Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sought the creation of a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to strengthen mechanisms that would monitor the compliance and implementation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9710, also known as the Magna Carta of Women.
De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1729 amending Section 40 of R.A. No. 9710 to provide for an oversight committee that is mandated to look into the law’s strict implementation and strengthen the mainstreaming of gender equality.
“Only through a consistent and conscious implementation of the Magna Carta of Women can government and Philippine society be truly rid of gender bias and the rampant misogynism that have presently reared their ugly heads in our midst once again,” she said.
“Only in this manner will we be able to counter the unapologetic exhibition of anti-women rhetoric that has dominated official government discourse since the start of the present administration,” she added, highlighting the persistent attacks against women under the Duterte regime.
R.A. No. 9710, particularly its Section 36(a), provides the legal basis for the planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for Gender and Development (GAD).
Under the existing law, the Philippine Commission on Women, in coordination with other state agencies and the Commission on Human Rights, is mandated to submit to Congress regular reports on the progress of the implementation of R.A. No. 9710, with emphasis on its impact on women’s rights.
She lamented, however, that, “in as much as mechanisms are in place to monitor agency and local government units’ (LGUs) compliance in ensuring full utilization of the appropriated 5% of the total budget for their respective GAD programs, the overall statistics show that utilization of the appropriated GAD budget has not reached its full potential. Some implementing agencies fall behind in fulfilling this obligation.”
As such, under her SB No. 1729, De Lima proposed that the Oversight Committee shall be composed of five members, each from the two houses of Congress in addition to the respective Chairs of the Committees on Women, Children, and Gender Equality.
The Senator from Bicol also further suggested that the membership of the committee for the two houses of Congress shall at least have two opposition or minority members.
With an administration leadership that debases women through consistent attacks in public and official events, De Lima said gender mainstreaming must be accomplished by properly implementing the laws protecting women.
“This is to avoid institutionalizing the current administration leadership’s dehumanization of women in society, particularly of women leaders in government,” she said.
De Lima, who was recognized by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders under Threat, recently filed Senate Resolution No. 670 calling for a Senate inquiry into the implementation of the GAD plans and programs under the present administration.