Naga City wins award for Outstanding VAW-Responsive LGU

Naga City yesterday received the award for Outstanding VAW (Violence against Women)-Responsive LGU at the Rembrandt Hotel in Quezon City. The year-long Search for Outstanding VAW-Responsive LGUs was launched last year by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), and the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women in Asia-Pacific (CATW-AP).

Naga City bested eleven (11) other nominees to the Search which were also recognized during the kick-off ceremonies of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW. The other finalists were Barangay Luz, Cebu City; Amlan, Negros Oriental; New Lucena, Iloilo City; Jones, Isabela; Calumpit, Bulacan; Calauag, Quezon; Tupi, South Cotabato; Olongapo City; Quezon City; San Juan City; and Davao City.

“The Search for Outstanding VAW-Responsive LGUs recognizes local governments – barangays, municipalities and cities – that have excellent gender-sensitive VAW initiatives, policies and programs. The Search is the first of its kind in the country”, says PCW Chairperson Myrna T. Yao.

Naga City is the first city to file a Protection Order for a VAW survivor. It was also able to file a case on incestuous rape where the perpetrator was convicted of life imprisonment. It has put in place a standard protocol in handling VAWC cases to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure that utmost care is exercised in dealing with the problem and that proper protection and assistance are extended to the victims. The interventions include rescue, counseling, medical assistance, provision of shelter and administration of justice.

It has promoted awareness on VAW to its constituents through the dissemination of Primers on RA 9262 or the Anti-VAWC law, translated into local dialects.

It has also put in place Anti-VAW mechanisms. The Naga City Council for Women, a tripartite body composed of LGU-government-and NGO groups, serves as the consultative and policy recommendatory body in all issues and concerns of women sector and is the City government’s arm in gender development.

The Bantay Familia, composed of a multi-sectoral group of women and men, ensures that delivery of all public and private sector services to women and children victims of violence from the city down to the barangays are effectively organized and coordinated. The City government provided a permanent office space for the Naga City Council for Women and the Bantay Familia with office personnel as well as basic equipment and facilities.

Task Forces SAGIP and TAKIPSILIM enforce the provisions of the Naga City Women Development Code. These are multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral networks of agencies against pornography and commodification of women. They implement measures to prevent or stop the publication of pornographic articles and the public staging of indecent shows. Task Force TAKIPSILIM prevented the staging of Viva Hot Babes Live Show in the City in CY 2003.

Volunteer lawyers from Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panlegal or SALIGAN BICOL and lawyers from the City Legal Office provide free counseling services and legal assistance to VAW victim survivors.

“We, in the PCW, congratulate Naga City. May it inspire other LGUs to promote awareness and application of gender and anti-VAW principles in governance”, adds Chair Yao.