Hundreds of government employees and law enforcement officers convened on Thursday for a three-kilometer solidarity walk culminating an 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW).
The event, which started on November 25, was organized by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Department of National Defense (DND).
“Everyone of us who walked today have a mission: to advocate respect, love, and peace. You may not be in the frontline fighting a war but there might be a woman or a child being bullied, being catcalled, an officemate being sexually harassed…” DND Undersecretary Cardozo Luna said in his speech during the event at the Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“Be an advocate. If a person you know is a victim, encourage them to seek help and give moral support, most of the time violence prospers when people do nothing: the time to end VAW is now,” he added.
Luna also cited that women law enforcers are also assigned to facilitate concerns on VAW in every police station so complainants can be comfortable in sharing their stories.
PCW chairperson Rhodora Bucoy, in a media interview, urged all Filipinos to understand that VAW is a serious human rights violation.
She said if there is no respect for women’s rights “we cannot have a truly sustainable development, inclusive development which is the very essence of Philippine Development Plan”.
The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW is anchored on the Philippine government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women and girls by upholding its commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
Under the Republic Act 10398 or the act dedicating November 25 of every year as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children, government agencies are directed to raise awareness on the issue of violence and to free women and girls from its different forms.
In 2002, the Philippine Government through the PCW and other key stakeholders joined the global campaign.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in 2006, signed Proclamation 1172 extending the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including December 12, a historic date that marked the signing in the year 2000 of the UN protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to supplement the UN convention against transnational organized crimes.
From 2016 to 2021, the campaign carries the theme “VAW-free community starts With Me”. This year’s campaign underscores the valuable role of individuals, especially the youth, in fighting violence against women and girls within various institutions.
The campaign is necessary because global estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that about 1 in 3 women (35%) worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partner or non-partner in her lifetime.
In the Philippines, the National Demographic Health Survey 2017 released by the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that 1 in 4 Filipino women, aged 15-49 have experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence from their husband or partner. (PNA)