Women’s Legislative Agenda for the 14th Congress
A signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) including its Optional Protocol, the Philippine is duty-bound to systematically and continuously implement all the provisions of the Treaty. The United Nations (UN) CEDAW Committee, in its Concluding Comments to the Combined 5th and 65h Philippine Progress Report on the Implementation of the CEDAW, urged the Philippine Government to, among others:
- Enact a comprehensive legal framework for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, specifically to ensure the Convention’s applicability and/or translation into the national legal system, and review and revise discriminatory provisions in existing national legislation;
- Strengthen the national machinery for the advancement of women and provide it with the authority, decision-making power and human and financial resources necessary to work effectively to promote gender equality;
- Take appropriate measures to suppress the exploitation of prostitution of women, including through the discouragement of the demand for prostitution;
- Accelerate women’s equal participation in political and public life and ensure that the representation of women in political and public bodies reflect the full diversity of the population;
- Enhance women’s access to health care, including reproductive health services, to address high maternal mortality rates, fertility rates, and inadequate family planning services; and
- Adopt effective measures in the formal labor market to eliminate occupational segregation, narrow and close the wage gap between women and men, and enhance the situation of women in the informal economy.
The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), established through Presidential Decree 633 to be the Philippine machinery for the advancement of women, is the advisory body to the President on women and gender concerns. As the lead agency that monitors the implementation of CEDAW in the country, the NCRFW has laid down its Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda (WPLA) for the 14th Congress. The WPLA is primarily anchored on the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (PPGD), Framework Plan for Women (FPW), and the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), particularly its Concluding Comments.
The WPLA specifically seeks to repeal the discriminatory provisions of existing laws as well as formulate and adopt new legislations that promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. It likewise applies the norms and standards set out by CEDAW through sustained advocacy for the passage of the following proposed legislations:
- Magna Carta of Women
- Marital Infidelity
- Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Management
- Kasambahay (Household Workers)
- Local Sectoral Representation
This sustained legislative advocacy seeks to: (a) increase public awareness and understanding of the issues of women that need legislative intervention/action; (b) gain the support of legislators and stakeholders for the passage of the WPLA; (c) produce more champions for the WPLA in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; and (d) extend the network of WPLA advocates to include other stakeholders.