Improved education on disaster risk reduction and management tops women’s wish list for Duterte gov’t

Filipino women and men call on the government to improve education, awareness-raising, and women’s participation in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and management towards building resilient communities.

This is based on the results of the “Agenda Ni Juana Crowdsourcing” initiated by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) to gather public opinion on which women’s issues should be prioritized by the new administration in the next six years.

PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa said that the results could be attributed to the adverse effects of disasters and calamities to our local communities in the recent years.

“The devastation brought about by disasters has lasting negative impact on people. Disasters also increase people’s vulnerability to social issues like poverty, human trafficking and violence against women and girls. Hence, there is growing demand not only for information but for people’s participation in making our communities resilient to calamities,” Verzosa added.

Getting the second priority on the list of women’s agenda is improving access to justice, followed by expanding access to affordable and comprehensive health care and services on third spot. Ranking 4th and 5th respectively are improving access to land, water, capital, markets and enterprise technologies in rural and urban areas; and improving information dissemination on government programs and services.

Crowdsourcing of Women’s Agenda

PCW’s crowdsourcing of women’s agenda was launched during the National Women’s Month Celebration in March. A total of 8,005 responses coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were generated from the survey.

Verzosa noted that the Agenda Ni Juana Crowdsourcing is PCW’s initiative to explore other means and platforms of engaging with the public as stakeholders of government programs for women.

“While the survey has its own limitations, the results at the very least give government policy makers as well as programs planners and implementers an idea on which women’s issues are to be prioritized, from the perspective of the citizens. This crowdsourcing activity provided the general public a venue to voice their views on what issues are important for them,” she added.

The survey was conducted manually and online, where respondents were asked to select five women’s issues which they think has to be prioritized by the government in the next six years. Manual voting was conducted during the “Sama-samang Pagsulong sa Mga Agenda Ni Juana” in March 2016, while the online version was featured in PCW’s website from March 1 to April 30. Complete results of the survey are as follows:

Top 1 – Improved education, awareness-raising and women’s participation in gender-responsive climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction towards building resilient communities (5,821 votes)

Top 2 – Improved access to justice of victims of abuse and violence, especially women and girls with disabilities and other vulnerable groups (5,122 votes)

Top 3 – Expanded access to affordable and comprehensive women’s health care and services (4,053 votes)

Top 4 – Improved access to land, water, capital, markets, and enterprise technologies in rural and urban areas (3,488 votes)

Top 5 – Improved information dissemination on government programs and services for realizing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and their human rights (3,297 votes)

Top 6 – Improved protective and welfare assistance for distressed female migrant workers (3,227 votes)

Top 7 – Improved convergence of efforts in building peaceful, safe and violence-free communities (3,037 votes)

Top 8 – Increased women’s participation and leadership in decision-making positions (2,465 votes)

Top 9 – Strengthened social protection for workers in the informal economy and other vulnerable groups (2,247 votes)

Top 10 – Ensured gender and culture sensitivity of educational and training institutions at all levels (1,196 votes)

Top 11 – Institutionalized provision of women and child-friendly spaces in evacuation centers (1,832 votes)

Top 12 – Proper utilization of the Gender and Development (GAD) Budget (1,862 votes)

Top 13 – Improved gender-responsiveness of business and trade policies (1,475 votes)

Top 14 – More positive portrayal of women in all forms of media (638 votes)

Accepting Opportunities to Serve Better

In a separate statement, PCW Executive Director Verzosa said she is hopeful that the new administration and its new leaders would take concrete steps to address the identified women’s issues.

“We view this Agenda Ni Juana Crowdsourcing as an attempt to broaden our citizen’s engagement mechanism. We call on our partners in government to take the results as an opportunity to better serve our citizens,” she added.

Verzosa also expressed PCW’s optimism that the current administration will enhance or strengthen the good initiatives of government agencies in advancing the lives of women.

“PCW has always been a catalyst for change. One of our functions is overseeing the implementation of the government’s Gender and Development (GAD) Budget Policy which is essentially changing the way agencies plan, implement, monitor and evaluate their programs and projects so that the differential needs of women and men are addressed,” she stressed.

PCW is one of the 12 agencies named under Executive Order No. 1 which designated Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. “to supervise concerned agencies in evaluating existing poverty reduction programs, and formulating a more responsive set of programs to complement existing ones aimed in order to reduce the incidence and magnitude of poverty.”