For those who want to join in on the fun, it’s not too late. Just lace up, head out the door and start running.
Every October, Parliamentarians from all over the world meet in Geneva for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference. I am currently the President of the Women Parliamentarians and our committee of women meets here once a year to take stock of our work and to prepare for the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians the next year (2010 will be in Bangkok).
In the Women’s Committee, we discussed the gender dimension on the topics pending in the IPU’s standing committees:
– On the topic of Cooperation and shared responsibility in the fight against organized crime, in particular human trafficking. it was underscored that human trafficking was often under-acknowledged and that the first step was for parliaments to call on governments to recognize the full extent of the problem and develop strategies to address it. This in fact is a big problem in the Philippines and much needs to be done.
– On the Role of Parliament in developing cooperation in order to accelerate achievement of the MDGs, the women emphasized the need to focus on MDGs 4 and 5, on child and maternal mortality. This has been my campaign in the country for the last two years. We need more midwives to the barrios, more birthing facilities and access to information and support re family planning.
– On Youth Participation in the Democratic Process, it was suggested that different strategies be considered to include young people in parliamentary debates and hearings, parliamentary youth forums and political party work. The need for gender-sensitive training was also emphasized. I met with the representative of UNICEF to brainstorm on this item later in the week. This would be a good project to implement back home.
The Secretary General Anders Johnson briefed us on IPU’s campaign “Parliaments Take Action on Violence Against Women.” IPU is urging parliaments to take part in this campaign and organize activities to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25. This has also been my campaign for the past few years (my related blogs on violence).
Our Gender Partnership Group met twice. We looked at the IPU budget and noted that due to budgetary support for gender issues, the IPU has been able to focus on many gender related activities. As for participation in the IPU, the Group noted that there are still 6 countries without women parliamentarians from the Gulf States and the Pacific Islands.
At the second meeting, we met with the Senator from Palau who briefed us about the recent election of two women in the Palau Senate. He explained that Palau is actually a matriarchal society. Women are king makers in the communities but do not themselves run for office. I opined that there may be a need for re-orienting society to support women in leadership positions.
At the General Council Meeting on the last day, the body approved the resolution on the emergency item on Global Food Security. I supported an amendment to this resolution, urging governments to make microfinance funds available, guaranteeing that at least 50% would go to women.
Finally, I presented the report of the women parliamentarians to the body. Although the IPU meeting formally closed on Wednesday, there were still events going on, including the seminar on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which I would chair the next day.
Over the years, I have made friends with parliamentarians from different countries. It is always a pleasure to see them during the IPU meetings. Many of them are seasoned parliamentarians, and I always go home inspired by the people I meet and the lessons I learned.
On July 5, 2009, I woke up to the beautiful Cebu City lights. It was 4:15 am. That was my wake-up call to get me to the Milo 21k starting line around 5 am. But I jump ahead of my story.
This is my usually whirlwind 24 hour trip out of Manila. There were two fun things about this trip. One is my daughter Nadine was traveling with me. And two, there was a run the following morning
I had three meetings one after another soon as I arrived in Cebu. I decided my first stop would be a fueling station.. as in deadly delicious calories to satisfy my craving.. aka Leona’s Bake shop.
My friend Jane-jane, owner of Leona’s was kind enough to offer to send over an assortment of goodies to keep me energized for the day but I told her no way! I needed to absorb the good vibes that come out of a bake shop – all that goodness, sweetness and fresh scent of baked bread certainly must stimulate the production of endorphins and the feeling of happiness right?
So my daughter Nadine and I went there and like kids, well she is one, I’m not, pointed, whispered and stared at the cakes beckoning at us. To distract me from eating everything on site, I asked for a tour of the facilities which I knew would be an educational experience for both Nadine and me,. We happen to be baking enthusiasts.
After that 20 minute stop-over, we went straight to the hotel. I settled in my daughter with her books and went to my meeting in the lobby. I met with the women of Inner Wheel Club. Our objective was to discuss a joint project between my Pinay in Action and their group for a school tour on violence against women. There were also students who attended our meeting.
I explained to them that I felt it was important to focus on the youth so they could spot violence early on, avoid it and protect themselves. After some discussion, we agreed that we would try to make this happen soon.
My next meeting was with the representative of 4L in the region. 4L is the organization of women legislators. They are composed of councilors, board members, vice-mayors, vice-governors and congresswomen. My objective here was to inform them about my project with the local governments and the barangay health workers (BHW), particularly my BHW Health Wellness Summit.
My last meeting for the day was with members of the Cebu Press. I updated them on my legislative work, including the Food and Drug Administration Act which was awaiting the President’s signature, my thoughts on the automation, women empowerment, reproductive health and other issues of the day.
That ended my official business for the day.
Next morning started, not bright and early, but dark and early. We were up at 4:15, eating breakfast at 4:30 and out of the hotel before 5 am.
This was my 2nd Milo 21k in Cebu. It’s a huge race and the course takes us thru the city. Not what I would call scenic, as runners really do prefer the country side for a run. But I doubt if there is any countryside in the heart of Cebu city.
Being familiar with the course is a plus. I knew there would be no deadly climbs, mostly flats and a few gradual climbs. Thankfully, it was not hot either.
I ran steady. Did not plan on pushing too hard. This was a training run for me and Ani. We are doing a 70.3 ironman soon and we needed a long run. We were around 11th and 12th place at about 8k. We picked up the pace a bit and by the end of the run, I finished 6th in 2 hours flat. Ani of course, could have done much better, but like I said it was a training run and she just ran at my pace.
