DSWD chief cites need to ensure a gender perspective in ASEAN policies

ILOILO CITY-- Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has cited the need for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ensure that there is a gender perspective in its economic, cultural and social policies.

"In relation to the fact that we are marking International Women's Day, one of the six outcome documents that we hope the ASEAN leaders would adopt is the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025," Taguiwalo, who chairs the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council (ASCC) Meeting, said during a press briefing held at the Iloilo Convention Center here Wednesday.

She expressed hope that the outcome document would help address issues concerning women and children in the country.

The social welfare chief meanwhile noted that the country has always been very active in ensuring that issues concerning women and children are addressed.

She lauded recent efforts that are supportive of women, such as the extension of maternity leave from 60 days to 120 days, and other maternity benefits. She likewise pushed for the amendment of the Solo Parents' Welfare Act.

"A lot of stakeholders are working with legislators to make sure that women issues and concerns are addressed through legislation, programs and services," she said.

As the agency tasked to provide assistance to the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society, the DSWD is also providing women the support they need through such programs as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Development Program (SLP), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) for children, and the Protective Services Bureau Program, which offers assistance to individuals in a crisis situation or in need, and recovery programs for trafficked persons.

On International Women's Day, Taguiwalo earlier enjoined everyone to commemorate and celebrate women's progress and achievements made through history and across nations.

"We fully support the continued efforts of working towards gender equality and for the elimination of violence, abuse and discrimination against all women. We salute our women and the men who support gender equality," she said in her message during the opening ceremony of the ASCC Council meeting.

As chair of the ASCC, the DSWD is hosting two top-level meetings -- the 17th ASCC Council Meeting and the 22nd Senior Officials Committee for the ASCC (SOCA) -- in Iloilo City.

Taguiwalo, the Philippines' ASCC leader, together with ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, chairs the 17th ASCC Council Meeting, while Social Welfare Undersecretary Florita Villar, the Philippines' SOCA leader, together with ASEAN Deputy-Secretary General for ASCC, Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, chairs the 22nd SOCA Meeting.

Source: Philippines News Agency