By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo urged Filipinos anew to take on the challenge to stand up against gender-based violence and other abuses in the country.
Robredo, a longtime time advocate of women’s rights, emphasized the need to provide avenues for women to speak out against violence and get the assistance they need.
“Each one of us is called to go beyond lip service, and be more proactive in championing the cause of making our spaces not only safe for women, but conducive to their success,” she said.
“Let us work together in ending gender-based violence in this part of the world, and enabling both men and women to unlock their fullest potential,” Robredo stressed.
The Vice President spoke at the launch of the #RespetoNaman campaign held Monday night at the Quezon City Reception House, where she holds office.
Robredo’s office partnered with the Embassy of Sweden in Manila, UN Women, SPARK! Philippines, and Empower, for the campaign that aims to empower women to stand up against all forms of gender-based violence.
She praised other online campaigns that also raise awareness and end violence against women, among which include #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the #DontTellMeHowToDress movement.
The highest ranking woman in government cited last year’s Global Gender Gap Report that showed Philippines is better off in terms of gender equality.
But while women in the country have taken great strides in their fight for gender equality, they still face job discrimination and suffer physical and sexual violence.
On social media, Robredo said women were still being subjected to vicious attacks.
Before she entered politics, Robredo worked with non-government organization Saligan, which helps abused women. Now she is the vice president, her advocacies include women empowerment.
In her flagship anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, Robredo’s office links women across the country with private partners that provide them with livelihood opportunities.
Beyond calling on women to fight for their rights, she has spearheaded a program that provides training to Filipino women from Mindanao provinces on how to become entrepreneurs.
The Office of the Vice President also has a partnership with the University of the Philippines Center for Women and Gender Studies called “Angat Bayi” (Lift Women Up), a program that seeks to improve the capacity of women political leaders.
“We hope to replicate and bring these programs to many other places where our women are waiting for help to come,” said Robredo.