Great @ 48: PCW celebrates founding anniversary united for CHANGE

The Philippine Commission on Women celebrates 48 years as an agency pushing for the welfare and rights of women, catalyzing breakthroughs in the pursuit of gender equality, and paving new paths of advocacy. With the theme United for Compassionate and Harmonized Actions and Networks for Gender Equality (CHANGE), the PCW lauded the foundations of the institution at a hybrid format activity held on January 10, 2023 at the PCW Conference Room, jumpstarting the year 2023.

The Commission was established on January 7, 1975 as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 633, mainly to serve as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet  and change the status quo by elevating women’s empowerment into the national spotlight.

Opening the celebration, Deputy Executive Director for Operations Ms. Kristine Balmes underlined the role of PCW in the country’s goal to uplift women’s lives by securing their rights. 

“The PCW continuously functions as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming and lead advocate for women’s empowerment, promotion and protection for the fulfillment of women’s human rights, and gender equality, even during the time of the pandemic. Here’s to fruitful years ahead of us,” DD Balmes said. 

Indeed, from its inception, the PCW strived to contribute to the country’s development by enabling women. Atty. Margarita N. Gutierrez, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs, and Communication, recognized this saying, “Day by day, the world becomes a safer and more conducive place for women across the world as the society begins to recognize the agency, strength, and capability of the great women in our midst. In the Philippines, this is in large part thanks to the contributions of the Philippine Commission on Women. More and more women are able to empower themselves and realize their full potential.”

The Commission thrives in collaboration with and participation from partners in the advocacy, from its policy-making to oversight agency functions.

Hon. Geraldine B. Roman, Bataan 1st District Representative and Chairperson of the Committee of Women and Gender Equality appreciated PCW’s efforts to topple patriarchy and end discrimination through showing lawmakers the need to change existing policies or introduce new ones in the end of protecting women’s rights.

“We look forward to many many years of working together in forwarding our legislative agenda in favor of women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Saan kami pupulutin sa Kongreso kung walang paggabay ng PCW, ang tinig ng kababaihan at ng LGBTQ community,” Rep. Roman enthused.

Great and Grateful at 48

The PCW grew from a team of 15 in the 70s to now more than a hundred workforce, 84 of which are regular government positions. From having its sole office inside the Malacañang Complex, the Commission is now in its 2nd year of maintaining a pilot field office in North Mindanao covering Regions 9, 10, and CARAGA. From its humble beginnings, its people have become part and parcel of the gains and milestones. 

Hence, to show gratitude and appreciation, PCW honored exemplary employees and loyalty awardees, as follows:

Gender Catalyst Individual Award 

Nharleen L. Santos-Millar in recognition of her contributions resulting in gender-responsive work processes or improved systems, procedures, policies, and programs at PCW with direct benefit to a unit/section/division or the whole PCW or stakeholders.

Gender Catalyst Team Award

Sectoral Coordination Division in recognition of their contributions resulting in improved gender-responsive work process or  award improved systems, procedures, policies, and programs at PCW with direct benefit to a unit/section/division or the whole PCW or stakeholders.

Exemplary Behavior Award

Maria C. Tasong for demonstrating exemplary service and conduct on the basis of her observance of the PCW core values (Passion for Excellence, Professionalism, Integrity, Teamwork, and Accountability)

Most Active Employee Award

Nicole Trisha F. Panganiban for actively participating in PCW activities, and for demonstrating outstanding teamwork and cooperation, which resulted in the successful achievement of the goal and output of the organization.

COS Personnel of The Year Award

Ma. Fe. E. Buenasflores for displaying and manifesting strong initiative, hard work, dedication, and teamwork and work on duties and responsibilities beyond expectations and requirements.

Attitude is Everything Award

Rochelle G. Lopez for displaying good manners and right conduct, willing to extend assistance and a helping hand despite difficult circumstances and maintain a positive outlook that is manifested in her physical appearance and behavior.

