SAN FERNANDO CITY, May 15 (PIA) – Experts in advocating gender and development (GAD) talked before identified participants from the women, persons with disabilities (PWD), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) sectors in a gender-responsive forum on May 12, here.
Initiated by the Philippine Information Agency- Region 1, the forum dubbed “Gender Equality and Social Inclusiveness,” was aimed to disseminate the laws, government programs, and other information pertaining to gender sensitivity, equality, and development and engage different organizations and groups in the implementation of such programs.
A total of 44 participants from the said sectors attended the event. They are officers and members from the barangay health and wellness volunteers, gay association, and PWD association. Entertainers and local media were also present.
Lawyers Stephanie Joy Rolusta and Maria Cristina Portia Guevarra of the Public Attorney’s Office-Region 1 pointed out the importance of knowing the law for the protection of women and children which is stated under the Republic Act 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children Act.
Women and children especially those frequently experiencing an abusive environment either physically, mentally, or emotionally are encouraged to come out and seek for help and guidance.
Discussions were also focused on PWD rights and sensitivity.
“We do not want to call you normal, because then we will call ourselves, abnormal. We have disabilities and those limit our movement but not our capacities to help and be a part of our community,” said Jennifer Garcia, the president of the Regional Association of Persons with Disabilities (RAPWD).
She added, “PWDs have rights and privileges and those are stated in the law. We would like to ask for your support by treating us equally, advocate the PWD laws, and we hope that people would listen to the voice of this sector and be sensitive to our needs.”
It was learned that absence of a concrete data for PWDs is one reason why there is difficulty in the implementation of their programs.
Updates on AIDS-HIV, its prevention and cure was also discussed by Senior Health Program Officer Jaime Javillonar of the Department of Health-Region 1, specifically on the alarming increase of its victims by 25 percent in the region covering 15-25 years old, as the highest age bracket affected.
Javillonar encouraged individuals suspected to have this disease are advised to visit the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) here, and avail of the AIDS-HIV examination for free.
On solo parenting, Project Development Officer III Alfie Arañas of the Department of Social Welfare and Development stressed on the qualifications, registration requirements, and procedures and the benefits of solo parents.
Under Republic Act 8972, solo parent employees can avail of a seven-day parental leave, but is subject to some conditions.
After the GAD activity, PIA Region 1 Director Jennilyne C. Role hopes for possible tie-ups and networks with the different government agencies, individuals, and organizations present in terms of training and technical assistance support.
“The next activity of PIA is the conduct of a Basic Sign Language Course for Media,” Role informed.
The PIA Region 1 annually conducts a GAD forum as an information, education, and communication activity to ensure that gender equality and discrimination of all forms will be eliminated. (JNPD/ AHFF/ PIA-1)