President Duterte vows to protect women’s rights

QUEZON CITY-- An estimated 1,000 women from the different regions of the country as well as women's sectoral groups, such as indigenous women, urban poor, government employees, and solo parents participated in Digong's Day for Women held at Malacanang Palace on March 31.

The activity was conceptualized to provide women leaders the opportunity to bring to the attention of the President the issues and concerns affecting their respective sectors.

While waiting for an engagement with President Rodrigo Duterte, the women availed of various services such as free massage, foot spa, and pedicure provided by women-beneficiaries of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Likewise, the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) and the Department of Health (DOH) offered the women-participants with free legal and medical services, respectively.

The event's organizers led by DSWD Undersecretary Virginia Orogo, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Emily Padilla, Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary Aimee Neri, and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag also held a press conference and discussed the government's programs and services for women.

The four female government executives shared Pres. Duterte's commitment to women's rights and empowerment.

Usec. Orogo also mentioned the need to help solo parents in their advocacy to amend RA 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000. Solo parents, who are mostly women, need to be helped since they solely care for their children, Usec Orogo stated.

Digong's Day for Women is part of the recently-concluded National Women's Month celebration. The whole month of March was declared as National Women's Month as part of the worldwide observance of International Women's Day. This year's celebration is the first under the leadership of Pres. Duterte, with the theme, 'WE Make Change Work for Women'.

In his message, Pres. Duterte emphasized that he values and respects women mentioning some of the pro-women ordinances he implemented as Davao City Mayor back then. One of these measures is the Women Development Code, an ordinance created to protect women in the city against discrimination and to mandate an allocation of funds to gender-sensitive projects.

Pres. Duterte also mentioned that apart from the ongoing fight against corruption and the trade of illegal drugs, his administration is also promoting women empowerment, adding that some members of his Cabinet are females.

Nandyan si Gina (Lopez of DENR), Taguiwalo (DSWD Secretary), Ubial (DOH Secretary), at Andrea (Domingo, PAGCOR Chief). Binigyan ko sila ng direktang awtoridad na mag-approve at mag-implement ng mga programa at iba pang mga gawain sa kanilang mga departamento (I gave full authority to the female members of my cabinet, Secretaries Gina Lopez of DENR, Judy Taguiwalo of DSWD, Paulyn Ubial of DOH, and Andrea Domingo of PAGCOR to approve and implement programs and other activities in their respective departments). (DSWD)

Source: Philippines Information Agency