Most Promising PCW Personnel Award

Kris Joven M. Medalla for displaying dedication, innovativeness, self-development, and outstanding achievements in line with his work that resulted in a gender-responsive work process or improved implementation of PCW policies and programs.

Gawad ng Empleyado Award

Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes for promoting, protecting, respecting all, and fulfilling the rights of labor and employment and welfare of all PCW employees

Gawad ng Direktor Award

Anita E. Baleda for demonstrating exceptional character, outstanding performance, consistency, good values, strong initiative, and leadership.

Good Office Management Award

Finance Section (Accounting, Budget and Cashier) for being the most effective in demonstrating the 5S Principles of Housekeeping (Sorting, Set in Order, Shine, Systematize, and Sustain) in their designated office for the year 2022.

Loyalty Awardees:

25 years of continuous government service: Anastacio M. Lagumbay, Jr.

20 years of continuous government service: Leandra Arlene A. Maaño and Arlyne I. Quijana

15 years  of continuous government service: Helen J. Osana and Karen G. Dagñalan-Dy

10 years  of continuous government service: Josephine Khaleen M. Sasuman, Ma. Rebecca Rafaela R. Baylosis, Mildred L.Corral, and Cecille B. Gutierrez

5 years  of continuous government service: Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes, Anika Hanna B. Abiog, Claire Ruzzel A. Esturas, Armando G. Orcilla, Jr., Ramil P. Santos

Expressing utmost gratitude to the foundation of the Commission, PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves thanked the employees, present and past, who made every achievement possible.

“Reflecting on the long history of the PCW, I would like to acknowledge and express my sincerest gratitude to all the past and present PCW staff members who have ardently stood and fought for the protection of women’s rights since the Commission’s establishment. What gives me the confidence over and above all things is the collective strength and unflagging dedication of our employees – your strong commitment to the realization of the Commission’s goals, objectives, and advocacies. Not only are we backed by a supportive government, [but] we [also] have a great pool of highly skilled, dedicated, and patriotic people,” ED Yuzon-Chaves said.

PCW toward its golden year

Approaching its golden year, PCW commits to sustain efforts to steer the wheel of gender equality into motion. Working with partners in the government and the private sector, PCW became an instrumental institution behind the passage of landmark laws like the Magna Carta of Women that enshrines the rights of women especially the marginalized sectors and aims to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women, Expanded Maternity Leave Law which extends the days for women to heal their bodies and allow husbands to take care of the newborn, Reproductive Health Law which upholds women’s bodily integrity and access to reproductive health services throughout the woman’s life cycle, and the Safe Spaces Act which protects women from all forms of sexual harassment, as well as its IRR. In the recent years, PCW also successfully lobbied various laws, including the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act (RA 11648) which raised the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years for the purpose of protecting  minors from rape, exploitation, and sexual abuse; the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act which amended RA 9208 and now imposes more responsibilities on internet intermediaries which allow their infrastructure to be used for trafficking in persons; Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage (RA 11596) which criminalized the solemnization and facilitation of child marriage, and the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Law (RA 11930) which aims to shield children from the online forms of abuse. Aside from policy herstory, PCW also became a solid force in guiding agencies in putting a gender lens in their programs, activities, and projects, advancing women’s rights in sectors especially education, environment, peace and security, and economic empowerment, and leading advocacy campaigns that will gain more partners.

Great at 48,  the PCW is now posed with the challenge not to let the advocacy take any step backward, especially as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic which has been said to derail the process. 

ED Yuzon-Chaves encouraged the PCW advocates, “As we endeavor to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, our challenge is to reverse its immediate effect on women’s well-being and the threat it poses to future generations. And as always, we intend to devote this year and the next ones to the continued pursuit of the PCW’s mandates and advocacies.”

With unceasing vigor and driven by the Commission’s core values of passion for excellence, professionalism, integrity, teamwork, and accountability, the PCW will continue to advance social legislations that will benefit and protect women, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized, call for and contribute to the end of discrimination, sexism, and misogyny, and guide agencies and partners toward the country’s goal to be gender-responsive and inclusive. 

Watch PCW’s accomplishments here.