PCW celebrates 47th anniversary: Driven and Proven, Soaring High Towards its Golden Year

Starting the year on a hopeful note, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) celebrated its 47th founding anniversary on January 7, 2022, with the theme “Driven and Proven: Soaring High towards its Golden Year”.

Opening the virtual event, Chairperson Sandra Sanchez-Montano commended the PCW workforce for remaining motivated and set the goals for 2022 including: eliminating Violence Against Women (VAW), advancing the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan, influencing policy makers on the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda, integrating gender in environmental concerns, among others. 

“This year, we will face trials again and face challenges that will test our determination to fight for gender equality and mainstreaming, and the upliftment of women’s status in the society… Hard work, loyalty, and diligence are the cornerstones of great employees. Through the years, your abilities and efforts have put PCW to where it is today.” said Chair Montano.

Driven by passion

For 47 years, the PCW has been a driving force in steering the nation towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. On January 7, 1975, the PCW (formerly National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women) was created by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 633, acting as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet on policies and programs for the advancement of women. 

In her message, PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves said the PCW has been “true to its mission in creating an enabling environment for government and other stakeholders to be more responsive in achieving GEWE” and how it has been “instrumental in lobbying gender-responsive policies and laws and institutionalizing Gender and Development (GAD) in the bureaucracy.”

Gracing the event as the guest of honor, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año highlighted the gains achieved in changing society’s perspectives about women and PCW’s role in it.

“We see Filipinas exercising their right to vote, trailblazing innovations in the academe and workplace, taking the decisive actions in their respective organizations, representing our nation during the Olympics, and becoming the brave heroines in the face of disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. Sila na ngayon ay kinikilala bilang mga pasimuno ng mga pagbabago hindi lamang sa larangan ng sining at agham, kundi rin sa pampublikong serbisyo at unipormadong hanay… This of course was no walk in the park for many of gender-equality’s staunch advocates because it took years for us to reach this far… In fact, our very own Philippine Commission on Women has been a pioneer in upscaling the quality of life of Filipinas, especially during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Secretary Año .

Indeed, the pandemic has been challenging but amidst the uncertainty, women have emerged as harbingers of change. Speaking at the anniversary celebration, Department of Health Spokesperson, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Clarissa Singh Vergeire, underscored the essential part of PCW  in promoting women’s rights, especially amidst the pandemic.

“We thank the entirety of the Philippine Commission for Women for continuously capacitating our women, the leaders, and changemakers of tomorrow. Your untiring efforts to empower women to be more proactive in different fields bring attention to existing issues that women continue to face in this country and encourage ardent participation in social initiatives… I encourage every Juana to take on this challenge and be women of action, not just in the COVID-19 pandemic but in the society as a whole. Let us continue to challenge cultural and institutional barriers that undervalue women and limit our opportunities, and prove to the world that just as men, we can also spark everlasting impacts to the world,” she said.

She also laid down key advocacies we have to strengthen: adequate support to women frontliners, addressing unpaid care work, advocating for family-friendly policies, preventing VAW and providing mechanisms to address cases, protecting sexual and reproductive health rights, ensuring the participation of women in decision-making and the availability of gender data.

Proven at 47

But amidst all the challenges, the Commission has proven to be committed to its vision and mission.

From a small team of 15 in the 70’s, we grew to a strong force of over 130 advocates, both plantilla and contract of services. Driven by the passion for the cause of women, the Commission pursued and promoted social legislations for women, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized, strengthened measures to address discrimination, sexism, and misogyny, and guided agencies and partners  in their endeavors in providing gender-responsive programs and projects.

The PCW recognized employees who serve as the foundation of all the agency’s milestones.  Below is the roster of awardees per category:

“Gawad Director Award” for demonstrating exceptional character, outstanding performance, consistency, good values, strong initiative, and leadership: Cecile B. Gutierrez, Rose Jean M. Mayrena, and Rya Marshanel G. Reyes.

“Gawad ng Empleyado Award” for strong leadership, timely decision-making, effective conflict resolution and unerring dedication to promote, protect, and respect the rights, dignity, and welfare of PCW employees: Cecile B. Gutierrez

“Exemplary Behavior Award and “Grace Under Pressure Award” for demonstrating exemplary service and conduct on the basis of her observance of the PCW Core Values and manifesting grace, firmness, consistency of action, and remaining focused in times of stress and pressure at work: Dominique R. Reario

“Most Active Award” for or actively leading PCW HRMDS activities, and demonstrating outstanding teamwork and cooperation, which resulted in the successful achievement of the goal and output of the section: Rose Jean M. Mayrena.

“Good Office Management Award for demonstrating the 5S Principles of Housekeeping (Sorting, Set in Order, Shine, Systematize, and Sustain): Corporate Affairs and Information Resource Management Division.

