The NEDA Region 5, as chair of the Regional Gender and Development Committee of the Regional Development Council 5 spearheaded the 2018 One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign in the region with the theme “Rise, Resist, Unite”. The OBR is a global campaign to end all forms of violence against women and girls. The “billion” refers to the UN statistics that one in three women are raped or beaten in her life time, and this corresponds to about one billion women and girls.
The 2018 OBR campaign aims to raise public awareness on the issues of rape, battery, abuse, exploitation, sexual harassment, sex trafficking and other issues confronting women and children. It aims to promote, protect and uphold the rights of women and children and create support to prevent all forms of abuse among women and children.
Various activities were undertaken to promote awareness on the issues concerning women and children. Orientations on violence against women and children (VAWC) were conducted for (a) line agencies, state universities and colleges on March 12; (b) civil society organizations, higher education institutions, and other non-government organizations on March 13; (c) youth and students on March 14; and (d) local government units on March 21. Resource persons from the Department of Justice, Commission on Human Rights, and the Philippine National Police presented the Anti-VAWC Act of 2004, Magna Carta of Women, and the protocols and procedures in handling VAWC cases, respectively.
The orientation was a venue for disseminating information on women’s rights and gender sensitivity. Among the notable issues that spawned during the orientations were the clamor to strengthen advocacy on anti-VAWC at the grassroots level and the need to capacitate anti-VAWC and GAD focals to ensure efficient and timely delivery of assistance to the victims of VAWC.
The culminating activity was conducted last March 23 which started with a solidarity walk from two assembly points: one group came from Vel-Amor subdivision, and the other group from the Bicol University ground which converged at the Albay Astrodome.
A program ensued with a message from Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal and Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro. Mayor Rosal congratulated all those who attended and thanked the organizer for coming up with an activity that unites women and men to a common cause.
Mayor Lagman-Luistro presented statistics on rape cases and the critical role of cities and municipalities in implementing Republic Act 9262, the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”.
The program was capped with the host, NEDA Dir. Agnes E. Tolentino, passing on the OBR emblem to DepEd Dir. Ramon Fiel Abcede as the host for 2019 OBR. With a strong workforce of 65,000 personnel, the DepEd Region 5 accepted the challenge.
The highlight of the activity was the keynote speech of Vice President Maria Leonora “Leni” G. Robredo known to be an advocate of gender equality and women empowerment.
She narrated her experience as a lawyer handling cases on violence against women and children and urged the women to unite against harassment and other forms of abuses. “Although there have been so many recent events that attack and undermine our capabilities, women today have found the strength to fight, not only for themselves but for those who can’t,” Robredo said.
There were also photo and product display booths of the following agencies: DOJ, DOH, DOLE, CHED, DSWD, DTI, DOST, PIA and NEDA, the LGU of Tabaco City, and the Team Albay Youth Organization that showcased their programs and services on women and children.
Freebies like soap, shampoos, water tumblers and reward cards were given to participants donated by partner organizations like the Children International Bicol, Philippine Geothermal Incorporated and LCC Supermarket.
The 2018 OBR campaign was a collaboration of RGADC member agencies and local government units, regional line agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, private sector representatives and civil society organizations representing the women sector. The culminating activity was attended by more than 2,000 participants.
MTB.Anonuevo, NEDA 5