MANILA - The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) on Tuesday urged the public to protect Filipinas after a recent study showed that a quarter of Filipinos cited violence against women as primary concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent Social Weather Stations Survey showed that 1 in every 4 Filipino adults "cited harmful acts in various forms as among the most pressing problems of women during the present health crisis," the Commission said in a statement released a day after International Women's Day.
"Filipino women are vital assets of our nation," Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III said.
"Thus, we need to ensure they are protected against practices and acts that diminish their potential as individuals and positive contributors to their immediate communities, and Philippine society at large," he said.
About 14 percent of respondents cited sexual violence and emotional violence as their top concerns for Filipinas, while another 11 percent mentioned physical violence, POPCOM said.
As of December 2020, the Philippines recorded nearly 14,000 cases of violence against women and children since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown.
While the number is about 6,000 cases lower compared to the number of incidents recorded in 2019, the Philippine Commission on Women noted that there may have been underreporting due to pandemic-related lockdowns.
The uptick in domestic violence cases during the global pandemic was not only observed in the Philippines but in many countries, prompting the United Nations to urge governments around the world to include the protection of women in their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"Violence is not confined to the battlefield," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
"For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes," he said.
"Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19."