Violence and lack of access to healthcare are among the problems faced by women, according to the Center of Women’s Resources (CWR).
“Nakita natin na tumataas yung cases ng violence against women, children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)… Madalas yung underreporting kasi hindi madali ang mag-ulat ng karahasan na nararanasan (We have seen an increase in cases of violence against women, children, and LGBT. Underreported cases are also common because it’s not easy to report the violence they have experienced),” CWR Executive Director Cham Perez said during a virtual forum.
Perez underscored the importance of ensuring that the goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 5 or gender equality are achieved.
Set up by the United Nations in 2015, SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
One of the targets of SDG5 is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking, sexual, and other types of exploitation.
Citing data from the Philippine National Police-Women Children Protection Center, Perez said one woman is abused every 34 minutes, while one child is abused every 24 minutes.
Perez also noted that higher prevalence of abuse is seen among women with low income and education at 20 percent, compared to women with high income and education at 8.2 percent.
“Malaking factor yung kahirapan sa karanasan sa iba’t ibang porma ng pang-aabuso (Poverty is a big factor in experiencing various forms of abuse),” Perez said.
“Yung usapin ng impunity sa mga kaso ng abuses against women, children, and LGBT may kinalaman sya sa justice and pagiging maayos ng ating institutions to address yung abuses na nangyayari sa atin (The issue of impunity in cases of abuses against women, children, and LGBT has to do with the kind of justice system we have and the institutions responsible in addressing the abuses happening to women),” she added.
Limited access to healthcare
SDG5 also aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
“Even before the pandemic marami nang mga kababaihan yung limitado yung access sa sexual and reproductive services, therefore nasasagasaan yun rights nila kaugnay nito (Even before the pandemic, many women had limited access to sexual and reproductive services, therefore their rights were violated),” Perez said.
According to a 2019 report by the Philippine Statistical Yearbook, 2,600 Filipino women die each year from complications or childbirth.
“Hirap yung mga kababaihan na i-address yung complications na ito dahil yung mga low income women, they find it difficult to access healthcare na highly privatized (It’s hard for women to address these complications because low income women find it difficult to access highly privatized healthcare),” Perez said.
“Mas limitado [pa] ito ngayong pandemya dahil malaking bahagi yung budget and resources for health ay natuon doon sa pag-respond sa COVID kaya yung ibang services for women, including yung sexual and reproductive health services ay naiwan (Now amid the pandemic, access is more limited because a large part of the budget and resources for health are focused on responding to COVID-19, so other services for women, including sexual and reproductive health are left behind),” she added.
Ate laws created to protect women well-implemented?
Perez said there are already over 37 laws, executive orders, and administrative orders that aim to protect, promote, and fulfill women and girls’ rights.
However, she raised the need to look into its implementation and proposed amendments.
“Marami-rami nang batas na naipasa, pero ang gusto nating tingnan ay kung paano ito ini-implement (A lot of laws have already been passed, but what we want to look at is how they are implemented).”
Meanwhile, for GABRIELA Chairperson Gert Libang, the passage of many laws and resolutions for women “does not necessarily translate to gender equality and women empowerment,” especially when the implementation is “inconsistent and weak.”
“Kahit na yung mga batas na yan ay dagdagan mo nang dagdagan ay hindi ibig sabihin ay ma-attain yung SDG5. Yung implementation ang malaking problema (So even if we pass more laws, it won’t necessarily mean that we will attain SDG5. Implementation is our biggest problem),” Libang said.
“Even our 1986 Constitution says that the state recognizes the role of women in nation-building, that’s women’s participation and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. The lack of implementation is really our problem,” she stressed.