In the Senate Today: Drugs, Crime and Women

At the Senate budget hearing of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), it was reported by PCW  Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa that the P20million budget insertion I made last year to support the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) and the law on Anti-Violence Against Women and Children (AVAWC) was never released.

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This is unfortunate because the PCW is sorely lacking in funds. One of the major tasks of the PCW is the oversight and monitoring of the implementation of the MCW and the Gender and Development (GAD) budget. Many government agencies and Local Government units are required to allocate 5% of their budget for GAD.  Government agencies and LGUs are still unaware of the MCW and how to use their GAD Budget. Thus, PCW’s training and technical assistance is much needed.

At the Senate budget hearing of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Director General Santiago of PDEA reported that close to 50% of inmates in our penitentiaries are there for drug-related crimes such as rape and homicide.

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PDEA also enlightened us about their programs related to trafficking of women and women being used as “drug mules” or drug carriers. Many Filipinas are languishing in jail after having been arrested for drug trafficking. Despite the small budget  allocated for this program, much has been achieved.

Later in session, I brought this matter up while interpellating Senator Zubiri on his privilege speech on rape. I said that lack of respect for women is at the core of these rape cases.

It should be noted that gender equality is one of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Our President Aquino has committed to work towards the achievements of the MDGs. Thus, our budget should reflect this.

During session today, I took the floor and appealed to my colleagues to support the budget of programs and agencies.

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