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Legislator outlines wide-ranging protection for women under the law

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A lady lawmaker said that women enjoy protection from discrimination and their civil, political and economic rights as well as those of members of the poor and marginalized sectors are guaranteed under Republic Act No. 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women enacted in the last Congress.

Rep. Herminia B. Roman of the lst District of Bataan outlined the provisions of the Magna Carta of Women when she keynoted on Oct. 14 the three-day Gender and Development Seminar Workshop on Communicating Gender Sensitive News and Information for personnel of the News and Information Bureau (NIB).

The seminar was spearheaded by NIB Director Brando F. Merrera and Assistant Director Vittorio V. Vitug, general manager of the Philippines News Agency.

Congresswoman Roman, who was vice chair of the Committee on Woman and Gender Equality in the 14th Congress and co-author and sponsor of the Magna Carta of Women, said some of the more laudable features of R.A. 9710 include non-discrimination in employment and the promotion of women in the military, police and other similar services; right of women to comprehensive health services; health information and education, including access to safe and effective methods of family planning.

Other features of the law include the granting of additional benefits for women who undergo surgeries caused by gynecological disorders; designation of gender focal points in Philippine embassies and consulates which shall be primarily responsible in handling gender concerns of women migrant workers, especially those in distress.

The Magna Carta likewise mandates the non-discriminatory and non-derogatory portrayal of women in media and film, citing Section 16 thereof which provides that "the state shall formulate policies and programs for the advancement of women in collaboration with government and non-government media-related organizations."

The law likewise endeavors to raise the consciousness of the general public in recognizing the dignity of women and their role and contribution in the family, community and the society through the strategic use of mass media.

At the same time, Rep. Roman said that the law further provides that the state shall ensure allocation of space, airtime, and resources, strengthen programming, production, and image-making that appropriately present women’s needs, issues and concerns in all forms of media, communication, information dissemination, and advertising.

Moreover, she said, women in media are adequately protected by institutionalizing that” the state, in cooperation with all schools of journalism, information and communication, as well as national media federations and associations, shall require all media organizations and corporations to integrate in their human resource development programs that will promote gender mainstreaming as a framework and affirmative action as a strategy, and monitor and evaluate implementation of gender quality guidelines.”

Rep. Roman said that Congress, through the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, shall involve oversight powers, in making sure that there would be effective implementation of the law on women’s rights.

She said Congress shall touch base and directly work with the Philippine Commission on Women and the Commission on Human Rights to ensure the promotion and protection of women’s human rights and recommending appropriate penalties for violators.

At the same time, she assured that Congress shall review and, when necessary, amend and/or repeal existing laws that are discriminatory to women in keeping with the intent and spirit of the Magna Carta on Women.

(Leonardo V. Micua/PNA)




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