The City Council has passed on first reading a proposal to amend the 22-year-old Women Development Code.
Neophyte Councilor Richlyn Justol-Baguilod, who chairs the council’s committee on women, children, and family relations, refiled the proposal, which was originally penned by then Councilor Leah Yap during the previous council.
Yap’s proposal, filed in 2017, lapsed without the final approval of the council.
The amendments aim to attune the Women’s Development Code to the needs of the present and synchronize it with the provisions of the Magna Carta for Women that was passed years after the locally-made Women Development Code.
The amendments include the clarification of the Violence Against Women (VAW) with its definition “Any act of gender-based violence that results in psychological, physical, or sexual harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty whatever occurring in private or public life. It encompasses but not limited to the physical, sexual, and psychological violence, occurring in the family and society (adopting the UN declaration Against VAW).”
It also pushed that economic abuse against women to be included in the VAW.
The local code, once amended, will also prohibit the printing, publication, display, showing and distribution of pornographic materials.
Under the amendments, an inter-agency task force will also be created to monitor, arrest, prosecute perpetrators, in collaboration with agencies like the Philippine National Police, Business Bureau, Integrated Gender and Development Division, City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), and non-government organizations.
The updated Code will also mandate conduct of gender sensitivity training/seminar for Business Bureau Personnel and a creation of a Medico-Legal Desk for Women at the CSSDO among its services under comprehensive support for women.