CHR presses Congress for swift passage of bills, amendments to laws to protect women’s rights

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) pressed Congress for the expeditious passage of bills and amendments to existing laws to promote women empowerment, and enhance and safeguard their human rights.

Among the new legislations being pushed by CHR are those on the decriminalization of abortion, the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression) Equality Bill, added protection for women and children against online abuse, and a law that would allow women and girls to access needed information and services of sexual and reproductive health rights without the need for third-party consent.

The CHR is also proposing amendments in Articles 14, 19, 96, 124, 211, and 225 of the Family Code; revision of the Revised Penal Code on adultery and concubinage; amendment to the Safe Spaces Act to provide penal provisions for persons committing gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace; and amendment of the Anti-Rape Law to specify lack of consent as the defining element in the crime of rape, and not “tenacious resistance” to the sexual act, as well as the repeal of the Forgiveness Clause.

A perusal of the Family Code showed that the amendments sought by the CHR involved those on ownership and disposition of community property of the spouses, parental authority, and effect of parental authority on the property of the children. The CHR, however, did not specify its desired amendments in its statement.

The CHR said the passage of key bills and amendments to existing laws to promote women empowerment and safeguard their human rights would now be expeditious since the leadership of the House of Representative (HOR) has shown expressions of support for women solons and their legislative agenda.

The CHR recalled that during the organizational meeting of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI), House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez made a commitment to collaborate with women legislators in championing the agenda of women and in addressing gender gaps.

The AWLFI is a bloc composed of all women legislators in the lower house of Congress which seeks to ensure that the legislative agenda envisioned to strengthen the position of women and the welfare of children is deliberated and acted upon in the HOR.

"Matched with AWLFI’s commitment, CHR is hopeful that the supportive remarks of the HOR leadership will translate to the expeditious passage of key bills that promote the empowerment of women, as well as other vulnerable sectors," CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann De Guia said.

In doing so, De Guia said that the government will be able to help eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

"As Gender Ombud, CHR is always ready and willing to work with both the HOR and the Senate in pursuing human rights and gender-responsive laws," she said.

"CHR looks forward to working with lawmakers, including AWLFI, in realizing our role as an advisor and partner of government in crafting responsive laws that best respond to the lived realities of the weak, disadvantaged, and marginalized sectors in the country," she added.