PCW holds validation session of plan for women for 2013-2016

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), in partnership with other national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs) and civil society groups, cooks up a “cutting edge” roadmap to address women’s issues. It is called the Women’s Empowerment, Development, and Gender Equality Plan for 2013-2016, or simply Women’s EDGE Plan.

“It fulfills President Aquino’s Social Contract No. 13 on the promotion of equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policy and programs,” PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa said during the Women’s EDGE Validation Session on February 1 held at the National Center for Geriatric Health in Manila.

Consistent with the provisions of RA 9710 (Magna Carta of Women), the Women’s EDGE Plan provides the means to achieve gender-focused goals and objectives and defines the responses appropriate for government. It is also the gender equality guiding plan for the Philippine Development Plan 2011 – 2016. It will serve as basis for the gender and development (GAD) plans and budgets of government agencies for the next three years.

Among the priority sectoral concerns covered are: formal labor, migrant workers, health and nutrition, education, protection and access to justice, environment and climate change, empowerment in the civil service, and leadership in politics and governance. Concerns of women and girls with disabilities, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons (LGTBs), indigenous peoples, Muslim Filipino women and girls, and senior citizens are also included in the Plan.

According to Verzosa, while PCW serves as the oversight agency for gender equality and women empowerment, NGAs, LGUs and civil society groups are the implementers of the Plan. “We gathered you here today so you can set the achievable targets. At the end of 2016, we should be able to report to the President how the gender disparities have been bridged,” Verzosa stressed.

Meanwhile, National Center for Geriatric Health Hospital Chief Dr. Miguel Ramos noted that issues of elderly people should be given attention. “There is no law that covers elderly abuse,” he said. Ramos also added that women have longer life expectancy than men (70-73 versus 67-68) but elderly women face the issue of living alone. “The Center looks forward to a partnership with PCW to advance the issues of senior citizens,” he said.

UN WOMEN Philippine National Coordinator Jeannie Manipon said the “participatory and inclusive” process of the writing the Women’s EDGE Plan “strengthens ownership of the Plan by the duty bearers and claim holders.” The activity is supported by UN WOMEN though the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).