February 1, 2023

City Councilor Mylen Yaranon has proposed an ordinance seeking to establish a response mechanism and protocol in handling cases related to gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and their children (VAWC).
Under the proposed ordinance, a VAWC/GBV desk in every barangay shall be established. The punong barangay shall designate a person trained in handling gender-sensitive cases. In cases where there are no trained personnel, the one who gets designated should undergo basic gender sensitivity training orientation on anti-VAWC laws.
The following protocol shall be observed by the responding officer:
Make the person feel comfortable in a safe and private room and provide them immediate needs as may be necessary;
Get initial information to determine the risks at hand, and if immediate medical attention is needed, facilitate the referral to the nearest medical facility;
As soon as the person has stabilized, conduct a gender-responsive, non-judgmental, and respectful investigation in a language and manner understood by the person;
Inform the person of their rights and remedies available and the processes involved, particularly in relation to the issuance of a barangay protection order (BPO);
Assist the person in filing an application should they decide to acquire a BPO;
Record the incident using the national VAWC documentation system barangay form;
If the person requires being in a safe protection center, seek the assistance of other barangay officials or the police in getting their belongings, and refer them to the protection center or the City Social Welfare and Development Office;
Assist the person in applying for a temporary protection order or permanent protection order with the nearest family court within 24 hours after issuance of the BPO;
Report the incident within six hours after receipt to the Philippine National Police and the CSWDO; and
If the incident is reported by a community member and not the person experiencing violence, the responder shall verify the information, and if needed, seek assistance from the PNP, assess the situation, and facilitate the rescue if necessary, then apply the same protocol.
For rape, trafficking in persons, and other more serious cases that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the barangay, the responder shall assist the person to file a complaint at the PNP Women and Children Protection Center or the National Bureau of Investigation.
The proposed ordinance also seeks to institutionalize the use of telephone number 442-8600 as a city-wide emergency number for the purpose.
Primary responders are authorized personnel of the PNP, CSWDO, and City Health Services Office.
Support service agencies and providers and accredited non-government organizations may also be tapped by the city to provide assistance and support consistent with their respective mandates and advocacies.
Through the proposed ordinance, a city protection center for VAWC/GBV cases shall also be established with the CSWDO being the lead department in its operations.
Every center shall provide complete intervention and protection services including medical, police, medico-legal, legal, and psychological services.
It shall also provide referral for offenders and case management for rehabilitation of perpetrators of violence, abuse, and exploitation.
It shall have a reception area, a counseling room, an examination room, a database room, and a rest and recreation area. – Jordan G. Habbiling