MANILA -- More than 200 participants joined the United Nations Women Philippines and the Belgium Embassy in Manila during a cycling event campaigning for the elimination of violence against women in the Philippines on Friday.
Despite the rain, Belgian Ambassador Michel Goffin, Philippine Commission on Women executive director Emmeline Versoza, together with activists and human rights defenders cycled their way inside the walled-city sporting bright orange shirts to commemorate the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on November 25.
Orange is the color designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize "a brighter future without violence."
Expecting only a few dozens to attend, Goffin was satisfied at the turnout of the embassy-led event, “Pedal Your Way Towards A Violence-Free World for Women and Girls.”
"We are proud to have so many people in orange. At first, I was saying we'd be happy with 30 people, now we have 200 registered," he said.
Belgium has dedicated its efforts and resources to combat gender-based violence as it considers the issue as an essential element in the equality between women and men.
Citing the 2017 Philippine Statistics Authority's National Demographic and Health Survey, Versoza said 24 percent of Filipino women aged 15 to 45 have experienced physical, sexual, and emotional violence committed by their husbands or partners.
"They've been doing this survey since 2008 and the figure then was 29 percent, so from 29 to 24, that's not a lot, that's very slow, therefore we need such campaigns rallying different groups to join this campaign," she said.
"The numbers give us an alarming figure, and this continues to happen," she added. "We should stand up and say no to this feudal macho culture." (PNA)