The City of Manila now has a Gender and Development (GAD) code that will protect and ensure equality among all genders with the signing of a city ordinance.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday (Nov. 10) signed Ordinance No. 8681 (the Gender and Development Code of the City of Manila) in line with the city’s goal to be “the best gender-responsive government unit in the Philippines.”
“Women and other genders in the society shall be recognized as full and equal partners of men in development and nation-building and men shall share equality with all forms of productive and reproductive activities,” the ordinance read.
“The city government shall pursue and implement vigorously gender-responsive development policies, design and integrate specific gender support system, take into consideration women’s and girls’ right to economic survival, political participation, self-determination and personal empowerment,” it added.
Protection from abuse, harassment
The Manila GAD Code protects women and all other genders against violence, sexual abuse, battering, trafficking, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, pedophilia, commercial exploitation and other forms of harassment.
It also mandates the city government to provide comprehensive support to survivors of violence, which includes immediate conduct of investigations, free counseling and medical services, and creation of community-based psychological programs and support groups, among others.
Women Crisis Centers in key districts in Manila will also be established.
Government, labor, and education
The ordinance provides that at least one third of barangay officials and members of the city development council for gender and development are women “in recognition of their considerable leadership and involvement.”
It also assures residents of increased paternity and maternity leave benefits as incentives for fathers and breastfeeding mothers in the private sector. There will also be an increase in reproductive health benefits for women.
Orientations on sexual harassment, setting up of grievance committees in government and private offices, equal access to job training and promotions, barangay-based house-help support, as well as facilities and support system for women, will be regularly conducted following the passage of the ordinance.
All teachers in the capital city will also have to undergo gender sensitivity training. The city government is also pushing schools to craft gender-sensitive curriculum, education programs, and services.
Gender-responsive livelihood skills and training seminars will be made available to all residents in the city, regardless of their gender.
The ordinance highlights that the city government “shall respect and promote a rights-based approach” to women and men’s health, as well as respect for women’s control over their bodies to attain healthy sexual development.
The Manila GAD Code also provides for the creation of child-friendly and gender-responsive child daycare centers in every barangay.
All media institutions based in Manila is mandated by the city government to be “sensitive in portrayal of women’s and men’s role, encourage positive images of women, and discourage sexist and homophobic print and materials and broadcast programs.”
The city government shall also form a special committee of jurors to select the most gender-responsive film at the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.
The GAD Focal Point System, composed of an Executive Committee, a Technical Working Group, and a Secretariat with members from the city government, will be activated to ensure the proper implementation of the ordinance.