NCRFW eyes immediate approval of Magna Carta of Women

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) is pushing for the immediate approval of the Magna Carta of Women, a landmark legislation that seeks to protect Filipino women from all forms of gender discrimination.

The bill is currently awaiting plenary deliberation in the House of Representatives while the Senate is set to file the committee report at the chamber’s Committee on Rules. The Magna Carta of Women bill was first filed during the 12th Congress and the proponents of the bill are hoping for its approval before Congress adjourns sine die this week.

“The Magna Carta of Women bill is envisioned as the omnibus law to eliminate discrimination against women and to recognize, respect, protect, fulfill and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, particularly the poor and the marginalized,” NCRFW Chairperson Myrna T. Yao said.

The Legislative and Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) has prioritized the swift passage of the proposed Magna Carta of Women to enable the Philippine government to strictly comply with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“The Philippines should intensify its efforts to ensure the fundamental freedoms and human rights of women especially in the marginalized sectors of society to guarantee their economic, social and cultural well-being without distinction or discrimination on account of class, age, sex, language, ethnicity, religion, ideology, disability, education and status,” Chair Yao noted.

As signatory to CEDAW, the Philippines is compelled to give life to the provisions of the Convention by incorporating them into its legal system.

The proposed legal framework of women seeks to further intensify the Philippine government’s commitment to uphold human rights of women particularly, small farmers and rural workers, fisherfolk, urban poor, workers in both formal and informal economy, women in the military, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, muslim women , children, senior citizens, persons with disabilities and solo parents.

This landmark legislation enumerates the rights of marginalized women such as the right to food security and productive resources, right to housing, right to decent work, right to employment, livelihood, credit, capital and technology, right to education and training, right to representation and participation, right to information and social protection.

Under the bill, there will be an increment increase in the recruitment and training of women in the next five years in the police force, forensics and medico-legal, and legal services and other services availed by women who are victims of gender-related offenses until 50 percent of personnel shall be women.

The Magna Carta of Women Bill likewise proposes for an increase in the number of women occupying third level positions in government within the next five years to achieve a gender balance.

It also contains a provision that will eliminate discrimination of women in the military, including revising or abolishing polices and practices that restrict women from availing of both combat and non-combat trainings that are open to men, or from taking on functions other than administrative tasks, such as engaging in combat or field operations. The bill stressed that women in the military to be accorded the same promotional privileges as men, including pay increases, additional remunerations and benefits, and performance awards based on their competency and performance.