PCW-AECID presents gains, end results on implementing Magna Carta of Women in KP Fair

Local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies (NGAs) have seen improvement in implementing Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW).

This is one of the many fruitful results of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) Project on the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. These results contribute to the reduction of gender disparities and inequalities in economic, social and political spheres in the country.

Aptly themed” Harvesting Lessons, Sustaining Gains” the Knowledge and Product (KP) Fair held last March 3-4 at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City showcased the results of the project which include the improved efficiency and capacity of PCW as oversight agency in monitoring and evaluating MCW implementation and improved implementation of RA 9710 by some national government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

The PCW-AECID MCW Project also gave birth to many innovations related to Gender Mainstreaming such as the development of the Gender Mainstreaming Monitoring System (GMMS), Violence Against Women Documentation System (VAWDocS), and the MCW Mobile Application named “Magdalena” and local convergence models on Women’s Human Rights and Women Economic Empowerment.

Aside from these, the project also paved the way for 18 LGUs to become capacitated on MCW, Gender and Development (GAD) concepts, Gender Analysis, GAD Planning and Budgeting (GPB) and women’s economic empowerment (WEE), enabling them to strengthen and enhance their policies, programs and activities for women. These are the Municipalities of Polangui and Tiwi, and Albay Province;Municipalities of Kalibo and Malinao, and Aklan Province; Municipalities of Oton and Anilao, and Iloilo Province; Municipalities of Victoria and Bongabong, and Province of Oriental Mindoro; Municipalities of Alabel and Malungon, and Sarangani Province; and municipalities of Mainit and Sison, and Province of Surigao del Norte.

AECID Coordinator General, Mr. Juan Pita, meantime, congratulated PCW and the rest of project partners for a job well done in implementing the almost five-year project.

“Maybe some of the people ask why we are here funding this project. The reason we are here is that we want people to work together, specifically to improve the situation of women,” he said.

His Excellency, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, Luis Antonio Calvo Castaño, in his Inspirational Speech during the Welcome Dinner stated “The promulgation of the Magna carta of Women is a good example for many countries. We are very proud to be your partner in implementing this significant law. I am convinced that you will succeed in facing the challenges of sustaining the gains of the project.”

In her closing remarks, PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa thanked AECID for supporting women’s advocacies in the Philippines.

“This is a culmination of our diligence. We will be fleshing our gains, learning and remaining challenges in implementing MCW in national and local levels…We are also extending our appreciation to our project partners for their work and passion in fulfilling women’s human rights,” she said.

More than 200 participants from various parts of the country participated in the two-day KP fair. Also present was Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala, who graced the event as the Keynote Speaker.

While the KP Fair became an avenue for sharing of good practices, insights and learnings, it also became an opportune time for women beneficiaries to showcase their products such as women’s accessories, food and souvenir items. PCW Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken, PCW-AECID Project Manager Lorena T. Yunque, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol G. Matugas and Ms. Verzosa jointly opened the booths on March 3 and led the crowd in shopping from women micro-entrepreneurs.

Thank you, PCW and AECID

Some women micro-entrepreneurs who participated in the product fair cannot help but become emotional as the PCW-AECID MCW Project is ending. With sad yet grateful heart, they shared and recalled how the project helped them become confident and empowered.

“Dahil po sa PCW-AECID Project, nagkaroon po kami ng organisasyon ng IP Women. Yung mga IP women po na hindi nakakapagtapos, naturuan sila at nabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na mag-aral muna. At saka yung mga iba naming mga kasamahan, gumagawa na sila ng dressmaking (Because of the PCW-AECID Project, we were able to organize a group of women indigenous peoples. Some of the IP women who were not able to graduate from school were trained and given the chance to study. Some of our colleagues are now dressmakers),” said Liezel Pangalihan, an IP woman from Sarangani.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa PCW at AECID dahil marami akong natutunan. Marami akong napuntahang mga seminar.Ngayon, mayroon na kaming mga negosyo (I am grateful to the AECID Project because I have learned a lot. I was able to attend many seminars. Many of us today have our own businesses),” said Elizabeth Lumpay from Surigao del Norte.

Meanwhile, Exaltacion Tino of Albay shared that she learned many things from the trainings and seminars that they attended, including her rights as a woman–“Marami akong natutunan sa mga training and seminars katulad ng kung ano ang mga karapatan ko bilang babae,” she said.

In December 2011, the AECID granted PCW 1.5M Euros to implement the Institutional Strengthening of National and Local Governance on Human Rights and Economic Empowerment with a Gender Focus: Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. The project is due to wrap up by June 2016.

2016 National Women’s Month Celebration

During the welcome dinner hosted by PCW, the delegates and guests to the two-day fair formally welcomed this year’s National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) carrying the theme “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda!” (Include Women in the Agenda).

In her Inspirational Message, Chairperson Rikken emphasized the need to include women in all decision-making processes.

“Women have come a long way and have continued to change themselves and their world; but the world is also changing. And so we are confronted by new issues and old issues that have to be revisited and redefined to be included in our agenda, ”Rikken said.

She added that the current situation also calls for men to finally recognize and admit that women and men need to come together as partners, as decision makers, as leaders in all levels of decision making. She noted that the society should no longer accept that men are natural leaders and women are natural followers, pointing out that the situation of our world and our only planet demands for both women and men to move in equality and empowerment.

“The only way to advance human condition is to ensure that no one is left behind,” she concluded.

The PCW also conferred plaques of appreciation to the project partners. Special citations were given partners toMunicipality of Malinao as the Exemplary LGU in Financial Management; and to the Municipality of Oton as the Best Level in the Performance Scorecard on Institutional Mechanisms among LGU partners. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was also cited as the Best in Performance Scorecard among national government agency partners, for having achieved higher level results in mainstreaming Gender and Development in Higher Education.

Capping the night was the formal opening of the booths for the online Agenda Ni Juana which PCW launched for the National Women’s Month. Agenda Ni Juana is a crowdsourcing of the publics pulse on which womens issues should be prioritized or addressed by the government for the next six (6) years. Results of this crowdsourcing will aid the Philippine Commission on Women in crafting or proposing policies related to gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the fulfilment of women’s human rights. This online survey runs from March 1-31, 2016 and is accessible through PCW’s website.