MANILA – The Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) on Wednesday held a forum to further strengthen the government's efforts to combat violence against women.
The OSG-TIEZA Inter-Agency VAW Forum was part of the observation of the annual 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) and girls from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12 as mandated by Proclamation 1172 signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.
During the forum at the TIEZA Multi-Purpose Hall in Pasay City, Assistant Solicitor-General Arleen Reyes said partnerships with various agencies, particularly with those engaged in law enforcement, is crucial to boost the government's campaign for a VAW-free bureaucracy.
“After effective advocacy and information sharing, each agency can then enforce their respective mandates, spot the gaps in preventing and combating VAW, and advocate for reinforcements like legislation, more partnerships, and conduct of similar activities," she said.
“By actively participating in the 18-day campaign, we found an avenue to share actual cases that we handled as a form of awareness to prevent the commission of these crimes or recommend ways to battle against them," she added.
TIEZA Assistant Chief Operating Officer for Architecture and Engineering Services Sector Gregory Oller said TIEZA intends to collaborate with other organizations in the tourism sector to extend the impact of the campaign.
“We are open to forming partnerships with women’s rights groups, educational institutions, government agencies, and businesses to create a united front against violence,” he said in his opening remarks.
He said TIEZA plans to use its online presence, including social media channels and its website, to disseminate information, share resources, and raise VAW awareness.
He said they will also explore partnerships with media outlets and influencers to broaden the reach of their campaign messages.
“TIEZA recognizes the urgency of addressing violence against women and we are committed to leveraging our resources and platforms to amplify the message of the 18-day campaign,” he said.
He said TIEZA will continuously develop educational programs and workshops that focus on preventing violence even beyond the 18-day VAW campaign.
Gender sensitivity training
Meanwhile, National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Commissioner Beatrice Aurora Vega-Cancio said the commission has undertaken several initiatives such as bolstering the NAPOLCOM Men Opposed to Violence Against Women Everywhere (MOVE) program and Committees on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) to address violence against women.
She said NAPOLCOM has been active in holding nationwide campaigns through gender sensitivity training, seminars on gender-based violence, and the establishment of a women's bazaar featuring products made by women inmates and abused girls.
She said NAPOLCOM is advocating for the revision of the PNP organizational structure to appoint a woman as head of the Women and Children’s Protection Center (WCPC).
This year’s 18-day Campaign to End VAW and girls is themed “Strengthening Integration of Advocacy, Service, and Commitment towards creating a VAW-free environment in the Bureaucracy.”
Other agencies that joined the forum include the News and Information Bureau, Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Authority; Court of Tax Appeals; Department of Social Welfare and Development; Department of Science and Technology-Technology and Promotion Institute; Duty Free Philippines Corporation; Games and Amusement Board; Land Bank of the Philippines Resources and Development Corporation; Nayong Pilipino Foundation; Tourism Promotions Board Philippines; and Intramuros Administration.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos called for a continuing fight for the protection of human rights of women and young girls by addressing all forms of gender-based violence.
“Let us focus on the government’s advocacy of protecting the human rights of women and girls by addressing all forms of gender-based violence,” Abalos said in a news release on Thursday.
He said the ongoing 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Children led by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), an attached agency of DILG, is strictly a non-partisan activity.
Abalos discouraged the use of PCW-produced materials for political gains, favors, and grandstanding.
“Let us maintain the significance and integrity of the campaign,” he said. (with a report from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)