CBN’s franchise, penalizing political turncoats, and banning endo contractualization. She opposes reinstating the death penalty.
“Hindi lang dapat healthy ang katawan at isipan kapag nakikipagbakbakan sa loob at labas ng bahay. Dapat healthy ang bulsa, ang pagkain, ang hanapbuhay, at ang pamayanan. Kaya naman nais ko sanang ituloy ang mga nasimulan natin noong 2016, mga bagay na pinangako at siyempre tinupad.”
ANA THERESIA “RISA” NAVARRO HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL
Full Name: Ana Theresia Navarro Hontiveros Baraquel
Birthday: February 24, 1966 (Age 57)
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Languages Spoken: Filipino; English
– Ramon Hontiveros, Father
– Pia Hontiveros, CNN Philippines chief correspondent
Spouse: Francisco Baraquel Jr. (died 2005)
– Ianna Baraquel
– Issa Baraquel
– Kiko Baraquel
– Sinta Baraquel
- Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Ateneo de Manila University (1987)
- Senator, Philippine Senate, 2016-present
- Member of the Board of Directors, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., 2014-2015
- Akbayan Representative, 13th Congress, 2004-2007
- Akbayan Representative, 14th Congress, 2007-2010
- Member, Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front, 1998-1999
- Member, Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front, 2001-2004
- Secretary-general, Coalition for Peace, 1988-992
- Community organizer, Foundation for Development Alternatives, 1987-988
Risa Hontiveros filed nearly 250 bills during her first term as senator. Among the 17 laws that she authored are the Mental Health Act, the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Safe Spaces Act and the Universal Healthcare Act
Two laws she principally sponsored, R.A. No. 11148 and R.A. No. 11228, scale up nutrition intervention programs in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and mandate PhilHealth coverage for all persons with disability, respectively.
She was one of two members of the Senate to vote against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, Hontiveros led a legislative probe on alleged corruption in the Bureau of Immigration which led to the preventative suspension of several officials. The same investigation linked BI officials behind the bribery scheme, also known as the “pastillas” scam, to the outbound trafficking of Filipino women.
In response to the probe’s findings, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed in 2020 that he dismissed the immigration officials tagged in the alleged bribery schemes. However, he actually allowed them to return to work once their preventive suspensions lapsed.
In the House of Representatives, Hontiveros filed 134 bills, six of which contributed to the passage of laws that include the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Law and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension.
Hontiveros has also played a big role in several other legislative investigations, including the probes on the killing of Kian de los Santos and the government’s anomalous deals with its favored pandemic supplier Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Two cases have been filed against Hontiveros by allies of the Duterte administration in connection with the probes.
The first was filed in 2017 by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who claimed that Hontiveros wiretapped him by reading his text messages in a photo of him taken by media during a Senate hearing on Delos Santos, a 17-year-old killed by police during an anti-drug operation. In the text messages, Aguirre appeared to be urging Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras to expedite legal action against Hontiveros.
Another case was filed against Hontiveros by a Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. employee who claimed that Hontiveros bribed one of his colleagues to testify that the firm instructed employees to repackage substandard and expired medical-grade face shields.
However, the same testimony was confirmed by Pharmally officer Krizle Grace Mago shortly after a video recording of it was played at a Senate blue ribbon panel hearing. Mago even went so far as to say that she believed Pharmally was swindling the government by tampering with the face shields.
Both Mago and the witness presented by Hontiveros have since disavowed their own statements that were given under oath. Senators, including Hontiveros, have dismissed the Pharmally employees’ claims that they were pressured to give such testimonies. Mago reversed her own testimony after becoming unreachable to the Senate, which offered her protection following her startling admission, and resurfacing under the protective custody of the House of Representatives.
Senate President Vicente Sotto at the time emphasized that admissions under oath carry more weight than subsequent denials of the same. Hontiveros similarly noted that both testimonies are part of the Senate record regardless of attempts to discredit them.
Hontiveros and other opposition senators have condemned the cases filed against her as retaliatory moves from administration allies.
Before she was a legislator, Hontiveros worked as a neighborhood organizer, peace advocate and award-winning broadcast journalist.
BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS
- RA 10932: Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
- RA 11036: Mental Health Act
- RA 11054: Organic Law for the BARMM
- RA 11148: Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
- RA 11166: Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act
- RA 11188: Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act
- RA 11203: Liberalizing the iImportation, exportation and trading of rice, lifting for the purpose the quantitative import restriction on rice
- RA 11210: Expanded Maternity Leave Act
- RA 11222: Simulated Birth Rectification Act
- RA 11223: Universal Health Care Act
- RA 11228: Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All Persons with Disability
- RA 11229: Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act
- RA 11262: Amending Sec. 85 and 103 of Tourism Act
- RA 11310: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act
- RA 11313: Safe Spaces Act
- RA 11332: Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act
- RA 11502: National Cooperative Month
- RA 11535: Making the position of a cooperatives development officer mandatory in the municipal, city and provincial levels
- RA 11648: Raising the Age of Sexual Consent Act
- RA 11201: Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act
- RA 11215: National Integrated Cancer Control Act
- RA 11232: Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
- RA 11249: Speech Language Pathology Act
- RA 11314: Student Fare Discount Act
- RA 11459: Judges-at-Large Act
- RA 11470: The National Academy of Sports
- RA 11476: GMRC and Value Education Act
- RA 11510: Alternative Learning System Act
- RA 11511: Amending the Organic Agriculture Act
- RA 11524: Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act
- RA 11525: COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act
- RA 11551: Labor Education Act
- RA 11572: Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute Act
- RA 11593: Resetting the First Regular Elections in BARMM
- RA 9497: Civil Aviation Authority Act
- RA 9500: The University of the Philippines Charter
- RA 9502: Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act
- RA 9505: Personal Equity and Retirement Account Act
- RA 9513: Renewable Energy Act
- RA 9711: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act
- RA 9729: Climate Change Act
- RA 9344: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act
- RA 9346: Prohibiting the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines
- RA 9369: Amendments to the automated election system
- RA 9397: Amending Sec. 12 of Urban Development and Housing Act
- RA 9422: Amending the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act
- RA 9496: Amending the Agricultural Tariffication Act
- RA 9515: Defining the liability of ship agents in the tramp service
- RA 9700: Comprehensive agrarian reform program extension with reforms
- RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women
- RA 9745: Anti-Torture Act
- RA 10000: Agri-Agra Reform Credit
Senator Risa Hontiveros is a health and women’s rights advocate, a proud activist, and a champion of the basic sectors. She is the Philippines’ first socialist woman Senator.
Senator Risa is a proud member of the Akbayan Party and is its current National Chairperson. She has been fighting the good fight from an early age. When she was in high school at Saint Scholastica’s College Manila, she organized a student group that campaigned against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. In college, she fought for peace and social justice as a student council leader. In 2001, Hontiveros received the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Peace Advocacy for her work in the peace talks with the national Democratic Front (NDF). Four years later in 2005, she was one of 27 Filipinas that joined a group of 1,000 women worldwide who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Senator Hontiveros also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). She pushed for expanded benefits and coverage, specifically for indigents and senior citizens.
She currently serves in the 18th Congress as the Chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, and Family Relations, which was also the committee she headed in the 17th Congress. She was also the Chairperson of the Committee on Health for the 17th Congress, and later became its Vice Chairperson.
Senator Hontiveros continues to push for legislation which fights social injustice, inequality, and the struggle for stronger gender rights for all. As part of her flagship measures for the new Congress, she recently re-filed the SOGIE Equality Bill which affirms and protects the rights of members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination, and the Divorce Bill.
She also re-filed a measure to strengthen the Anti-Hospital Detention Law. Her other filed measures are The Universal Social Pension for Senior Citizens Bill, The Girls not Brides Bill, the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy Bill, the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Bill, a bill to raise the age of sexual consent in the country, the On-Site, In-City, Near City Resettlement Program Bill, and a bill for the creation of a Department of Ocean, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Other bills include the Magna Carta for Seafarers, the Bibong Barangay Health Workers Bill, which seeks to provide a fixed allowance as well as statutory benefits for all barangay health workers. She also filed the Students Rights and Welfare Bill, the National Land Use Management Act, the Anti-Elder Abuse Act, and the Public Health Intervention for Drug Use Act.
In her first term as senator, Senator Risa has passed 13 laws: the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Law, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Universal Healthcare Law, the Philippine HIV & AIDS Policy Law, the amended Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities which provides mandatory Philhealth coverage for all PWD’s, the Philippine Mental Health Law, the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Law, the First 1,000 Days law or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng mga Nanay Law, the Speech Pathology Law, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Law, and the Simulated Birth Rectification Law.
The Mental Health Law is the Philippines’ first true national policy on mental health, while the Expanded Maternity Leave Law places the Philippines at par with international standards for both maternal and infant care. Risa has also strengthened legislation against sexual harassment through the Safe Spaces Act, which penalizes wolf-whistling, catcalling, flashing, groping, and other forms of street harassment.
Before her time in the Senate, Risa was a two-term partylist congressional representative. She worked for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law together with civil society groups and fellow advocates, a landmark measure which provides women and families access to reproductive health and modern family planning services. She was also one of the principal authors of the Cheaper Medicines Law, and one of the key sponsors of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reform (CARPER) Law.
Risa Hontiveros graduated Cum Laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. Before she was a lawmaker, she was a community organizer and peace advocate. She was also a successful television journalist and news anchor. In her private life, she is a solo mother to four children and shares with them her love of music, culture, and the arts.