PCW statement on the retirement of Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa and on the call for the new ED

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) expresses its most heartfelt gratitude to its retired Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa for her dynamic, passionate, and committed leadership for almost 18 years.

Verzosa, who turned 65 on August 3, 2019 was honored by the PCW officials and employees and fellow Gender and Development (GAD) advocates during the 10th anniversary of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) on August 14 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

PCW life

Verzosa initially worked as Special Assistant to then Executive Director Remedios I. Rikken in 1987. In September 2001, she went back to the Commission where she was appointed as Deputy Executive Director and as Executive Director the following year, under the Chairpersonship of Prof. Aurora Javate de Dios. She thereafter worked with Chairpersons Myrna T. Yao (2004-2010), Remedios I. Rikken (2010-2016), and Rhodora M. Bucoy (2016 to present) towards achieving of gender equality and women’s empowerment in all fields, both at the local, national, and international arena.

During her term, the Commission together with the women’s movement in the Philippines and key government institutions successfully lobbied for the enactment of the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda. These laws include the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208, then expanded under RA 10364), the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act (RA 9262), the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710), the Kasambahay Law (RA 10361), the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RA 10354), the Decriminalization of Premature Marriage (RA 10655), the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA 11210), and Safe Spaces Act (RA 11313) among others.

A Gender and Development (GAD) specialist, Verzosa, together with her technical team at the PCW, also led the implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy in the entire bureaucracy resulting in more gender-responsive programs, projects and services in the social, economic, environmental,  peace and security spheres.

Verzosa also represented the PCW in various inter-agency and project advisory or steering committees, establishing and maintaining partnerships and networks for gender equality.

Call for the New ED

In view of Verzosa’s retirement, the PCW Board of Commissioners has undertaken the screening of qualified applicants for the new PCW Executive Director.

In the Call for Application released by the PCW Board of Commissioners on July 12, the Board emphasized that the incoming Executive Director must have a wealth of knowledge on GAD and strong commitment to upholding women’s rights. Filling a career executive position (CES) position, it is preferred that the incoming PCW executive director satisfies the requirements of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) for such positions.

“The incoming Executive Director has a tremendous responsibility. Aside from managing the day-to-day operations of the office, she is expected to think strategically and critically to ensure that the mandates of the PCW are fulfilled. Retired ED Verzosa has served government with competence and integrity.  She has always been at the forefront of policy advocacies of PCW, challenging social norms and transforming mindsets towards Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE),” PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy noted.

Sustaining the gains of Filipino Women

Filipino women have been at the forefront of promoting women’s rights, both at the national and international levels. The 1970’s is a milestone decade, with the establishment of the Commission in January 1975, and the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979.

Filipino diplomat Leticia Ramos Shahani prepared the first draft of the CEDAW. Four Filipinas have served as CEDAW Experts: the late Justice Irene Cortez as Vice-Chair from 1982 to 1986; Teresita Quintos-Deles from 1991 to 1994; Aurora Javate-De Dios from 1995 to 1998; and Ambassador Rosario Manalo from 1999 to 2006 and 2017-2020.  As expert members of the CEDAW committee, they conduct constructive dialogues or ‘revalidas’ with UN member states presenting their progress reports on how they have respected, protected and fulfilled women’s rights in accordance with CEDAW.

“The PCW is tasked to monitor and prepare periodic reports on the country’s implementation of the Convention, and the PCW Executive Director leads the agency in the participatory process of formulating these reports. The Philippines’ 9th periodic report is due for submission in July 2020,” Bucoy added.

The voices of the diverse range of women’s groups at the national and local levels and the reports of the government agencies responsible for implementing various provision of CEDAW are considered in putting together the report.

“May the principles of meritocracy and excellence be taken into consideration in appointing the next PCW Executive Director so that the gains that we have reaped will be sustained and further advanced in the years to come,” she concluded.