CALAMBA, Laguna — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr., during the first regional inter-collegiate campus forum on Thursday, urged everyone to strive for a gender fair society.
The forum, “Towards a Gender Fair Media”, has gathered 21 participating universities and colleges in Laguna to be involved in intellectual discussions pertaining to gender equality and equity with emphasis on the role of media in perpetuating gender-based violence.
The whole-day event tackled three topics which were discussed by representatives of media authorities such as the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
In behalf of KBP, Atty. Rudolph Juralbal discussed the Code of Ethics for Media while Atty. Eugenio Villareal of the MTRCB tackled the Guidelines to Protect Women Discrimination in Media and Film.
In a video shown to participants, Coloma delivered a message emphasizing the state of women in the country.
He shared that there are around 2.2 million Filipinas aged 18 and above who are experiencing violence such as sexual harassment and human trafficking every year.
“That is almost 44 times the 55,000 seating capacity of Philippine Arena,” Coloma said.
In 2006, the government has extended its campaign against VAW (violence against women) from 16 days to 18 days in pursuance to Presidential Proclamation 1178.
The campaign against gender-based violence is being observed globally from November 25 to December 10. It aims to eliminate all forms of VAW through information dissemination about gender-based violence, strengthening of local work and establishing measures to end VAW, among others.
The country has further strengthened its campaign with the signing of President Benigno Aquino III of Republic Act 10398 declaring November 25 as National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of violence against women and children.
In the Philippines, 1 in every 9 Filipina is a victim of violence, Coloma noted adding that this is a “manifestation that something is wrong.”
In 1990, the United Nations (UN) set Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and one of its objectives is to promote gender equality and empower women.
Along with this goal is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger being the number one goal in the list of MDGs.
According to the standards set by the UN, people living in extreme poverty must be halved by 2015.
Coloma said the country’s poverty incidence in 1990 was 33 percent. It was reduced by only 5 percent in 22 years at 27.9 percent poverty incidence in 2012.
However, the Philippines was able to reduce the latter percentage into 24.9 percent in 2013 or for only a year, he shared.
One indicator of the presence of gender equality in the country is the participation rate of women in education.
Coloma said that Filipinos have already surpassed this as the Philippines’ cohort survival rate (CSR) became even higher among girls.
As defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the CSR is “the percentage of enrollees at the beginning grade or year in a given school year who reached the final grade or year of the elementary/secondary level.”
In the political scene, there are about 79 women members of the House of Representatives and 6 female Senators in the country to date. The Philippines was also headed by two female Presidents.
In spite of the said improvement in the state of women in terms of leadership and education, Coloma left a catchy acronym for the students to remember as he encouraged each of them to be one with the government’s call for a gender fair society.
The MMK which stands for M-aging Mulat (Be aware), M-aging Maalam (Be mindful), at K-umilos (Act) will remind the students to participate in the government’s campaign, he said.
“We should all be knowledgeable (about gender-based violence) so that we can help in stopping (all forms of violence against women),” he added.
The PCOO Secretary further encouraged the students to “take initiative, gain attitude and be concerned to help” women, government and other stakeholders by acting against violence towards gender fairness.