Press Release
November 23, 2010

Cayetano laments violence against Filipino women still rampant

Despite the passage of laws to protect women against violence, the number of cases of violence against Filipino women remain significantly high, said Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations. In a privilege speech Monday, Cayetano lamented that in 2009, the number of cases of violence against women reported to the police rose by 37.4 percent from 2008. "We receive reports of women being trafficked almost every day. In fact, we have been in the US trafficking Tier 2 watch list for two years in a row and we are now in danger of being downgraded to Tier 3," she said.

Cayetano explained that Tier 3 referred to countries whose government does not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards and does not make significant efforts to address the issue.

If the Philippines will be downgraded to Tier 3, Cayetano warned, the country stands to lose non-humanitarian assistance, non-trade related foreign assistance and the elimination of all educational and cultural exchange programs for government officials.

She recommended the establishment of Violence Against Women desks in all barangays to address the issue and the training of local government leaders, especially in the barangay level on gender sensitivity and on violence against women; the formation of quick response teams to report and act on domestic violence cases; and the establishment of livelihood and employment programs and opportunities to women.

She said Local Government Units can provide funds for the projects since they are mandated by law to allocate a minimum of five percent of their total appropriations for the Gender and Development programs and projects.

"The mobilization of public opinion with a view towards eliminating gender-based violence can be attained through partnerships between and among national and local authorities, mediators and human rights organizations, victims of violence, civil society organizations, religious and community leaders, the media, schools and the private sector" she stressed, adding:

"Each and every one of us play a crucial role in influencing and shaping awareness of the issue in order to end violence against women and children."

Cayetano said her office has launched an advocacy campaign to commemorate the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 and the beginning of the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" which will last until Dec. 12.

As part of their advocacy campaign, the lady senator said her office had sent letters to schools and universities nationwide to encourage students to commemorate the global event by holding activities such as drawing contest, forums, essay writing contests, exhibits, speech writing contest, audio-visual presentations, debates and documentary and film showings.

"I believe that schools play a crucial role in influencing and shaping the students' awareness of this issue through education and information dissemination," Cayetano said.

She said her office will also hold an exhibit showcasing global and local statistics of cases of violence against women, photographs and other materials to raise awareness on gender-based violence next week until December 10.

"The campaign to eliminate violence against women can only be achieved if we all do our part and work together towards this common goal," Cayetano said.

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