MANILA (Aug. 17) — “After all the attempts to block the passage of the Magna Carta of Women, the Filipino women have finally emerged victorious. This is a by-product of women’s continuous struggle for equality and serves as a gateway in support of women’s legitimate concerns.”
This is the statement of Representative Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party as she lauded the Filipino women for the signing of the Magna Carta of Women into law on August 12. Maza was a member of the bicameral conference committee for the Magna Carta of Women and has co-authored the measure the Lower House version of the measure.
Maza opted not to witness the signing of the law in Malacanang because she recalled that the Arroyo administration had attempted several times to water down the consolidated bill especially the provisions on reproductive health.
The Gabriela solon believes that this law should have already been enacted last March 2009 in time for the International Women’s Day celebration had Malacanang allies not impeded the process.
According to Maza, the Magna Carta of Women sets the standards on how women should be treated and provides an enabling mechanism for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She further said that this law affirms women’s rights as part of human rights.
Here are the highlights of the Magna Carta of Women:
•Designates the Commission on Human Rights as the Gender and Development Ombuds to ensure the promotion and protection of women’s human rights;
•Ensures mandatory training on human rights and gender sensitivity to all government personnel involved in the protection and defense of women against gender-based violence;
•Institutes affirmative action mechanisms so that “women can participate meaningfully in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, plans, and programs for national, regional, and local development”. The number of women in third level positions in government shall be increased to achieve a fifty-fifty (50-50) gender balance within the next five years while the composition of women in all levels of development planning and program implementation will be at least forty percent (40%);
•Ensures the equal treatment before the law by ensuring that the State shall take steps to review and when necessary, amend and/or repeal existing laws that are discriminatory to women within three (3) years from the effectivity of the Magna Carta;
•Provides equal access and elimination of discrimination in education, scholarships, and training. Thus, “expulsion, non-readmission, prohibiting enrollment, and other related discrimination of women students and faculty due to pregnancy out of marriage shall be outlawed;”
•Promotes the equal status given to men and women on the titling of the land and issuance of stewardship contracts and patents;
•Encourages Local Government Units (LGUs) to develop and pass a Gender and Development (GAD) code based on the gender issues and concerns in their respective localities based on consultation with their women constituents;
“While this law marks a significant step in the promotion of women’s rights in the country, we continue to be vigilant in defending and upholding women’s rights in all aspects. We also carry on our struggle in attaining justice for the thousands of women who became victims of abuse and human rights violations under this current administration,” Maza concluded. — Bulatlat.com