Quezon City, PHILIPPINES — The Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), together with the Women Feature Service (WFS), Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) and the Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy & Defense Foundation, Inc (WomenLEAD), held a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with VAWC survivors and service providers, 8 January 2011.
The FGD is a part of the baseline data gathering component of the Justice and Healing project implemented by the four organizations and funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The FGD aimed to enable the participants to articulate their notions of justice and healing, identify concepts, utterances, processes and practices that enhance or hinder justice and healing, and suggest ways to ensure justice and healing for survivors as well as accountability for perpetrators.
32 participants composed of service providers, survivors and the project team discussed on the experiences, predicaments and understanding of justice and healing as concepts. The bigger group was divided into three smaller groups, and facilitated by Ms. Theresa D. Balayon, Executive Director of the WCC, Dr. Mira Ofreneo from the Ateneo de Manila University, and Judge Dory Avisado.
Senator Pia Cayetano graced the Focus Group Discussion with Family Court Judges on the use of RA 9262 and other laws on VAW (Violence Against Women) held last November 17, 2011 at the Pecson Room of the Philippine Senate for the Justice and Healing project funded by the European Union (EU).
Held in partnership with the Office of Senator Cayetano and the Philippine Commission on Women with the Inter-agency Council against Violence Against Women (IAC-VAWC), the goal of the discussion was to draw insights from the experience of judges in the litigation of the aggressors and administration of justice. For her part, Sen. Cayetano shared her efforts in promoting women’s rights and raised points for the purpose of sponsoring amendments to further strengthen laws on VAW, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations.
The J&H Project is an initiative funded by the EU’s (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Programme and implemented by the Women’s Feature Service (WFS) – Project Lead, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), and 3) Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy & Defense Foundation, Inc. (WomenLEAD)
Ms. Olive Tripon of WFS welcomed the participants and Atty. Claire Luczon of WomenLEAD served as the facilitator. ASSIST Communications and Visibility Associate Margaret P. Yarcia represented ASSIST
For inquiries about the FGD report, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Justice and Healing Project, the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) helped conduct a forum for barangay-level stakeholders and duty-bearers in BUCAF, Guinobatan, Albay and Sta. Monica Parish in Alburquerque (or Albur), Bohol last June 18 and 24, 2011, respectively.
RKM Director and J&H Project Co-manager Sheena Opulencia represented ASSIST in Albay (see photo above), while Communications and Visibility (C&V) Associate Margaret Yarcia attended the Bohol event. They worked with the J&H team composed of Ms. Olive Tripon of Project Lead Women’s Feature Service, Ms. Mae Jardiniano and Ms. Theresa Balayon of Women’s Crisis Center, and Atty. Leavides Domingo-Cabarrubias and Atty. Claire Luczon of WomenLEAD.
The Albay forum was organized by J&H Area Coordinator Ms. Elaine Salazar, and the Bohol event, by Area Coordinator Ms. Bona Dea “Daidee” Padron and Ms. Vera Gesite, Albur’s Culture and Arts Coordinator.
Both events welcomed punong barangays, chairs of the committees on women and children, representatives from the church and school and heads of offices in the local government unit. Ms. Tripon introduced the project to participants, and Attys. Domingo-Cabarrubia and Luczon of WomenLEAD discussed the salient features of laws related to gender-based violence.
Women and Children Protection Desk representatives of the municipality (Police Officer Abegail Rayala in Guinobatan and Police Officer Mitos Ipong in Albur) presented their town’s data on violence against women (VAW). Ms. Virginia Musong, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of Albur also reported the figures on VAW cases addressed by their office. In both presentations, it was revealed that many abused women still hesitated from revealing their predicament to the law enforcers.
Meanwhile, lawyers from WomenLEAD discussed the laws on gender-based violence, such as the Anti-VAWC law and Anti-Rape law, including their gaps and limitations. The presentation was supplemented by primers on the different laws created by ASSIST (see photos on the left) based on the laws and briefers from the Philippine Commission on Women.
For their part, Women’s Crisis Center representatives shared the reflections and insights of women survivors of VAW and service providers, and the framework from which barangay-level duty-bearers can draw inspiration in facilitating the delivery of justice and healing to victims.
Finally, an open forum was conducted, and the participants drafted their action plans in a workshop for a local Anti-VAW Program.
- Bohol forum participants came from various barangays of Albur town.
The Justice and Healing project was funded by the European Union Philippine-based European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Programme.
Following the Albay and Bohol events, the team will be conducting 13 more barangay forums in various locations in the country, including Davao, Quezon and Baguio City.
The primers on the various laws on gender-based violence have also been made available to everyone through the ASSIST website’s newsroom page.#