DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development -Philippines) to participate in One Billion Rising campaign to oppose women abuse and exploitation

Under the leadership of Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo, the Department of Social Welfare and Development firmly advocates for the protection and empowerment of women. The DSWD is now working with Gabriela, Gabriela Women’s Party and women from marginalized sectors to participate in the “One Billion Rising” (OBR) global annual campaign with the 2017 theme “Solidarity Against Exploitation of Women.”

Sec. Taguiwalo said that much remains to be done to educate Philippine society on issues of women’s rights and the urgency of the need to fight and stop abuse and exploitation of women. She said that many Filipinos including women take women’s rights for granted, and worse, take cases of women abuse and exploitation as ordinary events.

“It is highly lamentable that Philippine society continues to neglect women’s issues, and that for the most part, many view that only militant or activist women should care about these same issues. Women’s rights are issues that should be carried supported by all Filipinos – men and women alike. We all have mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, nieces, daughters, and partners. 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.  When we protect and defend women’s rights, we nurture a culture and way of living that is kinder, more humane, and more compassionate,” she said.

“While many gains have been achieved to advance women’s rights in the country, much has still to be done. Pervasive poverty, ignorance of our rights and lack of adquate support system have contributed to the continuing  exploitation of Filipino women,” she said.

Sec. Taguiwalo shared that the DSWD continues to monitor an alarming number of cases of abuse and exploitation of women. 

Based on the monitoring of the Policy Development and Planning Bureau (PDPB) of the DSWD, a total of 2,797 Women in Especially Difficult Circumstances (WEDC) were served by the DSWD’s residential care facilities from January to September 2016. 

Haven for Women assisted 533 women; Sanctuary Center 232; Haven for Women and Girls 74, for a total of 839.

In the meantime, when it comes to the number of monitored cases of WEDC served by case category and region, the DSWD units provided assistance to or monitored the cases of 210, 842 WEDC from January to September 2016. A total of 127 were cases of sexual abuse (76 rape; incest 47; acts of lasciviousness); and 232 cases of sexual exploitation (227 cases of prostitution; 1 case of pornography; and 4 cases of cyber-pornography). 

In the meantime, there were 318 cases of physical abuse and maltreatment; 250 cases of psychological and emotional abuse; 179 cases of illegal recruitment; 367 cases of trafficking. Other (2, 273) WEDC clients were served in the residential and non-residential centers and community-based services; 207,096 were cases of WEDC clients provided with services from the crisis intervention unit (CIU) of the Central Office and Field Offices.

“This year, the DSWD will participate in the One Billion Rising Campaign. We see it as an important event for us the government’s lead welfare agency that all cares for the welfare of women. All officials and employees in the DSWD Central Office are being encouraged to  attend the OBR pre-activity with the Director of One Billion Rising Ms. Monique Wilson at the New Lobby; and again on February 14 at the Liwasang Bonifacio,” said Sec. Taguiwalo. 

Sec. Taguiwalo also reiterated her stand on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDFP) and said that women’s rights are also always in the agenda when it comes to the peace negotiations. 

“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. Upholding women’s rights are also important to both panels, and 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,” she said.