Zonta Club of Cebu II Kicks Off 18 Days of Activism Against VAWC at Women’s Summit

The campaign to end violence against women and children (VAWC) in Mandaue City continues through the joint efforts of the Mandaue City government, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, and other concerned sectors.

The Women’s Summit, organized by the Zonta Club of Cebu II in cooperation with MOVE Mandaue and the Citizens Lady Lawyers Association Inc. (CELLA), highlighted various efforts to stop VAWC. The summit also marked the launch of the 18 Days of Activism for the elimination of VAWC.

Ms. Michelle Yu, Mandaue City gender and development (GAD) focal person, discussed the city’s initiatives to address gender-based violence. She highlighted that the Mandaue City Council had passed several milestone pieces of legislation on GAD from 2003 to 2023, including the Safe Spaces Ordinance, Revised Gender and Development Code of Mandaue City, and amendments to the Solo Parent Welfare Ordinance, which created the Solo Parent and their Children Task Force, among others.

Other city projects related to GAD include the replacement of sodium lamps with LED streetlights as a deterrent against violence targeting women.

Lawyer Noemi Truya of the Children’s Legal Bureau shared her efforts in the fight to stop abuse among women and children. Dr. Rhodora Bucoy, former chairwoman of the Philippine Commission on Women, discussed her experience leading the commission. Under her leadership, the Philippines was recognized as a top 10 country for mainstreaming gender work in the world and Asia from 2008 to 2016. However, the country recently slid to the top 20, partly due to other countries stepping up their GAD efforts.

Ms. Tisha Ylaya, lead convenor of Cebu Pride, discussed issues beyond Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) affecting the LGBTQI community. Ms. Ylaya noted the discrimination faced by LGBTQI individuals, including financial insecurity, lack of affordable housing, impacts of COVID-19, and the absence of caregiving support.

Atty. May S. Aguilar of the Cavada Law Office discussed “Back to Basics: A Woman’s Perspective on VAWC Cases.” She explained Republic Act 9262, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004, which covers various acts of physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional violence. Atty. Aguilar cited a 2020 BBC study showing that 90 percent of people worldwide hold biases against women. The study found that 50 percent of men believe they have more rights to jobs than women, one-third think it’s acceptable to hit their partner, and 50 percent believe men make better political leaders. Additionally, 40 percent of the global population believes men make better business executives.

She urged women to stand up against abuse from their partners, stating, “A man can hit their partner, but women can remain stronger against abuses.”

Lawyers Fiona Bojos and Magdalena Lepiten focused on the topic of Safe Spaces, while Ms. Charlene Virlouvet shared her journey and involvement in addressing gender-based violence. Ms. Rain Villagonzalo emphasized that transgender women are women.

Zn. Dr. Elsa Basubas, chairperson of Abag sa Kahayag, noted the collective efforts of the Zonta Club of Cebu II, the Mandaue City government, and non-government groups like CELLA have led to improvements in ending VAWC. Dr. Basubas cited Ms. Yu’s report indicating a decline in VAWC cases in Mandaue City, attributing this to increased awareness of abuses against women and children.

Other activities during the 18 Days of Activism for the Elimination of VAWC included Women in ARTivism on November 26, Roll on Reels videos posted on Zonta Club Cebu II’s Facebook page, the awarding ceremony for women who have significantly contributed to Mandaue, the opening of the Painting Exhibit Competition, and gift-giving during the Zonta Club Cebu II’s visit to the Mandaue City Jail dorm.

SOURCE: Zonta Club of Cebu II launches 18 Days of Activism vs VAWC at Women’s Summit