July 22, 2024

Authorities plan to include a community-level program aimed at increasing the level of gender and development (GAD) awareness in the grassroots, as well as incorporating the culture of the region dominated by Indigenous Peoples (IP).

Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera Director Leo Quintilla, who is also the chair of the Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC), said gender awareness should be increased even in the grassroots, which is 80 percent dominated by IPs in the case of their region.

“There are times when a woman or a child is already being abused and yet they do not know. There are times when violence is committed against them but they still see it as normal even if it is not,” he said on the sidelines of the workshop.

The planning workshop was aimed at helping authorities come up with a regional plan to promote GAD in an IP-dominated place and come up with the context of the region affected by culture and environment.

He said GAD is affected by current issues like the impact of Covid-19, which has affected women and children; increasing gender-based violence on campuses, which is due to a change in social behavior after a lockdown; and the role of social media and digitalization’s impact on men and women.

He said authorities have approved the resolution for the establishment of the Men Who Oppose Violence Everywhere (MOVE) in government agencies, state universities and colleges, and local government units.

 “We want this to be implemented and we will push for it. Right now, only the Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Sagada have organized groups,” Quintilla said.

He also talked about the push for the establishment of child-friendly spaces in agencies, state universities colleges, and local government units.

 “We have to make people aware that women have rights and we have to infuse concepts on GAD,” he said as he explained the need to trickle down GAD to the community level.

Quintilla said the planning workshop is in line with the national gender and development agenda, and takes into consideration the region’s special features.

He said while a study has yet to be done on identifying specific cultural aspects, the close family ties on some occasions violate the GAD, but are set aside due to culture.

He said his office received requests from state universities and colleges in the region seeking technical assistance due to the incidence of gender-based violence when the students returned to school.

“We are looking at whether this will help improve the relationship, hinder and how to deal with ensuring equity between men and women in the context of Cordillera culture, environment and situations,” he said.

Aside from community grassroots gender-based programs, incorporating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in the plan is also part of the goal. – PNA