Local government units (LGUs) doing gender mainstreaming need strong leadership and commitment, organized women’s groups, adequate resources — and lots of inspiration — to see things through. In fact, when gender mainstreaming is not explicitly defined in the LGUs’ development plans, Gender and Development (GAD) efforts may not be realized at all. As a form of assistance and in keeping up with the unique contexts and specific needs of LGUs, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) then “localized” its Technical Assistance Blueprint in accordance with gender-related mandates and as provided for by the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) (RA 9710).
In 2014, PCW added the GAD Local Learning Hubs (GAD LLHs) to its LGU-centered technical assistance portfolio, the aim of which is to showcase innovative GAD structures, processes, and programs that have been sustained, if not improved by LGUs through the years. GAD LLHs are meant for sharing and replicating good practices, ultimately giving other LGUs the opportunity to think GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT LOCAL LEARNING HUBS GAD LOCAL LEARNING HUBS Women lead the establishment of the Integrated Gender and Development Division outside the box when implementing GAD initiatives. LGUs seeking to imbibe GAD innovations can learn from the GAD LLHs and get inspiration on how to infuse GAD in local governance and public service.
One of the five PCW-certified GAD LLHs is Quezon Province. The Provincial Government of Quezon has continuously fulfilled its GAD mandate by creating a Provincial GAD Office, as well as by facilitating the delivery of community-based programs and projects that are gender responsive.
From GAD Council to GAD Office
The Provincial Government took nine years to establish and fine-tune the administrative functions of the Provincial GAD (PGAD) Office. It was a lengthy process, but definitely achievable through perseverance.
The PGAD Council was created in 2000, which led to the formation of the Council’s implementing arm in 2005. With the updating of Quezon’s GAD Code in 2009, the coordinative, regulatory, and monitoring functions of the Council were clarified, and its implementing arm was created as the PGAD Office.
The impact of Quezon’s GAD Code to the daily operations and annual budgeting of the PGAD Office cannot be undervalued. The first few milestones of the PGAD Office were marked by organizational strengthening, starting with the transfer of eight permanent positions from other offices/units of the Provincial Government, and the allocation of an annual budget specific for GAD services and operations.
The PGAD Office is strongly supported by the Provincial Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. What’s even more commendable is the sphere of influence of the PGAD Office because its head is a member of the Association of Provincial Government Department Heads. In effect, GAD agenda and concerns are articulated in the provincial-wide planning and budgeting process, a way to ensure that programs and services are gender responsive.
The PGAD Office constantly reminds its partner LGUs that gender mainstreaming is a concerted effort; it is not a task done by the PGAD Office alone. In 2013, the PGAD Office formed the GAD Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Team, a multi-stakeholder body represented by regional government agencies and some units/offices of the Provincial Government. The GAD M&E Team holds regular monitoring visits, mainly to check on city, municipal, and barangay LGUs and assist them start or enhance their GAD initiatives.
At present, the PGAD Office is composed of eight GAD-trained staff with plantilla positions (7 females and 1 male) and nine casual staff (4 females and 5 males); they handle regular GAD programs and activities, including calendar events like the Women’s Month Celebration and the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW [Violence Against Women]. Moreover, through the GAD M&E Team, the PGAD Office acts as an award-giving body and annually spearheads the “Search for Outstanding City/Municipal GAD Focal Point System” of Quezon Province.