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PCSO celebrates Women’s Month

column-jose rojasThe Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) joined the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) in observing March as National Women’s Month by implementing initiatives that give women special access to PCSO services.

The PCSO set up a special lane for women clients the whole of March at the agency’s Lung Center of the Philippines satellite office, where requests for individual medical assistance
are processed.

PCSO frontliners in the head office and branch offices nationwide greeted women clients “Happy Women’s Month.” A tarpaulin in front of the PCSO head office in Mandaluyong City also bears the same announcement. A PCW advocacy video is played over waiting-area monitors at the head office and PCSO-LCP satellite office, and during the nightly PCSO Lotto draw show on television.

These actions are meant to increase awareness among the public of women’s issues, and the role of the government in caring for all members of society on a foundation of equality
and nondiscrimination.

It might not be known to the general public, but government agencies are required to create and implement gender-development plans for their employees. While this usually takes the form of inclusive sports and team-building events, the purpose of the plan is to educate and inform employees about human rights, in general, and women’s rights, in particular, that are sometimes overlooked or even violated, often without bad intention, because of mind-sets stemming from prevailing
cultural norms.

The government is attempting to address this concern through the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 9710, the Magna Carta for Women (MCW).

Informational materials on the PCW web site explain that the MCW is a “comprehensive women’s rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination through the recognition, protection, fulfillment  and promotion of the rights of Filipino women,” particularly
the marginalized.

The law provides a “framework of rights for women based directly on international law.” The Philippines is one of the countries that pledged their commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) in the Cedaw Committee’s 36th session in 2006 and the United Nations Human Rights Council in its first Universal Periodic Review in 2009. Asean also has long-term plans regarding these same issues.

The MCW also requires all government offices, including Government-owned and -controlled corporations and local government units, to adopt gender mainstreaming, a public-policy concept where the different implications for women and men of any planned government-policy action, legislation and program must be assessed, evaluated and taken into consideration. This type of approach assures that the government upholds and respects the rights of all citizens without bias and discrimination.

In addition to the MCW, there are other laws that protect the rights of women, among the most significant being RA 9262, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act, or the VAWC law. It protects women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.

The PCSO recognizes the rights of women and all Filipinos, in general, not only during National Women’s Month but every day, and will evaluate its various charity programs and other agency intitiatives and adapt them, if need be, to better implement the MCW as appropriate.

On another note—to all my readers, Happy Easter! He is Risen! May God’s love and mercy be our comfort, as we continue our labors the rest of the year.

***

Atty. Rojas is vice  chairman and general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

 

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