PCW celebrates 41st year, aims expansion to better serve ‘Juanas’

Coming from a fruitful and meaningful milestone year in 2015, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), on January 7, turns 41 with nothing but higher hopes and enthusiasm to better serve “Juanas” this 2016.

In her opening address, PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa recounted the early days of the Commission in the 1970s, which ran with only 15 employees. The Commission significantly grew over the years to cope with developments in the women’s movement and gender equality worldwide.

“We’ve come a long way from the time we were created and we are still here to improve the lives of ‘Juana’ and ‘Juan,’” she said while reminding the PCW employees to expect more challenges and opportunities following the national and local elections in May, which also means a change in administration.

“It is important for us to be constant in our thoughts. We don’t know who our next leaders will be. We have to brace ourselves for the new leadership and be able to continue the mission of PCW as a professional agency because we are here to ensure that the work goes on despite the political changes that are happening,” she said.

While the Commission remains to be apolitical, Verzosa said that the PCW Administration wishes to have a President who is supportive of women’s issues and is there to heed the advice of PCW being the advisory body on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

PCW’s thrusts this 2016 include the presentation of the country’s compliance report to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Commission is also preparing the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda for the 17th Congress. On strengthening technical assistance to and monitoring and evaluation of national and local government on gender mainstreaming, PCW is expected to publish the enhanced Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF) and Gender-Responsive LGU (GeRL) assessment tools.

Borrowing from the wisdom words of Dadi Janki of the Brahma Kumaris, Verzosa added in her speech reiterating: “Let us be pure in our intentions, let us be positive in our thoughts and let us exert power and believe that we can do it. Make the impossible possible this 41st year.”

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is the lead agency that makes government work for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of women’s human rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality. It was established as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women on January 7, 1975 coinciding with the UN Decade for Women.