New PCW NGO Commissioners, deputy director take oath in Malacañan

Three newly-appointed officials of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) are now officially on board after taking their Oath of Office before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on July 17 at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañan, Manila.

Commissioner for Labor Sector Emma Villegas-Ricaforte and Commissioner for Peasants and the Fisherfolk Sector Marina Canedo Amacio now join Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy, Commissioner for Education Cristita Triunfante and Commissioner for Media and Arts Noreen Capili in the Commission.

Prior to joining the Commission, Amacio was the former Chairperson of AMIHAN Negros-Peasant Women Federation. Ricaforte, on the other hand, serves as the Executive Director of the Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc., a Davao-based civil society institution focusing on labor issues.

Triunfante, who took oath of office late last year, is a development worker in Albay and a member of the National GAD Resource Pool of the PCW. Capili is a scriptwriter, editor and author of books “The Goodbye Girl”, “Buti Pa ang Roma, May Bagong Papa”, and Parang Kayo Pero Hindi.”

PCW is a multi-sectoral body composed of a chairperson, 10 ex-officio members from government agencies and a Chairperson and 12 non-government organization (NGO) or private sector members of the Commission appointed by the President. The following agencies form part of the PCW: Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Education, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Trade and Industry, and National Economic and Development Authority. The following NGO representatives remain unfilled as of this writing: Business and Industry, Elderly and Disabled, Indigenous Peoples, Science and Health Sector, Urban Poor, Culture, and Youth.

The National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP) is a permanent member of the Commission as it was instrumental in pushing for the creation of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the former name of the PCW. NCWP Board Members also took their oath in Malacañan. Norma Lozano, the NCWP President, will sit as PCW Commissioner.

Shortly after the ceremony, the new commissioners expressed their gratitude to the President and showed enthusiasm and optimism over the responsibilities and roles that they will take in the next five years.

“I want to see more leadership of women in workplaces. A workplace that respects women and men’s equal rights and is free from harassment and violence. This is an opportune time for me to bring the local issues of women working in both the formal and non-formal economy, at the national level,” said Ricaforte.

Amacio, meanwhile, emphasized that there are many issues of women farmers and fisherfolk that need to be addressed by the government. She hopes that her appointment as PCW Commissioner will become an instrument in alleviating poverty and improving the lives of rural women.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, thus, the Philippine government must be able to provide women and men with equal access to land and other resources and empower them to work hand-in-hand so that we can economically and sustainably develop as a nation,” said Amacio.

As new commissioners, Ricaforte and Amacio are expected to help their co-NGO Commissioners and government Board Members in setting the direction of PCW and formulating policies and recommend measures to address gender issues in various sectors. They are likewise expected to review and approve Philippine reports on the implementation of national laws and policies as well as international conventions on gender equality and women’s empowerment, among others.

New Deputy Executive Director

Meanwhile, former Batangas City Councilor, environment advocate and NGO development worker Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes also took her oath as the new Deputy Executive Director. She will be mainly in charge of the technical operations of the agency, which include: policy development, planning, monitoring and evaluation; technical services and regional coordination; sectoral coordination.