PH highlights 'critical interventions' in upholding women’s rights at Bangkok summit

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2019 08:49 PM

BANGKOK – The Philippines touted on Wednesday “critical interventions” it has made in upholding women’s rights as ministers and civil society organizations from different countries gather here for a 3-day summit on the gender gap.

Philippine Commission on Women chair Rhodora Bucoy flaunted Manila's efforts to bridge the gender gap in the country.

"[T]he Philippine government remains dedicated to developing and implementing policies and programs to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, consistent with its vision of a strong, just, peaceful and equal society,” she said before an assembly of around 500 participants Wednesday afternoon.

The Philippines is the 8th most gender-equal country in the world, the only Asian country to land in the top 10, according to a World Economic Forum report. 

Among the "critical interventions" that the Philippines has taken to promote women's rights are universal health care, and support programs for pregnant women and children’s nutrition. 

She also highlighted the country's efforts to increase the maternity leave mandated by law to 105 days from 60, and the expansion of anti-harassment laws through the Safe Spaces Act. 

“In the ASEAN region, the Philippines helped in the capacity building on gender mainstreaming for around 300 senior officials across the 3 pillars of the ASEAN,” Bucoy added.

Bucoy, who leads a 20-member delegation from the Philippines, had just been chosen to lead a working group to draft an outcome document to be adopted during the 3-day conference.

Despite the achievements, the Philippine government, she said, is proposing several recommendations. 

Among these are eradicating poverty, removing barriers for women’s and girls’ access to public services, preventing and eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women, strengthening protection for migrant women workers, trafficking victims and women living with disabilities. 

She also mentioned ensuring women’s rights are respected before, during and after various conflict contexts, in compliance with the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as well as adopting gender-responsive strategies in addressing climate change.

ABS-CBN News is still reaching out to Filipino civil society organizations present in the Bangkok summit for their reactions.

Forty-nine member-states and 2 associate countries are taking part in the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Beijing+25 Review.

After presenting the situation in every country, delegates are expected to discuss several priority issues before adopting a document containing their resolutions.

There are also side events dealing with different issues in the region ranging from online violence against women in South Korea, the digital divide, impact of climate change on women and the importance collecting data to prevent gender-based violence.