Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Unique Protest Against Women 
Violence Scheduled On V-day
by Ernesto T. Solidum

“One Billion Rising” is the topic of the Weekly Kapihan recently at NVC Carmen Hotel. The Guests are Vice Gov. Billie Calizo Quimpo, Dr. Cornelio T. Cuachon – DRSTMH, Jesebel M. Vidal – Focal Person GAD-PPDO, Raul Adrian Pelayo and Amelito Farales – Vice Pres. And Pres. respectively of MOVE Aklan Chapter, SPO1 Babylen P. Daylusan - Kalibo PNP, Adelina C. Noynay – APPDO, P03 Claire M. Catuiran – Kalibo PNP, Dr. Glenda Martinez – DRSTMH, and Engr. Roger M. Esto – PPDO.

Vice Gov. Quimpo said that staggering statistics of one in every three persons will be beaten or raped during her lifetime constitutes a crime against humanity. With a world population of 7 billion, this means that roughly one billion are victimized by reason of poverty, racism and war. This must be immediately stopped.

The report of 841 filed cases by the Aklan Police Provincial Office – Women and Children Protection Desk for the period 2014 is higher by 30 percent compared to the previous year. Those responsible must be prosecuted and meted harsher penalties so women can live in safe and protected environment.

Gender Advocacy for Development (GAD) adopted by Aklan on December 12, 2003 envisions women accorded fair treatment by all sexes, elimination of sexual bias/discrimination and empowering women for responsible and constructive role in society. Although we may have successful info education campaign among our local population, we can still link with other countries globally numbering 200 in meaningful gesture of solidarity and cooperation said the Vice Governor Quimpo.

Ms. Vidal cited that the one billion and rising campaign originally started in the United States was launched on Valentine’s Day 2012 but the province of Aklan became a signatory only in 2013. With the ratification of GAD, it effectively coordinated personnel and resources of line agencies namely: PNP, DOH, DAR, DA, DENR, DILG, and DOJ. LGU. Aklan gave 5 percent of total budget or P45 million per year aside from foreign aid especially the Spanish government.

Due to the support we were able to establish “Daeangpan” Aklan – Comprehensive Center For Women, Child Protection Unit and Provincial Council for Women Engaged in Livelihood. A closed partnership with leading advocacy group – Men Oppose To Violence and Children (VAW-C) is now on its 4th year. Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women has recognized Aklan as one of five certified Learning Centers in the country, underscored Ms. Vidal.

Mr. Pelayo mentioned that the V-day mass protest at the Provincial Capitol unlike other demonstrations, will be marked by rousing street dancing, mob flash dancing in malls, parking lots and other public places. Everyone is enjoined to participate and carry out the banner of ending injustice to women, implementation of pertinent laws like RA 7877 – Anti Sexual Harassment, RA 8353 – Anti Rape Act, RA 9262 – Violence Against Women and RA 9208 – Anti Traficking in Persons Act.

Violence against women and children does not happen in a vaccum. The twin issues of poverty and parental neglect are very pathetic. The Social Weather Station final report of 2014 shows that poor families constitute 50.5 percent. On the other hand, food-poor families are 41 percent. Practically, our 7.2 percent GDP growth in 2013 and 6.1 percent in 2014 appear hollow in the light of circumstances.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2014 reported that unemployment is 6.0 percent while underemployment rose to 18.7 percent. Poverty incidence is rated high – 24.9 percent or one in every four Filipinos. Consequently, 3,000 Pinoys leave the country per day for foreign jobs. They are hailed as modern day heroes since without their hard earned dollars our economy will collapse.

About one in two households is headed by either one of the parents. The majority are husbands tending and bringing up their kids. Problem starts when Father molests his teenage daughters or commits incest. PNP record shows that of 17 cases against children from January 1 to November 15, 2014, seven sex offenders are listed at large and only under custody of ARC/BJMP.

As to 68 cases involving women, 31 or 45 percent are still at large. It appears that the PNP is inept or remiss in their sworn duties in rounding up sex offenders and incarcerating them.

Ending domestic violence could easily be effected if full employment opportunities are available to the working population. Here lies the key that the government and private sector failed miserably. For 2014 GDP growth, services accounted for 56.72 percent, manufacturing – 33.25 percent and agriculture – 10.03 percent. Basically, this is a skewed economy where consumer goods and farm products are acquired at very high cost. Necessarily we must strengthen the least two sectors if we want to generate a robust economy and achieve inclusive growth.

For practical purposes, why can’t we not resurrect the Progressive Car Manufacturing Program first started by the late Pres. Marcos? The concept is based on gradual replacement of mechanical parts by local artisans until such time a 100 percent Pinoy car model rolls off the assembly line. Many believed on the wisdom of launching industrialization by stages so complicated problems could easily be solved. At least Pinoy prototype jeepneys which seemed odd looking and fragile were produced but proved versatile under our ill-maintained country roads. However, all of a sudden the program stopped. What happened?

The Philippines has all the resources and manpower skills to go into full scale industrialization if it has the will to do so. Obviously, hindrance is high cost of power in manufacturing steel and car parts. If so, we should harness various energy sources as coal, gas, wind, hydro and geothermal energy until we are self sufficient in fuel requirements. At least our ace in the sleeve is the vast untapped geotherium deposits (mainly methane gas) in the Mindanao trench off the coast of Surigao.

Once liberated from poverty, the country could fully implement the salient provisions of GAD and the Reproductive Health Law. It should be noted that industrialized countries tend to limit family size since raising many children is no longer affordable. Meanwhile, let us not lose sight of permanent solutions, not band aid treatment against pervasive problem of violence against women. It is time to give more teeth to our laws. /MP

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