The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) batted Monday, March 1. for the inclusion of women’s issues and concerns in the government’s development agenda.
Undersecretary Luzviminda C. Ilagan, who served as the DSWD-Gender and Development (GAD) chairperson, made this call during the virtual kick off of the National Women’s Month celebration this March.
“As Chair of the Inter-Agency Council on Violence against Women and their children, the DSWD has called for the inclusion of women’s issues and concerns in the development agenda of the government. The same call continues to reverberate as we endeavour to ensure that the reforms the government espouses will work for both women and men,” she said.
“This is based on the assumption that real change can be achieved only when women and men worked together to foster an environment that is empowering to all male, female and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer).”
The former Gabriela partylist representative noted that this year’s theme focuses on women’s active involvement in battling coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It is different from previous years’ themes because it is set in the COVID-19 pandemic background which has posed both challenges and opportunities to women. This year’s observance highlights women’s participation in battling the pandemic as well as looking into the gender issues exacerbated by this pandemic,” Ilagan said.
She said the objective of this year’s celebration is to inform and engage women as stakeholders of government programs and services to promote “citizens-centered governance.”
She said it is about time for all concerned stakeholders to look into the gender issues that emerged and became more prominent during the health crisis.
The DSWD is set to conduct a national orientation for its personnel on Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act of 2019, popularly known as the Bawal Bastos Act.
The national orientation will be done via virtual forum with Atty. Twyla Rubin from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as resource person.
“DSWD believes that creating safe spaces in the community and even inside individual homes is also key in the continuing fight against the effects of the pandemic, where all are still advised to go out only for important reasons.”
A landmark legislation, the Safe Spaces Act of 2019 aims to protect all individuals from sexual harassment in physical or online spaces. It mandates the establishment of a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in offices.
As part of the Women’s Month celebration, the DSWD will hold a webinar on Women Survivors of Gender-Based Sexual Harassment to raise the awareness of the employees on CODI of DSWD.
“The activity will ensure that employees will continue to provide efficient public service, and be mindful that their actions and always nurture a safe and respectful atmosphere.”
An online workshop entitled “MAPAbabae 2021: #ChooseToChallenge Gender Inequality in Open Mapping” is also scheduled. It will be participated in by various organizations such as the GeoLadiesPH, MapBeks, Mental Health aWHEREness, and OpenStreetMap Philippines.
The workshop will provide competencies in mapping features, especially those that cater to the needs of the women and LGBTQ sectors and will also feature women who lead in mapping and responding in times of the pandemic, the DSWD said.
“The DSWD vows to continue to initiate activities that will enable women to develop their full potentials even amid the global health crisis.”