Commission on Women expects LGUS to be more gender-responsive with the issuance of new circular

Ronavelle Amen of Pavia, Iloilo produces home-style salty and sugar-coated peanuts, peanut spread and peanut butter in her hometown. Before, she just earns small profit in her business but with the assistance of the local government in Pavia she is now able to develop and expand her business.

“With the help of the local government unit (LGU) of Pavia, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) – GREAT Women Project and the assistance of Department of Science and Technology (DOST), I have now a label called Nating’s Peanut Butter. With the trainings I got, it helped me create new variants and better packaging for new markets.” said Ronavelle Amen.

Her monthly sales have increased ranging from Php 20,000-30,000 and as high as Php 35,000.00. Also, her products now reach different markets and stores in Manila.

Ronavelle is one of the beneficiaries of the training of the government of Pavia using their LGUs budget on gender and development (GAD).

Similar success stories such as that of Ronavelle’s case can be expected with the issuance of the new Joint Memorandum Circular 2013-01 by the Philippine Commission on Women with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last July 05, 2013.

The said circular contains comprehensive guidelines on the localization of Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women Act of 2009 (MCW).

With the issuance of the said circular, PCW is optimistic that this will serve as impetus for many LGUs to fully mainstream GAD concerns and illustrate good local governance practices.

The circular will help LGUs craft gender-responsive policies, plans and programs that will respond to the economic, political and socio-cultural rights and concerns of their constituents, particularly those in the marginalized sectors.

Section 37 of the MCW Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) mandates agencies and LGUs to formulate their gender and development (GAD) plans within the context of their mandates and allocate at least 5% of their total budget appropriation to implement GAD related plans and programs. It likewise provides that gender mainstreaming will be adopted as a strategy to implement the provisions of the law.

To accelerate gender mainstreaming in their localities, the LGUs are expected to create and/or strengthen their GAD Focal Point System (GFPS). The GFPS shall take the lead role in ensuring and sustaining LGUs critical consciousness in supporting GAD programs and mainstreaming GAD perspectives in their policies, plans and projects.

The JMC 2013-01 also contains guidelines and steps for LGUs in developing their annual GAD Plans and Budget (GPB) and GAD Accomplishment Reports. Other salient features contained in the circular include guidelines to mainstream gender perspective in local development plans, formulation of GAD Code or ordinance, establishment and maintenance of LGU GAD Database and full disclosure policy of GPB and Accomplishment Reports, among others.