Tue, 18 Jan 2022

DUMAGUETE CITY - The provincial government of Negros Oriental, through the Provincial Commission on Women (PCW) and the Provincial Gender and Development Resource and Coordinating Center, has lined up programs to promote the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law) in observance of the 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW) from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12, 2021.

Josefina Columna, provincial Gender and Development (GAD) focal person, said during a "Kapihan sa PIA" forum on Wednesday, they did a site evaluation for the "Garbo" Awards, specifically Babayeng Garbo sa Katilingban and Grupong Garbo sa Katilingban.

The "Garbo" awards are to give due honor and recognition to the women and women's groups in the province for their contribution and best practices as part of the province's promotion of "safe spaces".

Columna said six finalists - Canlaon City, Guihulngan City, Dumaguete City, Dauin, Zamboanguita, and Siaton - will undergo final screening on Thursday.

On December 13, a Women's Summit is set in the morning and the "Garbo" awardees will be recognized in the afternoon, she added.

Cash prizes include PHP50,000 for the Grupong Garbo sa Katilingban and PHP25,000 for the Babayeng Garbo, Columna said.

Another highlight for the celebration of Space Spaces is two gender sensitivity training and orientation next week.

Also, the provincial government has submitted a draft provincial ordinance on Republic Act 11313, or the Safe Spaces Act to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for review and approval.

Meanwhile, PCW Deputy Chair Phoebe Tan, in the same forum, said efforts are being stepped up to curb violence against women on "harassment on the digital realm".

She said 68 percent of women and young girls in the Philippines have experienced online harassment through social media.

"Gender-based sexual harassment is in various forms," she said, as she warned that usually it will start from verbal abuse and most likely will progress to physical/sexual violence.

Stalking and unwanted messages happen online and victims of this kind of abuse end up with physical and mental health disorders, Tan said.

Other forms of sexual abuse include unwelcome, uninvited, and intrusive gazing, cat-calling, insulting, offensive, rude and derogatory remarks and comments, she added.

These could take place anywhere such as in parks, restaurants, terminals, schools, and workplaces, as she called for more pro-active stands and efforts to raise public awareness on violence against women and children.

This year's observance of the 18-day campaign to end violence against women is anchored on the slogan, "Filipino Marespeto: Safe Spaces, Kasali Tayo". (PNA)

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