5 LGUs retain stature as PCW-recognized Gender and Development Local Learning Hubs

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) has recertified five local government units (LGUs) as Gender and Development (GAD) Local Learning Hubs (LLH) in a series of activities held in March and April 2018.

Launched in 2015, the certification of LLHs is an initiative of the PCW under its Local GAD Resource Program (LGRP) to identify and showcase remarkable efforts on gender mainstreaming at the local level. It aims to institutionalize the sharing and replication of LGU’s experiences to strengthen gender mainstreaming efforts.

Aklan Province: A shelter to victim-survivors and home to male anti-VAW advocates

Two notable GAD programs and services in Aklan were recertified by the PCW during the Visayas leg of the “We Make Change: Women Inspiring Women” Forum Series on March 15 held at the Aklan Training Center in Kalibo, Aklan – the Aklan Comprehensive Center for Women (ACCW) and Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE) – Aklan Chapter.

Despite its limited funding, the ACCW continues to be the sole facility in the province, which provides temporary shelter and expanded services to Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) survivors. The facility is likewise able to cater to the needs of survivors of human trafficking including those who are not from the province and has a systematic approach of referring their clients to other facilities in the Region for long-term shelter or other services.

Aside from the ACCW, MOVE-Aklan has also made great strides in the prevention of VAW. This group of men took the advocacy of pushing for women’s rights to heart by spreading the networks across Region VI.

As of March 2018, MOVE-Aklan has over 450 advocates and has likewise engaged high school students to become members of the MOVE Juniors.

Davao City: Pioneer LGU in advancing women’s rights

It has been known to many that Davao City is the first LGU to establish a GAD office and the first city to develop a GAD Code. Since then, the City has been pioneering efforts to mainstream GAD in its governance.

During the Mindanao leg of the Women Inspiring Women Forum Series held at the University of Southeastern Philippines on March 22, the PCW recertified five notable GAD programs of the Davao City which include the Davao City Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD), Davao City Office of the Special Counsel on VAW, Davao City Child Minding Centers, and the Ray of Hope Village of Davao City under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Region XI.

The IGDD has been recertified by the PCW for its strengthened monitoring and regulatory functions in ensuring the gender-responsiveness of the programs and services of both the public and private sectors in Davao City.

The City’s Child Minding Centers (CMC), on the other hand, have played vital role in improving the working conditions and productivity of women employees. During the validation visit of the Commission, two of the beneficiaries shared that the numbers of their leaves, tardiness and absences have been reduced, as they were able to confidently leave their children in the CMCs to learn and interact with other children.

In its commitment to end gender-based violence (GBV), the Davao City has also established a special legal counsel on VAW which has dedicated lawyers and paralegals handling VAW cases.

Another initiative of Davao City which the PCW has recertified is the Ray of Hope Village which promotes restorative justice and creates positive image of women/persons deprived of liberty (PDL). In this rehabilitative facility, women detainees are capacitated on livelihood programs and values formation.

Naga City: A multi-sectoral and community-based program to address GBV

On March 19, the PCW recertified two programs of Naga City which promotes multi-sectoral and community-based approach in ending GBV – the Naga City Bantay Familia and the Barangay GROW Negosyo Program.

Created in 2002, the Naga City Bantay Familia, Inc. is an anti-GBV program which provides interventions in the form of psychological services, legal counselling, couples dialogue, family conferences, medical assistance, and alternative learning or non-formal education through the Alternative Learning System.

Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) has been identified as one of the strategies to eliminate GBV as it eliminates economic dependency of women victim-survivors to their perpetrators. This is one of the guiding principles of Barangay GROW Negosyo Program, which provides loans and livelihood services to women and men. Since its recertification in 2015, the Program was able to increase its membership and established more organized consultations and monitoring system with their beneficiaries.

Aside from the two recertified programs, a barely new initiative of Naga City was also certified as LLH.

The Naga City Breastfeeding Program was recognized by the PCW for institutionalizing breastfeeding support mechanisms and the establishment of mother-baby friendly spaces in both public and private institutions. First initiated in 2010, the program organized the Breastfeeding Support Groups in 27 barangays that served as the arm of City Population and Nutrition Office in extending counselling for pregnant and lactating mothers.

Iloilo Province: Model for partnership and convergence on WEE

On April 10, the PCW recertified Iloilo Province for its Partnership and Convergence with Municipal LGUs on Women’s Economic Empowerment Program (WEE) Program which continuously empowers women micro-entrepreneurs to start and sustain their local businesses. 