“COS of the Year” Award for displaying and manifesting strong initiative, hard work, dedication, teamwork, and working on duties and responsibilities beyond expectations and requirements: Adelaida T. Navarro

“Contractual Personnel of the Year” for being a consistent performer and an asset not just to GREAT Women Project but to the entire organization: Maria Crisedna S. Magsumbol

“Attitude is Everything Award for showing positive character, good behavior, and optimism towards work: Rochelle G. Lopez and Bianca Victoria O Aljibe.

“Most Promising PCW Personnel Awardfor actively organizing, participating in, and representing PCW in various events and meetings for the year 2021: Nicole Trisha F. Panganiban

Gender Catalyst Individual Award for pursuing catalytic actions in forging sectoral partnerships towards narrowing the gender gaps in the Women, Peace & Security and Environment Sectors: Marianne Kristine V. Delgado.

“Gender Catalyst Team Award” for the team’s immense contribution towards expanding GAD knowledge through timely and innovative GAD webinars which ensured the provision of responsive technical assistance and delivery of GAD capacity development amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: Technical Services and Regional Coordination Division.

“Extra Mile Award” for manifesting strong initiative, hard work, dedication and teamwork and for displaying commitment to her work beyond expectations and requirements: Virginia Q. Acuña 

“PCW Frontliner Award” for continuously providing service and support during the imposition of quarantine measures period despite the risks of exposure to the COVID 19: Administrative and Finance Division (AFD)

Loyalty Awards:

35th year – Virginia Q. Acuña

25th year – Jonathan A. Pascual

10th year – Clarita C. Padayao

10th year – Marianne Kristine V. Delgado

5th year – Lolita E. Etrata

5th year – Rose Jean M. Mayrena

5th year – Elizabeth B. Omas-as

5th year – Kimberly Anne E. Teodoro

5th year – Pent Elyria Dawn V. Liongson

ED Yuzon-Chaves honored all PCW awardees and employees referring to them as PCW’s “most valuable assets and real movers.”

“This will not be possible without the hard work and perseverance of the public servants working in PCW who are striving to develop competence and expertise and deliver services through efficient, inclusive, and innovative processes. The Commission cannot live by its core values without your commitment,” Atty. Yuzon-Chaves said.

One of PCW’s major successes in recent years is the implementation of the Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in the Philippines (GREAT Women Project 2), funded by the Canadian government.

In the tribute for the GREAT Women Project, its former managers, Mr. Roy Dimayuga and Ms. Luvy Villanueva, looked back at the journey of the project since its inception in 2015. Throughout the years, the project reached heights in improving competitiveness and sustainability of women’s micro enterprises and creating an enabling environment for WEE, helping 831 WMEs with 15,734 employees, with some reporting improved sales, assets, and practices.

As it draws to a close in March 2022, current PM, Ms. Grace Pedragosa, shared that more than the figures of accomplishments, “it is more gratifying to see the faces of transformed WMEs and it is also more heartwarming to listen to the testimonies of women about their journey towards economic empowerment.”

“What better way to promote gender equality, specifically women economic empowerment than being at the forefront of the action, closely working with women themselves, addressing their needs right there and then, and utilizing the learnings and experiences to adjust projects, activities, approaches, policies, and decisions,” she added.

Soaring high towards its Golden Year

The PCW will remain driven and proven as it soars high towards its golden year. As it faces another year of service, DILG Undersecretary for Mindanao Affairs and Special Concerns Marjorie Jalosjos, looks forward to working with PCW in providing gender-responsive recovery from the pandemic and other crises.

“2022 is also the new year where we can establish and continue to push our agenda in shaping an equal and gender-responsive pandemic recovery. Multiple events will also be anticipated such as the Commission on the Status of Women, where achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes will be highlighted. This is significant as the Philippines is prone to typhoons and other natural disasters; an example is the latest Typhoon Odette, which struck our fellow Filipinos in Visayas and Mindanao,” she said.

Another speaker at the anniversary, Ms. Melan Sayutin, Sigay nu mga Babai President, manifested her hopes that the government will continue to address the concerns of internally-displaced women in Mindanao, combat gender-based violence, promote women’s empowerment and security, encourage women in leadership and community action towards a lasting peace in the Bangsamoro.

Secretary Año also encouraged PCW to continue working towards GEWE and GAD, promoting equal opportunities for women and women’s leadership and participation in decision-making, spreading awareness on family planning, and ending discrimination and inequalities, among others.

Indeed, the Philippine Commission on Women will continue to grow as an institution, driven by our twin advocacies of gender equality and women’s empowerment, remaining proven amidst adversities, towards our 50th year.  

In the words of Secretary Año, “Let us empower Pinays not just for the sake of one gender, but rather for the sake of the entire Filipino nation and the future we have long aspired for. Hand in hand, let us unshackle Filipinas from the grips of discrimination and open doors for them so that we can all live freely, purposefully, and peacefully—for a better, just and equitable Philippine society.”