Philippine Commission on Women and Spanish Agency ink project to reduce gender disparities

Emphasizing the results of a 2005 review on the implementation of commitments made by governments and international agencies that says discrimination against women is “far from being eradicated.” His Excellency Jorge Domecq, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, together with Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) General Coordinator Vicente Sellés Zaragozí, formalized the AECID partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) on the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) on March 13. The three-year project has a budget of 1.5 million euros.

PCW Chairperson Remedios Rikken said the “Institutional Strengthening of National and Local Governance on Human Rights and Economic Empowerment with a Gender Focus: Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women” focuses on the convergence of support by the national government agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, and private sector.

Citing that PCW is a “very small organization but with a tremendous responsibility,” Rikken said the AECID project comes at a very crucial period. “The MCW needs to be explained and advocated for, and national government agencies and local government units need to be assisted to execute their obligations under the law,” Rikken said.

“Spain and Philippines are real partners for development in terms of common goals of poverty alleviation, reduction of inequality and promotion of inclusive development,” Ambassador Domecq said. He emphasized that gender equality should be a “real political priority” as it is fundamental in having a “modern, democratic state committed to justice and solidarity.”

The PCW-AECID project, Rikken said, is giving PCW the opportunity to improve its capacity to fulfill its mandate under the MCW, which is to monitor, evaluate and report on the implementation of its various provisions. The three project components are capacity development of PCW; capacity development of oversight national government agencies, local government units, and non-government organizations; and strengthening local and national convergence models of support and services for women’s economic empowerment and human rights.

Selles said the Philippine Government is responsible for designing and defining strategies to correct gender inequalities. In fluent Filipino he said, “Ang papel ng kababaihan sa pag-unlad ng Pilipinas ay napakahalaga para sa Cooperación Español. Kung walang kababaihan, hindi uunlad ang kinabukasan. Sa usaping ito, marami pa kaming maaring matutunan sa inyo,” (The role of women in Philippine development is very important for the Spanish Cooperation. There is no future without women. We have a lot to learn from you in this area of concern.)Sellés said.

The PCW-AECID Project will partner with oversight agencies — NEDA, DBM, DILG, CSC and CHED and with the provinces of Albay, Aklan, Iloilo, Mindoro Oriental, Sarangani and Surigao del Norte.

Rikken said she is hopeful that the AECID partnership will contribute in making the MCW provisions a reality to the women and men in the communities.