National campaign highlights everyone’s role in making PH VAW-free

“When we work together, we can be VAW-free.” Taking off from this message of the 2015 campaign to end violence against women (VAW), the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) leads the nation in the 2016 observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW with the theme, “VAW-free community starts with Me.”

The theme promotes the vision and hope for the Philippines to be free from violence against women and girls, and this can only be achieved with the support and commitment of the entire community.

PRRD commits to make government work towards ending VAW

In a message released by Malacañang, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conveyed his support to the campaign to end VAW, emphasizing that a VAW-free community can only be achieved if we all work together.

“As we observe this campaign, I commit our government to work towards ending gender-based violence in the country. I already mentioned this in my first State of the Nation Address, and I reiterate that, under my leadership, all agencies shall ensure that laws relative to VAW and the Magna Carta of Women will be fully implemented at all levels. Our government is committed to put in place and enforce policies and mechanisms to ensure that no woman or girl will become a victim of violence.”

He also encourages everyone to be a partner for change and actively play important roles in creating ripples of change in society.

3,000 converge in PICC to support VAW-free PH

More than 3,000 individuals joined the campaign kick-off activity held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Reception Hall in Pasay City on November 25, which is the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children.

In her welcome remarks, PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa thanked the participants for joining the advocacy and re-igniting their commitment in pursuing anti-VAW efforts.

“We want to touch the hearts of the people through the powerful informances and testimonials that we have today. Performance arts has long been successful in changing the perception and behavior of the people as it tickles our imagination and pricks our hearts and minds with questions that awaken us about the issues being discussed,” she said.

Meanwhile, in her opening remarks, PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy emphasized everyone’s role in addressing VAW. She noted the contributions that can be made by stakeholders like women and girls, men and boys, government agencies and local government units, barangays, schools, non-government organizations and even the private sector in moving towards the vision of a VAW-free society.

Vice President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo, who is a known women’s rights advocate, was the keynote speaker of the event.

Another highlight of the event was the informance play by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) infused with poetry, song numbers, skits, and sharing of experiences in the fight against VAW. Among those who shared their experience are in addressing VAW are resource persons from non-government organizations Luna Legal Resource Center and Talikala, Inc., both based in Davao City, Barangay del Rosario of Naga City, and singer-song writer Noel Cabangon who shared his own thoughts as a male anti-VAW advocate and performed the jingle of the Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere which he composed.

New IACVAWC heads support efforts to address VAW

Newly-appointed heads and top officials of the member agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Violence Against Women (IACVAWC) also vowed to do their share in achieving a VAW-free community.

IACVAWC member agencies include the PCW, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine National Police (PNP), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

As of writing, the Department of Social Welfare and Development manages 22 residential care facilities for disadvantaged women and girls throughout the country.

A report from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) revealed that 88% of barangays nationwide (37,044 out of 42,036) have already established their Barangay VAW Desk, while the Department of Health (DOH) reported that 67 out of 70 DOH Hospitals have functional Women & Children Protection Unit. The remaining three hospitals, according to them, have a women & children protection coordinator.

The kick-off activity was organized by the PCW, with support from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and Tourism Infrastructure & Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

DOT-PCW oranges 18 PH destinations in support of the 18-Day Campaign

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is leading separate events across the country to launch the Orange Your Icon for 18 Days Advocacy Initiative on November 25 in 18 tourist destinations.

Conceptualized in partnership with PCW, the initiative supports the UNiTe to End VAW Campaign to “Orange the World”. The Philippine campaign to End VAWincludes “oranging” tourism sites or attractions in the country, from November 25 to December 23, to create opportunities for discussion about the VAW as a public issue. Orange is a vibrant color that signifies hope for a brighter future for survivors of violence, abuse and discrimination.

The 18 sites include the following:

Host DOT Region/OfficeParticipating Sites
National Parks Development Committee
Rizal Monument and selected areas
around Rizal Park
(launch will be at the Rizal Park
Visitor’s Center)
Intramuros Administration
Plaza Roma, Intramuros
National Capital RegionFort Santiago
Cordillera Administrative RegionThe Mansion Baguio City
Hundred Island National Park
IIBuntun Bridge
IIISalakot Arch
IVRizal Shrine
VCagsawa Ruins
VIMiag-ao Church
VIICebu Provincial Capitol
VIIISan Juanico Bridge
Mac Arthur Landing Memorial
IXPaseo del Mar
XMaria Cristina Falls
XIPeople’s Park
XIILake Sebu Seven Falls
XIIIGiant Shoe

The initiative also promotes VAW-free communities in the tourism sector and gender-responsiveness of Philippine tourism. It envisions having Philippine tourism destinations that are free from sexual harassment, prostitution, sexual exploitation of women and children, and human trafficking.