July 30, 2015
The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) gathered key Eastern Samar local officials on July 22-23, in Tacloban City, to review the province’s Gender and Development (GAD) Code.
Present were provincial board members Karen Alvarez and Jenny Baldono. Joining them were: Maydolong Vice Mayor Daniel Baldono; Dr. Marian Isiderio, Provincial Health Officer (PHO); Dr. Elena de Luna, Eastern Samar Schools Division Superintendent; Estelita Afable, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO); Dr. Ben Garcia, chief of Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital; Franklin Robedizo, Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretary; Grace Ty, Maydolong Municipal SWDO; and representatives of non-government organizations Social Action Center and Terre des Hommes.
PLCPD provided technical guidance in the review of the provincial GAD ordinance, discussing relevant international and national laws that recognize and protect women and children’s rights.
The said officials came up with recommendations to revise the GAD Code. They also developed an action plan to guide future efforts to harmonize the existing GAD Code with national laws that provide the framework to empower women, ensure their health and welfare, and protect them and their children against abuse and discrimination.
Board members Alvarez and Baldono assured their audience that they would personally shepherd the passage of the proposed amendments in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). They led the formation of the technical writing group (TWG) that will work on improving the Eastern Samar provincial GAD Code.
The TWG will be composed of the two SP members and another woman board member, Maricar Sison-Gotesan, the SP Secretary, the Provincial Planning and Development Officer, the PSWDO, the Schools Division Superintendent, the PHO, and a representative from Terre Des Hommes. This group will be in charge of finalizing the revised GAD Code and ensuring that the specific issues that were raised in the workshop will be duly considered in the amended ordinance. They are expected to finish the proposed revisions by September for filing in the SP.
PLCPD conducted the policy review writeshop with Eastern Samar officials as part of its ongoing project with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Through this partnership, PLCPD is able to provide technical support in the updating of Eastern Samar provincial ordinances, incorporating rights-based provisions and aligning it with Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.