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The provincial government of Negros Oriental will be giving due recognition to women’s advocates through its “Garbo Awards” next week.

Josefina Columna, the provincial government’s Gender and Development focal person, said during a media forum here Tuesday that activities have been lined up for the “18-Day Campaign to End VAW (Violence Against Women) until Dec. 12.

The “Garbo Awards” will honor advocates, whether individuals or groups, in ending women violence.

“The final screening will be on Dec. 4 with five entries already from different parts of the province,” Columna said.

She stressed that it is not only during the campaign period that the provincial government and its partners undertake different interventions, mechanisms, and programs to ensure the rights of women are protected.

A women’s summit is set on Dec. 7 at a local hotel here while on the table are a gender sensitivity training for provincial government employees and an orientation on women’s laws for multi-sectoral representatives.

Earlier, an online training on online sexual abuse and exploitation of children was held.

Meanwhile, cases of violence against women in Negros Oriental doubled this year compared to last year, a police official said in the same forum.

Lt. Helen Aldirete, chief of the Women’s and Children’s Protection Desk of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, said 363 VAW cases were reported this year compared to only 179 in 2022.

Of the total 363 cases, 92 complaints were filed at the prosecutor’s office, 268 victims executed affidavits of non-interest in the filing of complaints, and three are under investigation, she said.

Violence against women and children topped the list with 308, including rape and acts of lasciviousness.

Only 57 of the 308 VAWC were filed in courts, Aldirete said.

Last year, of the total 179 cases, 97 complaints were filed while the rest executed affidavits that they were not interested in filing.

Aldirete lamented that despite relentless education and awareness campaigns and services provided to women, many are still reluctant to go to court out of fear, among other reasons.

“The number one reason why many women are afraid to file a complaint against their husbands is that they do not have a steady source of income or are jobless thus. They are afraid of being unable to provide for their children,” she said.

Columna said the number of cases rose this year due to increased awareness and advocacy, resulting in more women reporting abuses.

Some cases do not prosper because they do not reach the courts. (PNA)