Mayor Joy Belmonte reaffirmed the commitment of Quezon City to establish a gender-inclusive governance in her State of the Women Address (SOWA) on Wednesday (March 8) coinciding with the celebration of the International Women’s Day.
The reaffirmation was is in response to the continuing inequalities that women experience despite the collective efforts of the local government to improve their social circumstances.
“Tuwing buwan ng Marso, nakikiisa tayo sa pagdiriwang ng National Women’s Month. Binibigyang pugay natin ang kababaihan bilang ilaw ng tahanan, lungsod, at bansa. Pero ang nakakalungkot, habang kinikilala at pilit nating itinataas ang bandera ng mga kababaihan, patuloy tayong nakakarinig ng mga kwento ng pang aabuso at paglalapastangan sa mga kabaro natin (Every month of March, we are partaking in the celebration of the National Women’s Month. Herein, we recognize the role of women as individuals who bring light to the household, city, and country as a whole. But while we are furthering their cause and raising their flag, it is saddening to still hear stories about abuse and violence against our fellow women),” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Each day, 6 women are being subjected to violence out of the 1.7 million current women population in the city. The number may be statistically low in figure but the local government asserted that ‘any number other than zero is simply unacceptable.’
In light of this aim, the city inclined to the development of women-centric programs not only to empower but also to foster resilience among women QCitizens.
One of these initiatives is the formation of Task Force Magdalena in 2020 which have been deployed to rescue the victims of trafficking in persons or those women who were forcibly transported in the city for the purposes of work exploitation.
To date, the program has been able to rescue 106 women aged 21 to 30 years old who were harbored in spa or massage parlors that offer illegal extra services.
Meanwhile, the organization Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE) and the Cycle to End VAW program aided in the filing of 2,132 abuse-related reports in the city.
Accordingly, the city government strengthened its Helpline 122 to respond to Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) reports by deploying trained call operators that will immediately connect them to the concerned department.
Aside from the VAWC help desks that are stationed in barangays, the city also operationalizes a one-stop crisis center called the QC Protection Center to assist victims of gender-based violence and abuse. It employs lawyers and medical professionals such as psychologists who provide necessary interventions and assessment.
In terms of health care, the local government also formed an alliance with the Philippine Cancer Society for the institutionalization of the ‘Act Now Prime Care for Breast Cancer Program.’ During its pilot run in Barangay Commonwealth, it covered 20,000 female beneficiaries of free breast cancer assessment and laboratory tests.
The city is likewise putting forward the creation of Mental Health Code in addition to the Mental Wellness Access Hubs that provide free maintenance and prescription medicines among constituents who are undergoing mental health conditions.
Meanwhile, to improve the economic efficacy of women, the city government have succored small income-generating assistance to 3,310 female beneficiaries which amounts to 5,000 worth of financial assistance for business capital. This adds to the 18,688 female beneficiaries of Pangkabuhayang QC project.
On the other hand, a total of 2,701 single mothers who were victims of abuse have been awarded with Tindahan ni Ate Joy, a home-based industry, so that they can start their own business to improve their family condition.
At present, there are 25,033 businesswomen in Quezon City that were recognized by the local government in light of their job generation initiatives to QCitizens especially to women.
In the aspect of education, the local government was also able to help 5,264 female out-of-school youth to continue with their studies through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) which centers on the enhancement of functional literacy.
“Sa mga babaeng nakikinig at sa kanilang mga asawa, sa mga lalaki sa bawat komunidad, sa lahat, ang pagbabago ay nagsisimula sa tahanan. Kung bawat pamilya ay sasama sa pagsusulong ng mga karapatan ng kababaihan, makakamit natin ang pagbabago na para sa lahat - tunay at pangmatagalan (To all the women who are listening and to their husbands, to men in each community, to everyone, change starts at home. If each family will join our fight in advancing the rights of women, we can achieve the change that is catered for everybody - genuine and long-term),” Mayor Belmonte said. (PIA-NCR)