Solidarity Walk Wraps Up 2019 18-Day Campaign to End VAW

The 2019 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) ends in a high note with a Solidarity Walk led by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Department of National Defense (DND), in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IACVAWC), Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere (MOVE), held on December 12, 2019 at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Around a thousand participants from different national government agencies participated in the event and walked the 3-KM route in the vicinity of the Lapu-Lapu Grandstand, wearing their orange shirts and doning their End VAW streamers and signs.

“Kilos Lakad: Wakasan ang Karahasan sa Kababaihan”, the solidarity walk will highlights the role of men in addressing the problem.

PCW Chairperson Dr. Rhodora M. Bucoy, in her opening message, encouraged the agencies and the law enforcers to continue their efforts towards achieving a VAW-free community.

“This Solidarity Walk is indeed very special as we are joined by the defense forces and law enforcement agencies who also play important role in the implementation of laws for the protection of women and girls. These laws, among others, include Anti-VAWC Law, Anti-Rape, and the recently passed Safe Spaces Act,” said Bucoy.

“May I call on you to be part in creating a VAW-free Philippines – a community where women and their children are empowered,” she added.

DND Undersecretary Cordozo M. Luna echoed this statement, encouraging everyone, especially men, to take proactive roles in the fight against VAW.

“Everyone of us who walked today have a mission: to advocate respect, love and peace. It is up to each one of us today to help each other stop all forms of violence in every form and in all levels. How? Be an advocate. Tell the perpetrator that catcalling, beating, online and actual sexual harassment, sexual abuse and inflicting pain, soliciting sex can be penalized. Report incidences to VAW desks in the barangays or in the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in our agencies for proper investigation and disposal of cases. If a person you know is a victim, encourage them to seek help and give moral support,” Luna enthused.

AFP reservists and actors Dingdong Dantes and Rocco Nacino, as well as professional volleyball player Melissa Gohing, joined the walk and showed their support for the campaign.

The participants also expressed their commitment to help end VAW through hand prints in the VAW-free wall and singing of the Community Song: Kumilos Mga Kalalakihan. Produced by the PCW in 2006 as a jingle for MOVE, the song is written by singer-composer Noel Cabangon. It calls on men to act and move together to end VAW.

Initiated by the PCW in year 2005, MOVE is a national movement of men who commit themselves to be actively involved in the elimination of VAW. MOVE members are men from various organizations, including the government, private sector, academe and non-government organizations.

The Philippine Commission on Women is the primary policy-making and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns. It works closely with the IACVAWC on efforts to address VAW in the country. The council was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), and is composed of twelve (12) agencies tasked to formulate programs and projects to eliminate VAW based on their respective mandates.

18-Day Campaign to End VAW

The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW is anchored on the Philippine government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women and girls by upholding its commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. Under the Republic Act 10398 or the Act declaring November 25 of every year as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of VAWC, government agencies are directed to raise awareness on the issue of violence and to free women and girls from its different forms.

Worldwide, the observance of this campaign starts on November 25, which is the International Day to Eliminate VAW up to December 10, which is the International Human Rights Day, to emphasize that VAW is a human rights violation. In 2002, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine Commission on Women and key stakeholders, joined the global campaign. In 2006, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 1172, extending the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including December 12, a historic date that marked the signing in the year 2000 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, to supplement the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes.

From 2016 to 2021, the campaign carries the theme “VAW-free community starts with Me”, which encourages everyone to contribute in the efforts to end VAW. This year’s campaign underscores the valuable role of individuals, especially the youth, in fighting violence against women and girls within various institutions.

The campaign is necessary because global estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that about 1 in 3 women (35%) worldwide has experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partner or non-partner in her lifetime. In the Philippines, the National Demographic Health Survey 2017 released by the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that 1 in 4 Filipino women, aged 15-49, has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence from their husband or partner.

This year’s activities also includes the Youth Forum on Violence Against Women and Girls, held on November 25, 2019 kicking off the campaign; Anti-VAW Expo 2019 held at the UP Diliman from November 27-29; Orange your Icon for 18 Days Advocacy Initiative, which aims to attract the general public’s curiosity on why major landmarks or iconic spots are orange in color, thereby providing opportunities for advocates to explain the anti-VAW advocacy; Film Showing of PCW’s recommended films on VAW; and the 18-Day Campaign Online Advocacy which includes the use of our official hashtags, #VAWFreePH and #iVowToEndVAW and the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW Facebook Profile Frame.