Lead agency for women prepares for greater presence in LGUs

There is no task too big or too small for the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the primary policy-making and oversight body for gender equality and women’s empowerment concerns of the government. Operating under the Office the President, PCW is gearing up for full swing implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW, RA 9710) to build on and sustain achievements.

“We will focus on helping local government units (LGUs) implement national laws and policies addressing gender issues and concerns of women and men in their communities by sharing all our knowledge, experience, tools and skills,” PCW Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken said. The agency presented its proposed Php 50.9 million budget for 2013 to the Senate and House of Representatives this week.

The Magna Carta of Women (MCW), a comprehensive women’s rights law enacted in 2009, mandates the State to institute affirmative action measures including:

  • empowerment of women within the Civil Service to achieve a fifty-fifty (50-50) gender balance especially at the top levels of leadership;
  • at least forty percent (40%) women membership in all development councils from the regional, provincial, city, municipal, and barangay levels;
  • representation of women’s groups in international, national, and local special and decision-making bodies, including participation of grassroots women leaders in decision and policy-making bodies in their respective sectors;
  • incentives to political parties with a women’s agenda; and,
  • encouraging women’s leadership in the private sector in the form of incentives.

The MCW also provides for specific women’s right to comprehensive health services, education and scholarships, agriculture, fisheries, shelter, decent work, equal treatment before the law, protection in times of disaster and calamities or other crisis situations, participation in sports, leave benefits, equality within marriage and the family, non-discrimination in employment in the military and police, non-derogatory portrayal in media, among others.

Promoting implementation of MCW in the LGUs also intends to help speed up the country’s achievement of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of gender equality, ending poverty and hunger, child health, maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership for development.

PCW’s additional program thrusts for next year include the integration of Gender and Development (GAD) concerns in the basic education program (K-12) and increasing partnership with media institutions.