I need to commend the security that was assigned to me. PO1 Delailah Cayacap Samson was amazing. She is only the 2nd security assigned to me during an out-of-town race that has been able to stick with me.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing in Shangri-la Mactan with our friends. My daughter Nadine politely asked “can we go to the pool now” over and over while we adults lingered over buffet at Tides. We finally did get to the pool side and stayed there almost ‘til sunset.
We were back on the plane 27 hours after we landed, two pounds heavier (courtesy of Leona’s bake shop), but happy (thanks to Leona’s too, productive meetings, a good race and good company).
27 1/2 hours in Cebu. Time well spent.
Violence comes in many forms. It is not just physical, like a black eye or a swollen face. Other forms of violence are less visible but equally painful and damaging.
Incidents involving video-taping and the posting/circulating of such material has brought about many questions as to what kind of abuse or violence is punishable.
There is currently no law that specifically punishes the acts of video-taping a sexual or other private act and circulating this content without the consent of the persons involved. I filed a bill in the senate known as The Anti-Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 that seeks to punish these acts. I hope this will be heard and passed into law soon.
At present though, victims can take refuge in Republic Act 9262 otherwise known as the Anti-violence against Women and Children Act of 2004 which penalizes various forms of violence. A victim can also claim for damages.
Sometime ago I wrote about my campaign along with women parliamentarians all over the world to end violence, “Say No to Violence Against Women“.
Many of my colleagues joined this signature campaign to end violence.
My office and some local groups we work with conduct seminars to increase awareness on this issue.
Below is a partial replication of the Primer on Violence against Women and Children that my office distributes. It includes contact information on where to go for help.
What are the different acts of violence.
1. Physical violence – acts that include bodily or physical harm;
2.Sexual violence – acts which are sexual in nature;
3.Psychological violence – commission or omission of acts which cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim;
4.Economic abuse – acts that make a woman financially dependent on the offender.
Who are protected under the law?
The Anti-VAWC Act protects women and their children, specifically:
1.Wife or former wife of the offender;
2.Woman with whom the offender has or had a dating or sexual relationship;
3.The mother of the child of the offender;
4.The child, whether legitimate or illegitimate of the woman.
Who are punished by the law?
The following are liable:
1.Husbands or former husbands;
2.Any person with whom the victim has or had a sexual or dating relationship (e.g. boyfriends, live-in partners, or lesbian partners);
3.Any person with whom the victim has a common child;
4.Father of the child-victim
What can a victim of violence do?
The victim can file any or all of the following:
a. Barangay Protection Order
b. Temporary and Permanent Protection Orders
2.Independent Civil Action for Damages
3.Criminal Action for Violation of the Anti-VAWC Act
What is a Barangay Protection Order (BPO)?
A BPO is the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay, or by any kagawad, if the Punong Barangay is unavailable. It commands the offender to refrain or stop from committing or threatening to commit harm to the victim. The Order is valid for only 15 days.
What is a Permanent Protection Order (PPO)?
A PPO is the Order issued by the court commanding the offender from further committing or threatening to commit harm to the victim. It is issued after notice and hearing wherein the offender is given the opportunity to present his evidence. A PPO is effective until revoked by a court upon application of the victim or by an authorized applicant, if the application was not filed by the victim.
What are the penalties for committing VAWC?
If the courts have proven that the offender is guilty of the crime, he may be imprisoned and will be obliged to pay P100,000 to P300,000 in damages. The length of imprisonment depends on the gravity of the crime.
WHO TO GO TO FOR HELP:
(Updated directory as of 28 November 2012)
• Law enforcement:
National Bureau of Investigation -VAWCD
Tel. (02) 5256028
• Crisis Centers:
Women’s Crisis Center, East Ave. Medical Center
Tels. (02) 5450836
DSWD Crisis Center
Tel. (02) 9517433
Quezon City Hall
Tel. (02) 9271588, 9269344
Women’s Desk Philippine General Hospital
Tel. (02) 5548400 loc. 2536
• Legal Assistance:
Women’s Legal Bureau
Room 505, UP College of Social Work and Community Development (UP-CSWCD)
University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. (02) 9214389
Department of Justice Public Attorney’s Office (DOJ PAO)
Tel. (02) 929 9436 loc. 106 & 107
Tel. (02) 3743452
Tel. (02) 4266001 loc 4858-60
1 out of 3 women have been victims of some form of violence, according to gender-based studies from the United Nations Population Fund. The abuser is usually known to her – a husband, boyfriend, father, brother, relative or some other person in her life.
Violence does not distinguish between economic class, culture or religion. In a World Bank study on selected risk factors facing women between 15-44, rape and domestic violence rated higher than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war ans facing women in this age group, rape and domestic violence rated higher than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria.
The say no to violence is an internet-based campaign initiated by UNIFEM. In today’s meeting, the women parliamentarians committed to join this campaign to put an end to violence in our respective countries.
This is a simple signature campaign. Just visit the website at www.saynotoviolence.org and sign up by adding your name. That simple.
Sign up, learn more about it and spread the word. End violence now. Dont wait for your sister, daughter or friend to be a victim.
My office conducts seminars around the country. If you need more info, let me know. Drop me a line if you sign up. It will encourage others to do so as well. God bless