Hontiveros in 2016
|Senator of the Philippines|
June 30, 2016
|Chair of the Philippine Senate
Women, Family Relations
and Gender Equality Committee
July 25, 2016
|Preceded by||Pia Cayetano|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate
Health and Demography Committee
July 25, 2016 – February 27, 2017
|Preceded by||Teofisto Guingona III|
|Succeeded by||JV Ejercito|
|Member of the Philippine House of Representatives for Akbayan|
June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2010
|Born||Ana Theresia Navarro Hontiveros
February 24, 1966
|Political party||Akbayan Citizens' Action Party (2004–present)|
Team PNoy (2013)
Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid (2016)
|Spouse(s)||Francisco Baraquel, Jr. (m. 1990; d. 2005)|
|Alma mater||Ateneo de Manila University (A.B.)|
|Occupation||Activist & politician|
Ana Theresia "Risa" Navarro Hontiveros-Baraquel (born February 24, 1966) is a Filipino socialist activist, politician, and journalist who was the representative of Akbayan in the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 2004 to 2010. She currently serves as a Senator of the Philippines after a victory in the 2016 elections, placing ninth, overall. She is the older sister of journalists and television hosts Ginggay and Pia Hontiveros.
Hontiveros was born on February 24, 1966 in Manila. At age 14, she was part of the Von Trapp children in the Repertory Philippines' adaptation of The Sound Of Music, alongside Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson and Raymond Lauchengco during her childhood. It was also during this period when she was first introduced to activist work as an organizer in the campaign against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in her high school. Hontiveros graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences from the Ateneo de Manila University. While at Ateneo, she was active in the student council, where she participated in advocacies for peace and justice in marginalized communities.
She was also a television journalist and news anchor who having worked for two television networks in the country, IBC (Headline Trese) and GMA Network (GMA Network News). In Hontiveros' career as an activist, she has been affiliated with a number of organizations and movements: Coalition for Peace (served as Secretary-General from 1988 to 1992), National Peace Conference (serving on its Governing Council since 1990), Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front (chairing the Panel's Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms from August 1998 to June 1999), Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (Pandayan/Forge for a Socialist Philippines), a democratic socialist political organization (re-elected as Chairperson in August 2001), Pilipina, a socialist feminist organization, Amnesty International Pilipinas (member of the Board of Directors), Institute for Politics and Governance.
Hontiveros first entered politics as the third nominee of Akbayan Party-list in the 2004 national elections. She is one of the prominent opposition figures of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, especially during the height of the Hello Garci controversy of 2005. In the International Women's Day of 2006, she was arrested and brought to Camp Caringal in Quezon City without warrant despite the peaceful nature of the assembly marking the global event. Hontiveros eventually became Akbayan's first nominee in the 2007 Midterm Elections. She was a member of the House Minority as well as the following Committees in the 14th Congress: Appropriations, Ethics and Privileges, Foreign Affairs, Good Government and Public Accountability, Health, Higher and Technical Education, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, People Participation, Rules, Trade and Industry, Women and Gender Equality.
Successful pieces of legislation that were crafted and filed by Hontiveros in Congress include the Cheaper Medicines Law that lowers the cost of essential medicines by allowing parallel importation and compulsory licensing, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law that extends the old CARP Law as well as provides a program better suited to the needs of the farmers and the agrarian reform beneficiaries. Hontiveros’s legislative track record also include, among others, the Anti-Prostitution Bill that aims to look at prostitution as a symptom of inequitable and exploitative social structures and prostitutes, the Gender Balance Bill that aims to ensure women’s representation in all structures of governance, and the Students' Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill that aims to promote and protect students' liberties at all levels and in both public and private schools.
Running under the ticket of then-Senator Benigno Aquino III, Hontiveros placed 13th overall in the senatorial race – almost making it to the top 12 in the 2010 national elections. Following her graceful defeat in the elections, she remained active in numerous issues concerning the marginalized and the abuses of the previous administration. She became a prominent figure alongside Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Pia Cayetano in the nationwide campaign for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, which she co-authored during her stint in Congress.
Running under the Team PNoy ticket, Hontiveros ran again for a Senate seat in the 2013 midterm election. However, she lost for the second time, placing 17th in the Senate race. Her campaign slogan was 'Paglalaban ka, aalagaan ka,' which reflected the gains from the enactment of the RH Law and the continuing struggle for universal health care and good governance. In the aftermath, Hontiveros acknowledged Senator Osmena's observation of her mixed messages in the campaign may have been the reason for her loss.
Hontiveros ran again for Senator and won in the 2016 election under the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid of President Benigno Aquino III. Landing 9th place, she was proclaimed a Senator-elect by the Philippine Commission on Elections, sitting en banc as National Board of Canvassers, on May 19, 2016. Her platform is activism for equality and justice for all. Her focus legislation covers health, women's rights, LGBT rights, children's rights, environment, fishermen's rights, farmers' rights, government reforms, positive activism, and students' rights.
Hontiveros is part of the coalition of congresspersons and senators that filed Senate Bill No. 935 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill, which has been neglected in Congress for more than 16 years. In 2017, she vowed to prioritize bills on longer maternity leave and anti-hospital deposit, while continuing to pursue the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
Hontiveros authored Senate Bill No. 1345, or the Philippine Mental Health Bill, which aims to create a mental health law for the Philippines by integrating mental health care services and programs into the nation's public health system and ensuring its availability in all hospitals nationwide. The bill was filed on February 17, 2017, and passed the Senate on May 2.
On July 22, 2017, during the special joint session of the Congress for the extension of martial law in Mindanao, Hontiveros was among the four senators who voted against the motion. She contended that there are other existing laws that can help government forces fight against the Maute terrorists. She added: "I cannot trust a government that has played God with the lives of 8,000 to 12,000 Filipinos to wield martial law judiciously".
Hontiveros was principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 10932, or the "Act strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law", which increases the penalties for hospitals that demand deposits or advance payments before administering basic emergency services.
Hontiveros's husband, Francisco Baraquel, Jr., died in May 2005 after suffering from a heart attack due to severe asthma. They have four children together. Her nephew, Luis Hontiveros, was a housemate on the regular edition of Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7.
Having served as a journalist for ten years before venturing into politics, Hontiveros is a recipient of the Kapisanan ng Mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas' Golden Dove Award for Best Female Newscaster. Because of her work in the peace talks with the National Democratic Front, she also received the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Peace and Advocacy in 2001, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2005.
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