UP Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR) Holds 2022 International Women’s Month Forum
In celebration of international women’s month, the UP Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR) organized an online forum entitled “Making Change for Women: Taking Stock of Contemporary Legislations for Women” via Zoom and Facebook Live on 9 March 2022. The event featured key legislations on women’s rights.
Associate Dean Prof. Solomon F. Lumba welcomed the participants to the event by emphasizing the significant role of women in society and implored them to continue the fight for gender equality. UP IHR Director Professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan then delivered her opening remarks setting the context for the forum’s discussion. She highlighted pressing social issues on women, and various government initiatives to remedy these concerns.
The first part of the forum focused on the discussions on the salient features of contemporary legislations affecting women. Prof. Aguiling-Pangalangan commenced the discussion on Republic Act Number 11642 (Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act). She outlined the key features of the law and provided a comparative analysis between the present and previous laws on adoption. She also pointed out some legal issues directly affecting women’s rights, particularly the sole right of the unmarried mother, whether of age or a minor, to consent to the adoption of her child, that should be further clarification in the implementing rules. UP IHR Law Reform Associate Atty. Daniel D. Lising then discussed Republic Act Number 11596 (Prohibition of Child Marriage Act). He highlighted the evils of child marriage and enumerated the punishable acts under the said law. He likewise emphasized that child marriage and its related acts are public crimes. Meanwhile, Atty. Glenda T. Litong, also a UP IHR Law Reform Specialist, gave a lecture on Senate Bill Number 1411 (Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Bill). She covered its key provisions which are amendatory to the present Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000. If signed into law, Atty. Litong stressed that there will be additional benefits to solo parents such as expanded discounts on basic goods, hospital bills, among others.
The second part centered on the lectures delivered by invited discussants. Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a pre-recorded video, shared her experiences as author and sponsor of RA No. 11596. She considered the long-standing cultural beliefs and practices as one of the important challenges to its passage. Senator Hontiveros also underlined the role of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the primary duty bearer in preventing child marriage. Commissioner Amielyn Limbona of the Philippine Commission for Women (PCW), representing Chairperson Sandra S. Montano, then discussed the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Bill. She made some observations on how particular provisions of the Bill can be more inclusive and responsive to the predicaments of solo parents and further uphold women’s rights. The last discussant, Atty. Krissi Shaffina Twyla Rubin who serves as the Officer-in-Charge of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Center for Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights, covered RA No. 11596 and RA No. 11642. She framed her discussion based on state obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC). Atty. Rubin also noted the observations earlier made by Prof. Aguiling-Pangalangan on some issues in the amendatory law.
An open forum was thereafter conducted moderated by UP IHR Legal Consultant Atty. Gil Anthony E. Aquino. Speakers and discussants shared their insights on various questions raised by the participants. Ms. Fay Gumba, a member of the Policy and Legislative Unit in the Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros, gave her responses on behalf of Senator Hontiveros. Issues concerning the implementation of the covered laws were primarily asked.
Atty. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat, UP IHR Senior Legal Associate closed the forum. In his remark, he encouraged everyone to answer the call for gender equality. The event was attended by more than 160 participants on Zoom and more than 300 live viewers on Facebook Live. As of writing the recorded video garnered a total of 1,600 views on Facebook. Participants were mostly members and employees of the Philippine National Police, DSWD, CHR, and civil society and non-government organizations. UP IHR Research Associates Ms. Murielle Aira Ting, Ms. Beatriz Anna Balbacal, and Ms. Irene Pajarito were the forum’s emcees.
Watch the Facebook livestream of the event here.