In 2017, over 1,200 micro-entrepreneurs have been served and a total of 150 products were enhanced by the program which started in 2014. This is done through programmatic capacity development trainings on business management, mobile basic entrepreneurship, product marketing, packaging, and labelling, among others.

The Program also mentored over 200 micro-entrepreneurs–97 % of which are women, through hand-holding approach on start-to-end aspects of business management. The Province has also expanded the Program by conducting barangay-based trainings for micro-entrepreneurs from geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) of the Province.

Quezon Province: Model for gender-responsive health service and community-based greening program

On April 23, three notable programs of Quezon Province were recertified by the Commission, namely the Quezon Provincial GAD Office, Lingap Kalusugan para sa Barangay Program (LKB) and the Quezon’s Sustainable Community-based Greening Program.

The LKB is an institutionalized gender-responsive health service that pioneered the sole coupon system to provide access to medical services and free medicines especially to the marginalized sector. This provides the residents of Quezon with better access to healthcare by decentralizing health assistance and empowering barangay captains and public healthcare partners. The Province adopted a drug consignment system, which facilitates rapid replenishments of drug and medical supplies that led to a total of 334, 264 clients served for the past five years.

Quezon’s Sustainable Community-based Greening Program or formerly known as Quezon’s 2-in-1, on the other hand, is a multi-sectoral conservation and rehabilitation effort to protect Mangrove forests, which eventually provides a sustainable livelihood for the coastal communities of the Province. As reported by the Quezon Province Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), families are able to generate additional income since fish catch increased from 5 kilos to 20 kilos, and women have been provided with alternate source of income that can address their practical needs.

Last but not the least, the Quezon Provincial GAD office was recertified as it continues to serve as the provincial coordinative and monitoring mechanism for gender and development mainstreaming. It also helps in monitoring the compliance of municipalities in the localization of Magna Carta of Women (MCW) down to the barangay level. The Quezon Provincial GAD Office has sustained its operation for 13 years.

Validation process

The recertification of GAD LLHs went through a validation process that assessed the LGUs based on the following criteria: 1) presence of GAD-related policies and programs; 2) visibility and replicability of GAD efforts; 3) impact of the GAD efforts to the LGU and its constituents; and 4) notable GAD efforts’ contribution to national development plans, policies and programs.

To be certified as LLH, an LGU should have initiated notable GAD efforts with evident results and have the potential to be replicated by other LGUs. The LGU should be willing and able to respond to the requests of interested LGUs or other institutions that wish to learn from their experiences. Certified LLHs will be given priority by PCW in the provision of technical assistance like levelling session on GAD core messages, training on GAD tools and guidelines, and mentoring and coaching of potential GAD trainers.

Our work is indeed challenging but it is also rewarding when we see the impacts of what we have achieved in contributing to the improvement of the lives of and empowerment of Juanas. We hope to see more LGUs initiate and advance efforts on gender-responsive governance by replicating and institutionalizing the notable GAD practices of Local Learning Hubs”, said PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa as she recognized the five LLH which has been helping the Commission in mainstreaming GAD at the local level.

LGUs interested to learn from the five GAD LLH may contact PCW-Technical Services and Regional Coordination Division at (02) 735-8917, (02) 735-1654 local 119 or email tsrcd.lgrp@pcw.gov.ph. You may also coordinate directly with the following LLH contact persons:

Quezon Provincial Gender and Development Office

Ms. Ofel Palayan – Department Head
Contact Number:(042) 373-7175 (Telefax) | 660-3791
Email Address: pgadofficequezon@gmail.com/

Iloilo Provincial GAD Council

Ms. Velma Jane Cubing-Lao
Contact Number: 0917-321-6030
Email Address: iloilogadunit@iloilo.gov.ph

Davao City Integrated Gender and Development Division

Ms. Lorna Mandin – Officer-in-Charge
Contact Number: (082) 226-8011
Email Address: igdd@davaocity.gov.ph

Aklan Provincial Planning and Development Office

Engr. Roger M. Esto – Coordinator
Contact Number: (036) 268-5442/ 262-1555
Email Address: ppdoaklan@gmail.com

Naga City Council for Women

Cecilia Veluz de Asis – Co-Chairperson Councilor
Contact Number: 0917-503-0350/(054) 473-3377
Email Address: nenedeasis@yahoo.com