PCW, NAPC, NAPC Women Council ink deal towards gender mainstreaming and efforts to address violence against women and their children 

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), and the NAPC Women Council endeavor to boost efforts in mainstreaming gender and assessing anti-Violence Against Women law implementation. In time with the 2022 National Women’s Month Celebration, the parties signed the partnership agreement in a virtual online ceremony held on March 30, 2022.

PCW Chairperson Sandra Sanchez-Montano delivered the Welcome Message and relayed how the partnership developed through initial discussions last April 2021.

“This partnership is a culmination of initial consultations between PCW, NAPC, and NAPC Women council since April 2021, towards the implementation of NAPC-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular 2004-01 that identifies the support of lead and partner agencies that may be provided to the basic sectors. As such, the PCW should allocate at least 1 Million Peso administrative or institutional requirements consistent with our mandate as a policy-making for women and girls concern and oversight agency in the implementation of the Republic Act 9710 or otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women,” Chair Sanchez-Montano said.

Mr. Macario T. Jusayan, Chief Gender and Development (GAD) Specialist of PCW’s Sectoral Coordination Division (SCD), elaborated on the core provisions and the parties’s roles and responsibilities under the agreement as well as the details of the two main projects: the PCW and NAPC Multi-Stakeholders Sectoral Conference on GAD and the Assessment of the Anti-VAWC Act (RA 9262).

The Multi-Stakeholders Sectoral Conference aims to engage different sectors and explore various dimensions by engaging the civil society, academe, international organizations, private sector, and stakeholders from the grassroots level towards a holistic governance approach where no Juana is left behind. Good practices on gender mainstreaming will be shared and collated to serve as a guide in developing and enforcing gender-responsive and inclusive programs/projects among the four priority sectors of PCW: Women’s Economic Empowerment, Education, Peace and Security, and Environment.

As to the full-blown assessment of RA 9262, this seeks to “review the efforts and interventions of the duty bearers at national, regional and local levels to document and take stocks of significant accomplishments, good practices, challenges, and lessons learned in the implementation of the law,” Mr. Jusayan shared. Seventeen years since the law was passed, the assessment can aid in recommending possible points of improvement in terms of implementation. Various methods will also be utilized in this project, including key informant interviews, focus group discussions, review of RA 9262 cases, survey on knowledge and awareness of VAW, and a survey on client satisfaction. This will greatly help in providing adequate and gender-sensitive response and services to VAW survivors.

The agreement was signed by PCW Executive Director and CEO, Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves for PCW, NAPC Undersecretary Penelope Belmonte as witness and representative of Secretary Noel Felongco, and Ms. Aurora R. Chavez-De Guzman for NAPC Women Sectoral Council, as witnessed by PCW SCD Chief Mr. Macario Jusayan and Ms. Celia Flor.

In her message, ED Yuzon-Chaves expressed PCW’s commitment to accomplish the responsibilities laid down in the agreement.

“I would like to express PCW’s commitment as the national authority on gender equality and women’s empowerment to collaborate with NAPC and NAPC Women Council for the success of these projects. We know that there is a need to prioritize addressing gender issues and concerns faced by women belonging to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors such as indigenous women, rural women, urban poor, women/girls with disabilities, among others,” ED Yuzon-Chaves assured.

For NAPC’s part, Secretary Felongco expressed a call to action as “we need to do more, converge more and engage more so that we could ultimately eradicate all forms of discrimination, gender inequality and poverty.”

“Gender equality is a universal and basic human right that is a fundamental condition to eradicate poverty and to achieve a dynamic and sustainable Development,” Sec. Felongco enthused.

Ms. Aurora R. Chavez-De Guzman hopes that the parties can translate the commitment on paper to realities that will impact the lives of women.

“Let’s continue our collaboration and make this tripartite agreement functional to bring about a better normal towards sustainable communities and of course, to empower the citizens, especially women,” Ms. Chavez-De Guzman said.

Wrapping up the session, NAPC Undersecretary Belmonte echoed the need for strong ties among agencies and institutions in this path towards gender equality and poverty reduction.

“As a humble worker of the people serving at the NAPC tasked to ensure that the government’s social reforms and poverty alleviation agenda are effectively implemented to benefit the poor, I espouse initiatives for agencies partnering with the basic sectors in achieving common objectives, especially those championing the protection of the marginalized.” Usec. Belmonte shared.

The agreement commenced on March 30 and will terminate on 30 June 2023.