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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Ms. Marie Yvette Banzon
Third Secretary, Philippine Mission to the United Nations
during the Debate of the Third Committee
Agenda item 64: Advancement of Women
Agenda item 65: Implementation of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”
New York, 13 October 2005
The current year is a time for the Philippines to celebrate its achievements in the promotion of women’s status in society. In the area of legislation, the past ten years have witnessed the passage of laws against sexual harassment, rape, trafficking, and domestic violence. The Philippines has become party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, including its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea. We have likewise ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The Philippines has also created an inter-agency coordinating committee on violence against women and strengthened partnerships between government and non-government entities to create innovative responses to issues of violence against women. Such new responses include the creation of women’s desks in police precincts and government hospitals and training on gender awareness for police, health workers, prosecutors and judges, including the institution of the Gender Justice Awards to encourage judges to be more gender sensitive in adjudicating on cases.
Filipino women have increasingly played a prominent role in decision-making in both the public and private spheres. In the Philippine cabinet, not only did positions for women increase, but critical positions, such as in the areas of foreign affairs, budget and management, labor and employment, science and technology, justice, civil service, anti-poverty programs and the government peace process are held by women. Women’s participation and leadership at the grassroots level in various sectors have also expanded.
Our national machinery on women has progressively developed systematic mechanisms and instruments to improve gender mainstreaming throughout the government system. An example of this effort can be seen in the crafting of a Gender and Development Budget Policy in all government agencies wherein at least 5% of budget allocations are mandated for gender and development programs. Another example would be the development of the “Harmonized GAD Guidelines for Project Development, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation” which serve as a tool for all government agencies, development practitioners and international donor organizations to ensure that gender concerns are fully integrated in the various stages of the project cycle.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment, through the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Beijing + 5 Outcome Document are essential to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. With the overarching goal to eradicate poverty, we continue to pursue strategic efforts to reduce women’s poverty through micro finance services, including entrepreneurial assistance, social safety nets and family planning.
At the international level, we continue our call for the strengthening of institutional mechanisms for gender equality. UNIFEM and the INSTRAW should be accorded the appropriate status and supported with adequate resources. Also, given CEDAW’s huge impact on the improvement of the status of women all over the world, we urge States to provide the CEDAW Committee with the necessary support, especially as it aims to meet more often during the year in order to consider more country reports and reduce its backlog.
As we live in this globalizing era, we are constantly confronted with many more challenges, most of which have a huge impact on women. The feminization of migration, for example, presents us with greater vulnerabilities of women that we need to address. The realities of war and conflict continue to imperil the lives of women and retard their advancement in society. The rise in the occurrence of natural disasters, including the recent earthquake that struck South Asia, has such an enormous impact on the lives of women and children who make up the majority of the victims. We therefore strongly urge all actors to incorporate a real gender perspective in all relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.
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