The Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) MIMAROPA held a learning session on Safe Spaces Act (SSA) and Anti-Violence against Women and Children (Anti-VAWC) Act of 2004 through video conference on December 9. The event is one of RGADC’s activities during the 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW).
A total of 95 participants from regional line agencies, local government units (LGUs), private sector, and state universities and colleges participated in the learning session. The virtual activity aimed to orient the participants on the salient features of the SSA and the Anti-VAWC Act.
In his opening remarks, RGADC MIMAROPA Chairperson and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA Regional Director (RD) Fernando R. De Villa, Jr., highlighted the importance of knowing the core provisions of the two laws and strengthening the advocacy for a community that does not allow any forms of gender-based violence such as gender-based sexual harassment. He affirmed that the RGADC and DSWD will continue to provide the necessary services to ensure that communities are free from any violence against women and girls.
Attorney Angelina V. Faral of the Office for Legal Affairs of the Civil Service Commission served as resource person for the learning session. She discussed the core provisions of the two laws, highlighting the penalties, mechanisms in place, and the need to intensify public awareness of these laws.
Meanwhile, RDC Vice-Chairperson and NEDA Regional Office MIMAROPA RD Agustin C. Mendoza awarded the certificate of appreciation to Faral. In his closing message, Mendoza recognized the efforts and initiatives of the RGADC and RDC to aid in the effective implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 11313 and RA 9262. He asserted that any form of gender-based sexual harassment especially in the streets and public spaces, workplaces, educational and training institutions, and even cyberspace should not be experienced by anyone.
The 18-day campaign to end VAW is a nationwide campaign observed annually from November 25 to December 12, as mandated by Proclamation No. 1172, s. 2006. It has carried the theme “VAW-free community starts with me” since 2016.’ For 2021, the campaign aims to promote awareness about SSA both for the general public and the institutions that are mandated to implement the law.