On 14 August 2009, Philippines Republic Act No. 9710, also known as the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), was signed into law to recognize, protect, and uphold the rights of women and address issues of discrimination against them. To achieve its purpose, one of its provisions is the creation of a Violence Against Women (VAW) Desk in every barangay, the smallest level of administrative division of villages and towns in the country. This is where women who experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse can go to seek assistance and flee from the violence inflicted on them. A VAW Deskis a physical facility that addresses VAW cases in a manner that is gender-sensitive. Managed by a person assigned by the Barangay Captain, it is where the victim-survivor can immediately go to seek help.
Zonta Club of Cebu II believes that Violence against Women is an issue that we must face squarely and something that we should prepare our local government units (LGUs) to deal with, both in preventing the occurrence of such cases and in protecting our women from the perpetrators of such acts.
To raise the knowledge and capacity of the barangays and their designated officials and staff on the nuances and processes of the law as well as the detailed steps on the establishment and operationalization of their respective VAW Desk, the Barangay VAW Desk Handbook was developed by the Philippine Commission on Women.
On March 8, 2021 Zonta Club of Cebu II reprinted 500 copies of this handbook and distributed these to all the 27 barangays, 45 elementary and high schools, as well as to the social workers, Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Persons, Women’s Desk Officers in every police precinct, staff and lawyers of the Cebu Prosecutor’s Office and City Legislators of Mandaue City, Cebu Province.
This handbook will undoubtedly help in raising the knowledge and capacity of the barangays and their designated officials and staff on the nuances and processes of the law as well as the detailed steps on the establishment and operationalization of their respective VAW Desk, thereby enabling them to effectively and efficiently discharge their duties and responsibilities as defenders and protectors of women’s rights. The Barangay Violence Against Women (VAW) Desk Handbook is meant to assist barangay workers and officials in responding to cases of violence committed against women. It provides a detailed discussion on how the Barangay Captain can set up and maintain a VAW Desk and explains to the designated Barangay VAW Desk Officer his/her responsibilities as the person in charge of the Desk. It also includes information to guide barangay officials and volunteers on how to give efficient and effective services and aid to victim-survivors.