Assistant Majority Leader, Rizal 2nd district Rep. Fidel Nograles prodded the House leadership on Sunday to act on his proposed bill which seeks to expand the coverage of Republic Act (RA) No.9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.
“I urge my colleagues to pass the Anti-Violence Against Partners and their Children bill so that we can help protect victims of domestic violence, who are increasing by the day because of the pandemic,” Nograles said.
“Huwag po natin hayaang nakabinbin ang panukalang makakatulong para maprotektahan sila (Let’s not delay the bill that would help protect them),” the lawyer-congressman said, referring to House Bill (HB) No.4888, or the Anti-Violence Against Partners and their Children (Anti-VAPC) bill.
Nograles noted that domestic abuse is already prevalent in the country even before the COVID-19 pandemic began this year. According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), one in four Filipino women aged 15 to 49 has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence by their husband or partner.
Meanwhile, a UNFPA-commissioned study by the UP (University of the Philippines) Population Institute projected around 12,100 cases of physical and/or sexual violence against married women per month due to the community quarantine.
The report added that 144,000 women aged 15 to 49 are experiencing sexual or physical violence by their husbands or partners. It also said that many are less likely to seek help or report such cases to authorities.
The Nograles bill also seeks to include as an act of violence the creation of fake social media accounts to sow intrigue and inflict harm.
“Any act of violence perpetuated as hate crimes against partners and their children would also be considered a special aggravating circumstance, which would impose the maximum penalty on the violator,” the measure stated.