Filipino culture and tradition has always been partial to women, giving them due respect and conservative deference especially in social events and public places.
For decades, this traditional courtesy and caring for Filipino women has been with us, but it was only in 2009 that the government passed a law, Republic Act 9710, the Magna Carta of Women, which formally included in the nation’s jurisprudence the government’s policy of affirming the role of women in nation building, thus ensuring the substantive equality of men and women.
In its declaration of policy, the law says the state shall promote the empowerment of women and pursue equal opportunities for women and men and ensure equal access to resources and to development results and outcome.
Also, the state realizes that equality of men and women entails the abolition of the unequal structures and practices that perpetuate discrimination and inequality.
The Magna Carta of Women, passed during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, promotes a gender-conscious society that touts women empowerment and fights discrimination against women. As such, this piece of legislation is an important item in the list of the nation’s human rights legislations.
Lately, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) prodded all local government units (LGUs) nationwide to establish programs promoting women’s rights and gender equality in their respective localities as mandated by RA 9710.
“As active agents of the government in promoting gender equality, our LGUs must ensure the localization of the Magna Carta of Women to ensure that women empowerment is recognized and mainstreamed in all sectors,” DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. said. He assured that the DILG will continuously exert various interventions to ensure that women’s rights are protected in the country.
He cited the pilot run of the DILG Gender and Development (GAD) Seal Certification Program where the GAD Seal is presented to the agency’s offices that adhere to the advocacy of promoting policies in ensuring that women’s rights are enforced.
The GAD Seal program is intended to put a premium on the gender mainstreaming efforts implemented and adopted by the DILG regional offices making them gender-responsive. The secretary wants to transform the DILG into a GAD-centered organization promoting gender equality and development with social inclusion, reflecting the department’s commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society for all.
The DILG chief also recognized the important role that women play in the use of digital technology that enhances economic development and improves the delivery of government service to the public.
The idea behind the GAD Seal program came to Abalos when he, together with Vice President Sara Duterte and Senator Imee Marcos, attended the recently concluded 18th General Assembly of the Philippine Federation of Local Council of Women (PFLCW).
The program started to gain traction in the DILG even in the first week of its implementation which encouraged the secretary to roll out the program outside the DILG, particularly the local government units and other government offices that provide primacy to women’s rights. This is a welcome development in the field of governance that we wanted to see and monitor in the near future.
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