MANILA –The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is working with Gabriela, the Gabriela Women’s Party and women from marginalized sectors to join the annual “One Billion Rising” (OBR) global campaign, which this year focuses on the theme, “Solidarity Against Exploitation of Women”.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Wednesday underscored the need to educate the Philippine society on women’s rights issues and the urgency of fighting and stopping the abuse and exploitation of women.
She lamented that many Filipinos, including women, take women’s rights for granted, and worse, take women’s abuse and exploitation as ordinary events.
“Women’s rights are issues that should be supported by all Filipinos –men and women alike. We all have mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, nieces, daughters, and partners,” she said.
”Abuses against women are not acceptable and never will be. There is no excuse for abusing and exploiting women, so we must all work together to promote women’s rights and help each other understand their importance.”
The DSWD, she said, continues to monitor the alarming number of cases of abuse and exploitation of women.
According to the department’s Policy Development and Planning Bureau (PDPB), a total of 2,797 women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDC) were served by the DSWD’s residential care facilities from January to September last year. The Haven for Women assisted 533 women; the Sanctuary Center, 232; and the Haven for Women and Girls, 74, for a total of 839.
Based on case category and region, the department monitored and provided assistance to 210,842 WEDC from January to September 2016. Some 127 were cases of sexual abuse (76 rape; 47 incest; and four acts of lasciviousness) and 232 were cases of sexual exploitation (227 cases of prostitution; once case of pornography; and four cases of cyber-pornography).
On the other hand, there were 318 cases of physical abuse and maltreatment; 250 cases of psychological and emotional abuse; 179 cases of illegal recruitment; and 367 cases of trafficking. Another 2,273 WEDC were served in residential and non-residential centers and community-based services, while 207,096 WEDC were provided with services from the department’s crisis intervention unit (CIU).
”All officials and employees in the DSWD central office are encouraged to attend the OBR pre-activity with the director of One Billion Rising, Monique Wilson, at the New DSWD Building lobby (on Feb. 13), and again on Feb. 14 at the Liwasang Bonifacio,” said Taguiwalo.
Meanwhile, the social welfare chief also reiterated that women’s rights are always in the agenda in the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“We ask all Filipinos to support the peace negotiations and to appeal to both sides to return to the negotiating table so they can put together a substantive agenda for peace in our country,” she said, adding that the continuation of the peace talks will help ensure that “a genuine pro-women agenda will be discussed and put together for the benefit of poor and marginalized Filipinas”.
One Billion Rising is a global movement, founded by Eve Ensler, to end rape and sexual and physical violence against women. The “billion” refers to the UN statistic that one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, or about one billion. One Billion Rising is held every February in hundreds of countries across the world.