NCRFW to oversee implementation of Magna Carta of Women

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), which has been renamed as the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), will act as the main policymaking and coordinating body for women and gender equality concerns. It will also serve as the oversight body tasked to monitor and ensure the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women last Friday, August 14, in a ceremony held in Malacanang and attended by leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, national and local government representatives, academe and NGOs.

The landmark law, which was among the priority measures of the President, recognizes the role of Filipino women in nation building. It also promotes the fundamental equality of women and men before the law and society.

Under the law, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is designated as the Gender and Development Ombud to receive complaints and recommend actions for violations of the law.

The NCRFW and CHR will lead in the formulation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Magna Carta of Women.

Earlier in a press statement, NCRFW Chairperson Myrna T. Yao said that the new law will also speed up women’s economic empowerment by providing them with more opportunities for growth.

“The Magna Carta of Women seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting all human rights and fundamental freedoms of Filipino women, particularly those in the marginalized sector,” Chair Yao said.

Chair Yao added that the Magna Carta of Women also protects women from all forms of violence, including those committed by the state. It ensures mandatory training on human rights and gender sensitivity by all government personnel involved in the protection and defense of women against gender-based violence.

According to Chair Yao, the Magna Carta of Women will serve as a national framework for the implementation by the Philippines of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW, considered as the international bill of rights for women.

“The law also contains a novel provision that directs all local government units to establish a Desk in every barangay to address cases on violence against women,” Chair Yao said.

Salient features of the Magna Carta include granting of special leave benefits of two months for employed women following surgery caused by gynecological disorders, increasing within the next five years the number of women in third level positions in government to achieve fifty-fifty gender balance, and nondiscriminatory and nonderogatory portrayal of women in media and film.

“We at the NCRFW are deeply indebted to our distinguished senators and representatives, the different women’s groups and NGOs that have worked tirelessly for the passage of the Magna Carta of Women,” Chair Yao said.

In the Senate, it was Sen. Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, who led the discussions on the Magna Carta of Women while in the House of Representatives, it was Representative Nanette Castelo-Daza, Chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, who pushed for the passage of the MCW.

Chair Yao also called for the support of all government agencies tasked to implement the provisions of the law and the IRR.