PCW celebrates 43rd anniversary, pushes for more regional presence

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) welcomed its 43rd year with bigger hopes and greater passion to fulfill its mandate — aiming to reach more women and girls particularly those in the regions.

In her message during the post-anniversary celebration held at the Kalayaan Hall in the Malacañan Palace last January 15, PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy acknowledged the challenge of leading the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) down to the barangay level, as well as other national policies and international commitments on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

“I think it’s very, very clear that despite our efforts, there is much to be done. And that we still have to work very hard so that we remain in the top 10 countries that are recognized as having pushed for gender equality and women empowerment,” she said, referring to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum. Although the Philippines slid to the 10th spot, the country maintains its ranking in Asia as the most gender-equal country.

With AmBisyon Natin 2040 underway, which represents the collective long-term vision and aspirations of Filipinos for the next 22 years, Bucoy noted that stronger convergence efforts among government and non-government partners and stakeholders are necessary in order for the Commission to help improve the lives of all women, especially those in the marginalized sectors. She further expressed hopes that before the term of President Duterte ends, the PCW would be able to widen its reach and create positive impact even at the barangay level.

PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa, on the other hand, recognized the crucial role of the Commission in bringing about change in the current socio-political context.

“Amidst all the violence, amidst all the discrimination, amidst the current misogynistic culture that is happening worldwide, PCW has remained to be a positive influence and I believe that each one of us here is part of bringing about that positive change,” Verzosa said.

The post-anniversary celebration was attended by PCW Commissioners from non-government organizations representing academe, the urban poor, labor and the National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP), staffers and representatives from  the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which are government agency members of the Commission.

Ms. Myrachelle Gay T. Santos from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS) who delivered an anniversary message on behalf of Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr.

“As women are considered the backbone of society, empowering a woman is like empowering the next generation of nation builders. Together, let us push forward for the advancement of the rights of the marginalized sector, achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”

By virtue of Executive Order No. 1, the PCW along with other agencies were placed under the supervision of the OCS to advance development goals and uplift the quality of life of all Filipinos through a holistic, convergent, and participatory approach to leadership and governance.

Setting the Agenda

Following the post-anniversary celebration, the PCW conducted a three-day Operational Planning Workshop on January 16 to 18 in Pasay City where the targets and plans of the Commission were presented and discussed.

Among the target priorities of the Commission this 2018 include the strengthening of PCW’s presence in the regions through partnerships and collaboration; establishing mechanisms to mainstream gender and development across five priority sectors; reinforcing advocacy efforts and lobbying of gender-sensitive policies to realize sustainable development for all; and engaging partnerships with the private sector and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to achieve greater results.

“We embrace 2018 with the hope for more meaningful changes within the organization. We hope that the Executive Order on strengthening the PCW will be approved to have a fulltime chairperson and allow PCW to expand regionally,” said Bucoy referring to the proposed EO enabling the PCW to establish regional offices in five pilot areas.

Formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the PCW was established by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 633 on January 7, 1975 to act as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet on policies and programs for the advancement of women.