President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed Dr. Rhodora T. Masilang-Bucoy as Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) effective today. She is set to take her oath of office before the Chief Executive on October 11 in Malacañan Palace, Manila.
“I am deeply honored to serve as Chairperson of the Commission that is mandated to lead in bringing about gender equality and empowerment of the Filipino woman,” Dr. Bucoy said in a statement.
Dr. Bucoy served as PCW Commissioner representing the academe sector from August 2013 to June 2016. She is also a member of PCW’s Gender and Development (GAD) Resource Pool. As PCW Commissioner, she played an active role in proposing resolutions addressing the need for gender-fair curriculum in the K to 12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the concerns of indigenous women.
“We warmly welcome Dr. Bucoy back in PCW, this time as our Chairperson. We have been working with her in pushing for the women’s agenda at various levels of governance for years, and we trust that she will be able to bring the Commission to new heights during her term,” said Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa who heads the PCW Secretariat.
A retired Associate Professor of Political Science and Development, and Gender Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu, Dr. Bucoy is a recognized GAD champion, human rights advocate and practitioner, and educator. She is among the pioneers in incorporating GAD in the university curriculum, which paved the way to the creation of gender-related courses in the university. She served as Chairperson of UP Cebu’s Social Sciences Division from June 2005 to June 2011.
Dr. Bucoy also took a lead role in establishing the Sidlak Gender Resource Center in Central Visayas in 2003. The center was established by the PCW in response to the need of a more focused and well-coordinated implementation of GAD training programs in Region VII.
“Despite my varied experiences in the work of women empowerment, I approach this challenging post with a mix of trepidation and hope. I am anxious that I may not be able to cover as much ground as I want to, but am also full of hope that, with the help of the dedicated members of the PCW, every Filipina will be encouraged to work for her own full empowerment,” Chairperson Bucoy shared.
She further stated that the Filipino woman has come a long way; yet, a lot more have to be done to promote gender equality, women empowerment and women's rights in accordance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Magna Carta of Women.
The newly-appointed PCW Chair noted the need for the Commission to lobby for the passage of women-friendly laws; provide efficient technical assistance for the pursuit of gender-responsive governance; campaign for the elimination of gender stereotyping in the mass media and the school curriculum; and encourage women to be active in various concerns such as food security, climate change and sustainability, peace and development, women's health, violence against women, and the needs of Indigenous and Moro women, the elderly, women with disabilities, rural women, urban poor, workers and migrant women.
“We will undertake various tasks that will improve the economic status of women, because unfortunately, the face of poverty in our country remains that of a woman’s,” Dr. Bucoy stressed.
“In these tasks, I know I will not be alone. I shall look to the members of the PCW Board for effective and focused ideas, and to the able, passionate and devoted personnel of PCW as well as to our supporters in the various non-government organizations and the private sector to help me fulfill our noble mission. We can and we must make a difference for the Filipina. Padayon kita!” she ended.
Aside from taking part in various international conferences, special trainings and workshops here and abroad on gender and women studies, Dr. Bucoy also did numerous research and project impact evaluation on GAD mainstreaming. Some of her published works include: Cebuano Grassroots Women’s Consciousness in the Context of Urban Poverty; Notes on the Status of Cebu Women; Combating Violence against Women in Cebu; Assessment of an Anti -Trafficking Project: Its Five-Year Impact and Change in the Public Justice System; Moving Forward with GAD in Bohol: A Handbook on Gender Mainstreaming; and Gender Mainstreaming in Regional and Development Councils in Central Visayas.
Her unwavering efforts in human rights and women’s advocacy made her a recipient of various awards like the Human Rights Defender’s Award by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines; the Justice German Lee Awards on Transformative Leadership; and the Tatak UP Alumni Award for Outstanding Public Service in Women Empowerment.
Dr. Bucoy currently sits as member of the Regional Development Council Sub-Committee on GAD and currently the Vice-President of the United Nations University Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development in Cebu.
She obtained her Political Science degree from Mindanao State Univeristy (MSU) - Marawi, cum laude, and Master of Arts in Political Science and PhD in Philippine Studies with core concentration in Women and Development and Political Science from the University of the Philippines, Diliman.