The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has reiterated its call for the public to report cases of gender-related abuse or violence even as the country continues to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the "Advisory on Women's Rights Amid COVID-19 Pandemic" which was shared on the Commission's Twitter account, Attorney IV Marjorie Legaspi said that the public should be "mindful of the current measures in place for the protection against COVID-19" as they report cases of abuse or violence.
These reports can be made at the nearest violence against women (VAW) desk office, local police, partner agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), local health centers, as well as non-government organizations that advance the protection of women, girls, children, and other vulnerable groups.
"It is our hope that during this crisis, everyone can work together in adopting gender-responsive and intersectional approaches and ensuring effective and prompt GBV (gender based violence) response," said Legaspi.
She said that disease outbreaks affect men and women differently and pandemics make existing inequalities for women and girls even worse.
Other marginalized groups, such as those suffering extreme poverty, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens, among many others, also suffer heavily in times of health crisis.
The CHR has called on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), provincial and local governments, the Philippine National Police (PNP), as well as the Inter-Agency Council on Violence against Women and Their Children (IACVAWC) to adopt gender-responsive and intersectional approach of concrete strategies to address incidents of GBV during the pandemic.
"Further, to address cases of gender-based violence during the community quarantine period, we urge the LGUs, the local police and partner agencies, to adopt a separate hotline to cater, respond, track reports and responses to GBV as well as ensure the functionality of the GBV Referral Mechanisms - including the identification of hospitals or clinics to provide medical examination without risk of exposure, and identification of other functional and existing shelters, legal assistance, and psychosocial services," the advisory read.
This advisory was made following the death of flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera on New Year's Eve.
Preliminary investigation by the police showed that the cause of death was due to ruptured aortic aneurysm.
"As one of the sectors who most experience abuse, the government must ensure that greater protection be accorded to women. In this regard, CHR stands for the protection of women in all fronts of life and echoes the call for justice for Christine Angelica Dacera," CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.