GAD Local Learning Hub: Davao City

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. 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 Davao City. The City Government of Davao has continuously fulfilled its GAD mandate by establishing an LGU Division in charge of gender mainstreaming and by strengthening its Special Counsel on VAWC [violence against women and children]. At the same time, the City Government enhanced its programs for women and children by expanding the coverage of its facilities, such as the Community-based Child Minding Centers and the Female City Jail.

From GAD Office to a GAD Division

Integration connotes cohesion and complementation, a typical challenge for provincial, city, municipal, and barangay LGUs.

The Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD) of Davao City started out as an interim office for GAD in 1999 until September 2003 under the supervision of the Chairperson on the Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations. On October 28, 2003, the Women’s Development Code was amended, thereby creating the said Division under the direction and supervision of the City Mayor’s Office.

Cohesion and complementation are reflective of IGDD’s functions, as it serves as the coordinative, regulatory, and monitoring body for all the GAD efforts of the city. The IGDD even transcends these three main functions by influencing Davao City’s budgeting process resulting in the institutionalization of GAD planning and budgeting at the different LGU levels.

To reinforce IGDD’s functions, the City Accounting and Planning Development Offices require all city departments and barangays to submit their annual plans reflecting their proposed GAD-related activities and programs, which in turn are approved by the IGDD. The LGUs are able to comply because of the GAD-related technical assistance and capacity-building programs that the IGDD provides regularly.

What is notable about the IGDD is that it serves as the prime mover of gender mainstreaming even if it did not adopt the recommended LGU structure for the GAD Focal Point System. The IGDD’s structure is also unique because of its attached multisectoral consultative body, the Davao City Council for Women (DCCW), comprising the women councils from all 182 barangays. From its end, the DCCW consciously complements IGDD’s coordinating function, thus resulting in barangay- and city-led GAD programs that are more cohesive. To further reinforce its coordinative function, the IGDD also works with GAD Focal Persons assigned in the different offices/departments of the City Government.

The IGDD also acts as a monitoring and regulatory body and can directly influence women-related programs and activities of both public and private organizations. The IGDD works closely with the Local Monitoring Board, tasked to monitor media outlets (including publishers of local dailies) and other organizations that release publicity materials that are “gender blind.” With permission from the City’s Business Bureau, the IGDD serves as one of the signatories to special permits, allowing it to monitor and regulate beauty contests and other fundraising initiatives that portray women as commodities. In addition, the IGDD acts as Secretariat to the Coordinating Council on Gender-Based Violence (CGBV) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

The IGDD strengthens its GAD advocacy by building strong partnerships with women’s groups, local governments, media, academe, private institutions, and local communities. It also recognizes the outstanding GAD achievements of individuals and organizations on behalf of Davao City.

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